Review by Scott StegengaWhen you attend a No Doubt show these days, you must expect the obvious. You have Gwen Stefani fanatics who pull the mismatched clothes out of their closets and do their best to look like their rock heroine, and they come with their dates who quietly admit that Gwen is a righteous hottie. Put all that aside and you still have a good thing coming. Such was the case when No Doubt graced the inner sanctum of the Aragon Ballroom to dose out their fine blend of retro ska pop.
Photos by Phil Bonyata
Angst-ridden keyboard pop newcomers The Faint started the evening as singer Todd Baechle exclaimed "We are The Faint and you are the audience dancing potentially." The crowd seemed to enjoy the Depeche/Soft Cell/Numan/Human League nu-retro stylings of songs like 'Agenda Suicide' and 'Glass Danse' from their independent release Dance Macabre, but the heavy-techno sounds were gobbled up by the Aragon's notorious acoustics and left the crowd dry. I give credit to the Omaha quintet though, and hope to see their magic in a smaller venue.
After an unnecessary hour-long wait between sets, the anticipating crowd were greeted by some unexpected guests. 8 Stormtroopers, yes, like in Star Wars, took over the stage as the intro music from Rock Steady began to play on the PA system. I'm not sure where they came from, but it definitely got the crowd eager for more. I wouldnt be suprised if they were die-hard fans waiting by the backstage door or roadies having some fun, but it definitely was a kick.
Despite the Stormtroopers presence, The Force was definitely with the band as they kicked up the pop with 'Hella Good' amidst other mischievous songs like 'Sunday Morning', 'Bathwater,' and 'Simple Kind of Life'. Gwen, dressed in retro-chic with candy stripe black and white hip huggers, black wrestling shoes, and a tanktop, kept the crowd's energy going as she pranced on stage with band mates Tony Kanal, Tom Dumont, and neon drumkit-toting Adrian Young. The band also added two keyboard/horn players, Stephen Bradley and Gabriel McNair, for a better contrbution to the music as the setlist contained all the popular songs from the band's 10 year career.
The band were also delighted with some surprises from the crowd including a large bra thrown on stage, gaining some jealousy by Gwen and eventually sported by Adrian (who else), lots of receptive jumping and singing along to all the hits like 'Dont Speak' and 'Hey baby,' and Gwen yanking up one of the look-alike fans from the audience during the encore.
As the encore began, we were once again greeted by the mysterious Stormtroopers and a nice end to the frolicking pop anarchy which is No Doubt.
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