By: Mackenzie Lambert
There was much indication of the audience’s anticipation for the July 22nd line-up for Thursday at the Square. Rogue Wave gained nationwide attention for their single, “Eyes,” which was featured in the Ryan Reynolds comedy Just Friends. G. Love & Special Sauce earned internet meme cred in the past few years for their song, “Milk & Cereal.” The final result was a great concert in the summer series if not without a flaw or two.
Rogue Wave opened with a track, “Stars & Stripes,” off their new album, Permalight. Other tracks in their set included “Good Morning (The Future),” “Every Moment,” “Publish My Love,” “Solitary Gun,” and “Chicago X 12.” Later in their performance, they had a percussion jam that was entertaining and recalled a similar segment from the 1997 Genesis tour between Phil Collins and Zappa drummer Chester Thompson.
Their eventual performance of “Eyes” signaled both a highlight and the sole flaw of their set. Up till then, when Rogue Wave finished every song, the people around me asked each other if “Eyes” was the next song. I credit the band for not pulling a Better Than Ezra and play their big hit at the start. The version most, if not all, listeners know is the acoustic studio version of the song. That’s the one I’m most familiar with. Yet, they performed it with electric instruments.
While not to the caliber of controversy that Bob Dylan created at the Newport Folk Festival of 1965, I can now partly understand why those people were so angered by Dylan’s use of electric instruments. By changing the song from acoustic to electric, you lose some of the intimacy of the song. It just didn’t sound right in my opinion.
Minutes after Rogue Wave exited, G. Love & Special Sauce took to the stage. G. Love came right out of the gate with “Don’t Drop It.” His simultaneous use of guitar and harmonica didn’t distract or irritate, despite what comedian Bill Maher may think. The set continued with “Back of the Bus,” “Let the Music Play,” and “Holla!” Overall, it was a energetic performance from one of alternative hip-hop’s cult heroes.
This week, only two artists took to the stage instead of three. This would likely be the big flaw of the evening (other than the electric version of “Eyes.”) Having three bands means less stage time for each act. This will entice bands to play the best material they have and make the most of their stage time. The extended duration of Rogue Wave’s set brought a fluctuation in their momentum. The jokey stall tactics didn’t help them either. But, as stated earlier, this was one of the best concerts of this year for Thursday at the Square.
Mackenzie Lambert is a Buffalo-based columnist. He has been
featured in such publications as Penny Blood and Pantechnicon. He is
also a movie columnist for The Men’s Room Today (www.themensroomtoday.com).