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Music Review

3 Doors Down and Staind power up

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Linda Laban
Globe Correspondent / July 24, 2008

MANSFIELD - There's an old pop-music business saying that goes "don't bore us, get to the chorus," a nod to the fact that a catchy chorus sells records. Apparently, that attitude goes beyond the Brill Building and extends even to hard rock these days.

Mississippi quintet 3 Doors Down's set at the Comcast Center on Tuesday revolved around accessible, tuneful, and much-repeated choruses filled with simple statements heavy on sentimentality. During "Be Like That," singer Brad Arnold moaned plaintively: "If I could be like that/ I would give anything just to live one day in those shoes." The covetous song was "about dreams," he said to rapt standing fans. Unlike other rock bands with an older audience, few sat for the ballads.

In between those softer numbers, baby-face Arnold pounded the stage and postulated like a would-be Hulk. Many songs were given that extra sucker punch of huge pyrotechnic blasts and bangs. That seemed tasteless during the pro-troops tribute ballad "When I'm Gone," which was accompanied by combat footage displayed on a video screen behind the band while small poofy "explosions" went off. It was the Spinal Tap equivalent to the opening scene from "Saving Private Ryan."

3 Doors Down's biggest hit, the punky "Kryptonite," an infectious song that examines Superman's most introspective and powerless moment, was dispensed at the beginning of the set. Not a wise move since it's the perfect, peppy - if predictable - closer.

Massachusetts post-grunge gloom rockers Staind delivered a mighty set of hits, including three Billboard No. 1 chart-toppers performed in succession: "Right Here," "So Far Away," and "It's Been Awhile," where singer Aaron Lewis's murmured, menacing singing was at its most seductive.

To many, Staind was clearly the main attraction, and these dates marked the quartet's return with its sixth album, "The Illusion of Progress," due Aug. 19. Staind played just one song from it: the melancholic "Believe," in which bassist Johnny April added sweet vocal harmonies to the anthemic chorus.

Staind slipped in "the first single we ever released," Lewis said fondly, before launching the grinding, droning "Just Go." As if to remind the audience that this was a rock band, pounding oldie "Mudshovel" proved a rousing finale.

Last year's buzz band Hinder followed newcomers Jet Black Stare with a set of catchy, melodic metal that owed much to Def Leppard, Van Halen, and AC/DC. It wasn't the sharpest move to include a cloying ballad in a half-hour warm-up set wasn't a good idea. But then, this Oklahoma quintet is built on old rock dreams, and the emotive ballad was always the sure way for mainstream acclaim. Just ask Poison.

3 Doors Down

With Staind, Hinder, and Jet Black Stare

At: Comcast Center, Tuesday

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