Let's be honest here: Ripping on Rob Thomas is all kinds of fun. The sudden fluctuations in weight. The reliably maudlin FM radio cheese. The cornball 1999 collabo with boomer icon Carlos Santana ("Smooth"). The tortured-puppy glower clouding modelesque features. The interchangeably anonymous, low-maintenance hairstyles. The fact that between his Matchbox Twenty winning streak and his solo career, the guy appears to be on a personal quest to catalog every dolorous emotion ever suffered, if his themes are anything to go by: "Bent," "Disease," "Unwell," "Lonely No More." Really, at this point, you maybe sort of wish Thomas—who is totally married to a Puerto Rican model, and is a dad—would cheer up and start penning tunes with names like "Ecstatic" and "Stoked" and "Sweet." Thing is, he's really good at capturing what it feels like to have your heart smashed and stomped by someone you love, in the same way that Trent Reznor is the undisputed king of pop-industrial spleen. Catch 22: If Thomas lightens up, he loses his entire reason for being. With OneRepublic and Carolina Liar.
Sun., Oct. 11, 7 p.m., 2009