Review by Andy ArgyrakisThe perfect photosynthetic balance between sunlight and rain provide the necessary environment for flowers to blossom. But at Water Street's recent presentation of The New World Disorder Tour, it was those exact same elements that halted the blooming process for the Gin Blossoms. The summer sun soon faded into an evening breeze and then proceeded with a torrential downpour, forcing the headliners to cancel after opening sets by the Spin Doctors, 7 Mary 3, and Sponge.
Photos by Barry Brecheisen
Although the rains were heavy and the conditions were far from suitable for having an hour long rock concert, a surprisingly large crowd stuck around until they were soaked to the skin in hopes that the stage manager would reconsider the cancellation verdict. Certainly it would have been nice if the Gin Blossoms jumped on the tarp covered stage to at least play an abbreviated set (perhaps made of hits like "Hey Jealousy," "Follow You Down," "Allison Road," and "Found Out About You") although consistent bolts of lightening ruled out that possibility.
Instead, fans were left with the memory of the Spin Doctors prancing around to their grungy blend of outdated party rock. These days singer Chris Barron looks more like Counting Crows' Adam Duritz fronting a psychedelic jam band then the leader of the washed up early 90s one album wonders. However, the group's sound hasn't changed one bit, sticking close to the Blues Traveler influenced beginnings and material from their Pocket Full of Kryptonite breakthrough disc. From the annoyingly rhetorical chorus of "What Time Is It?" to the soggy growl of "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong," the group revived memories for a bunch of teens and twenty-somethings that have since traded in their flannels for khakis. Other than bringing back a bit of nostalgia for that demographic, there's really no point for this record label-less band to be back on the road.
Although its been awhile since we've seen any commercial viability from 7 Mary 3, they proved their existence is much more valid. Granted, the group's biggest claim to fame is 1995's American Standard, which spawned the giant hit "Cumbersome," but material from their latest outing The Economy of Sound earned a handful of spirited head bobs and interested glances from fans. 7 Mary 3's current material still has a slight Seattle sound (it's hard not to notice the similarity between vocalist Jason Ross and Peal Jam's Eddie Vedder) although there were also consistent blasts of progressive alternative rock laden with gripping pop sensibilities in concert. The only awkward moment of the band's performance was when they stepped out of character to deliver a cover of U2's "I Will Follow." As interesting as that looks on paper, it was disturbing to see live, considering the fact that U2 is best left venerated and never duplicated.
The evening's first act Sponge was more like a replica of its original self, given the fact that only two original members remain. As songs from their latest EP For All the Drugs in the World through their Rotting Pinata beginnings were being presented, lead singer Vinnie Dombroski attempted to engage a sparse crowd filing in by leaping from the stage and hovering over the security barricade, singing in the faces of front row. Upon returning to the stage after the fourth song, he began plugging that EP, along with the new tune "28 Days." Like most of Sponge's set, no one (other than the devoted few down front) really absorbed that sloppy glam-rock effort.
As a whole, The New World Disorder Tour didn't give too much hope for the futures of either the Spin Doctors or Sponge while 7 Mary 3 successfully defied all mid-90s alternative rock stereotypes. As for the Gin Blossoms, who knows if they would have joined 7 Mary 3 with progressive sounds or merely dripped along in the puddles of their past? It looks like Milwaukee area fans will never know for sure. Blame it on the rain.
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