Third Eye Blind at the O2 Academy Islington
Third Eye Blind is still making new music? Yes, believe it or not, the band is alive and well, squeezing in a small gig in north London before playing Reading Festival. Averaging a new record about once every six years – following the murky departure of founding member and co-songwriter Kevin Cadogan – their more recent albums haven’t brought them close to experiencing the success of their nineties prime. Yet with the current line-up, Third Eye Blind has managed to release last year’s Dopamine as well as this year’s EP, We Are Drugs.
Not just a show to fondle nostalgia, the band jams a healthy dose from their 2015 record and also a few measures covering Beyoncè and Daft Punk. The band plugs their latest single, Cop Vs. Phone Girl, toward the end of the show; it’s not an especially good song, featuring drab words that count as lyricism, but it’s still resonant when artists intone outcry against a manifest social injustice.
However, this is as political as the performance gets, and the band induces the audience to steep in their wistful stupor, hitting all the hallmark tunes of yesteryear. This is, after all, what most people come for, the venue brimming with a mature crowd wishing to revisit the heyday of their adolescence, a period everyone can remember as the first time they thought they understood complex emotion. From the swimming guitar line of Never Let You Go to the amped riffs of Semi-Charmed Life and the angst-ridden lyrics of Jumper or Motorcycle Drive By in between, concertgoers delight in belting their hearts out. Unfortunately, none of their new tracks have the ring and tonality of their former work.
It’s amazing that frontman Stephan Jenkins’ voice and vitality have remained unaltered over the past twenty-odd years. His exchanges with the audience are playful and marked with excitement. He implores spectators to engage with others and introduce themselves to those around them, something that is “very difficult for Londoners to do”, which garners a laugh and sets the mood of togetherness and community. After the band’s stint in Cleveland near the RNC last month, Jenkins and crew certainly deliver the ideal throwback show void of any weighty, politically charged jabber while still effectuating socially conscious music.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information about Third Eye Blind and future events visit here.
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