By Tim Fenster:
It's safe to say most of the thousands who gathered at Buffalo Harbor on Thursday, June 28 came for only one song: "Stacey's Mom." However, headliner Fountains of Wayne offered concert-goers much more than one hit single in their hour-long set.
The power-pop outfit took the stage around 8 p.m., before a crowd of all ages, races and social groups, and kicked off the show with several cheery, almost Beatles-like pop tunes.
The band seemed a perfect match for an outdoor summer show by the lakeside. The band played songs about the season ("It must be Summer" and "The Summer Place"), songs about alcohol ("Mexican Wine") and songs about the sea ("A Dip in the Ocean").
More important than the subject-matter was the band's easily accessible style, which leaned toward light, harmonious pop tunes early in the set and driving rock assaults later in the night.
Musical highlights of the evening included a 20-minute extended jam of the band's debut single, "Radiation Vibe," featuring low grudge-y riffs and random screaming by bassist Adam Schlesinger and guitarist Jody Porter, who sporadically sang back-up to frontman Chris Collingwood throughout the evening.
Another sonic highlight was an electrifying solo in "No Better Place," which was mind-blowing in spite of the fact Porter stood perfectly still throughout most of the piece. Come to mention it, all the band members had a rather stagnant stage presence. They are in their early 40s now.
However, much of the audience didn't seem to mind if these aging rockers played a somewhat lazy show. After all, lawn chairs extended all the way to the water's edge -- so far that some concert-goers couldn't even see the group perform. For many, it seemed, the harbor show was simply an excuse to enjoy the sun, a little music and a few cold ones, courtesy of Labatt.
Others, however, came with a very specific purpose: to see "Stacy's Mom" played live. Between songs audience members could be heard shouting the band's signature tune.
After a short break, the band returned to the stage to play their only hit, a three-minute power-pop ode to hot moms. The audience's response was instant. There was a roar of cheering, and within moments it looked as though every other concertgoer was dancing in one way or another.
As one would expect, the crowd thinned out after Fountains played their signature hit. It was a shame, because the closing piece, "Sink to the Bottom," showed the band at their strongest of the night. Collingwood fiercely belted out the chorus--"I want to sink to the bottom with you"-- and Porter blasted through a much-distorted, screeching guitar solo, while busting Hendrix-like moves. It showed to everyone who stuck around that "one-hit wonders" have plenty more to offer than three minutes of glory.
The alternative hip-hop group Arrested Development will play the next Thursday at the Harbor show July 5.