by Joe Kleon
San Franciscoʼs Third Eye Blind are proof you don’t need anything more than below average musicianship and a few catchy hits to survive far past your prime. Last night’s sold out show at House of Blues was the first of only four shows on this short tour. Here’s to hoping the last three are much better. The mix was as bad as the performance. The guitar and bass were almost inaudible, lead vocals were muddy and the drums were louder than the rest of the band combined. A Twitter post by a disgruntled concertgoer summed up the sound perfectly: “Third Eye Blind should fire their sound guy. Walked out of the Cleveland HOB show 4 songs in. Worst sounding concert ever.”
Singer Stephan Jenkins looked like the grim reaper in the oversized hoodie that covered his face during the first few songs. Perhaps this was a foreshadowing of the musical death to follow. Jenkins and the band warbled off key many times, giving hits like “Semi-Charmed Life” a cringe factor worthy of a first episode of American Idol. However, the sold out crowd of mostly women didnʼt seem to notice or care. They were too busy singing, dancing and drinking, obviously oblivious to the audio atrocities swirling around them. Drummer Brad Hargreaves is a below average musician, at best. Combined with boring simplistic fills, his sloppy endings created a lackluster backbone for the rest of the band to trip over.
Canadian MIchael Bernard Fitzgerald opened the show with a solo acoustic performance. Fitzgerald bangs his wrist on the bridge of his guitar, while playing, to try to add percussion to his bland brand of folkish fodder. Some songs consisted more of wrist banging than actual playing. Audience conversation drowned out most of whatever he was trying to accomplish. Stating that he was sick, he stopped abruptly in the middle of one song, after lung butter gurgled up in his throat with such quantity, he was unable to continue. He cut his set short after 17 minutes, setting the pace for what had to be the worst House Of Blues show of 2012.