with Fuel, Hoobastank, Alien Ant Farm, and Aeous
Myth Nightclub, Maplewood
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Time can be a good indicator of how far you've come as a band. It could be good to you, or it could leave you in the dust. With a bill of bands that "you used to love" at Myth, it was difficult to see who would get top billing on Wednesday night. California band Lit had dropped off the tour and was replaced by locals Aeous, but Alien Ant Farm, Hoobastank, and Fuel were still ready to rock like it was 2001.
Whether it was intentional or not, Alien Ant Farm showed up and opened "Courage" to a dark stage until midway through the song. Confusion rippled through the crowd, but it allowed the audience to simply listen to lead singer Dryden Mitchell's melodic voice, almost comparable to Incubus's Brandon Boyd. The dark stage most likely wasn't intentional, for as soon as the song was done, Mitchell said, "Let's say a big 'thank you' to the fucking dipshit lighting guy." While he may have been irritated, Dryden's charm soon took over, leading to him bouncing around onstage and making jokes.
One joke in particular was about him losing $80 to a stripper in Indiana when he asked her to get him some coke. She took off with the money, and he ended up stealing her cell phone. Mitchell found a song on her phone, and he played it for the audience, leading into "Let Em Know." The unreleased song is intense, guitar-driven, and extremely catchy -- not that the other Alien Ant Farm songs are not catchy also. The band broke out onto the scene years ago with their cover of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal." The song paid homage to Jackson, but was so exciting and "new" that they instantly made a name for themselves. Full of quirk, right before their last song Dryden told the crowd thanks for coming and to have a good night, fooling them into thinking there would be no "Smooth Criminal" in the set, but they weren't disappointed when the first note was hit.
Hoobastank is that band that you may have listened to in college, loving and relating to every song. The band's universal lyrics have surprisingly withstood the test of time. Lead singer Doug Robb is not the best vocalist -- often pitchy and out of tune -- but he still delivers and carries the show as he jumps around onstage. The rest of the band knew to give him a wide berth when he was doing his thing. Hoobastank's set was almost double Alien Ant Farm and Fuel's sets, but most of the crowd was there to see them anyway, so it really didn't matter.
It also didn't matter that some of their songs were filler, for the audience knew they were saving their hits like radio-friendly "The Reason," "Crawling in the Dark," and "Out of Control" for last. As the band finished, many audience members were also done for the evening, clearing half of the main floor to leave for home.
Those who stayed were left with a taste of Fuel. Looking as if he hasn't aged a day, lead singer Brett Scallions took the stage in a T-shirt, laced-up pants, and a shock of blond hair. The rest of the band were characters. There was the nondescript drummer, Shannon Boone, the bearded, long-haired guitarist -- who Scallions declared was a Viking since he came from Sweden -- Andy Andersson, and Brad Stewart, the dreadlocked bassist. While a bar show would have been perfect for an 11 o'clock set time, the crowd was getting a little restless by this time in the evening.
The first few rows enjoyed it immensely, while others sat in the back waiting for the show to be done. While most of the band's songs sound the same, bleeding into one another, they did have some standouts, including their hits "Bad Day" and "Shimmer," but they saved the best and biggest hit, "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)," for last -- rounding out the evening in suburbia on a Wednesday night.
Critic's bias: I never got into Fuel when I was younger and not knowing a band's music has never stopped me from enjoying a show, but their set fell extremely flat for me. While Hoobastank was interesting to watch, Alien Ant Farm stole the show.
The crowd: Mostly male, but wanting to relive their youth when they could be in a mosh pit without suffering the consequences of an aching body the next day.
Overheard in the crowd: Dryden Mitchell saying to a stoic-faced guy in the front row, "You're staring at me right now like you hate me. You're making me nervous." That drew a smile out of him.
Random notebook dump: Alien Ant Farm's bassist, Tye Zamora, is enchanting to see. Zamora makes the craziest faces and moves around onstage like no one is watching.
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