Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Collective Soul (4/11 - At the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom)

Do you remember Collective Soul? Me too.

I found out just two weeks ago that Collective Soul -- most-known for their 1994 album "Hints, Allegations, and Things Left Unsaid" and their self-titled album in 1995 -- released an album called "Afterwords" last summer. I haven't listened to the album yet, but I've spent some time over the past week re-listening to their other albums. I am amazed by how many hits they have.

I recently saw them play at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom for a mere 25 bucks. The two opening bands, Josh Kelley and The Whitest Light, were pretty forgettable, though not terrible.

I really wasn't expecting a great performance from the band; I was expecting to see an aging band to play a handful of their hits, surrounded by a crowd attempting to relive their not so distant youth.

But man -- they were awesome! Ed Rolland really brought the energy and worked the crowd. There was a little something for everybody. Great guitar solos, good vocals, some semi-acoustic songs, some interactive songs, and a general feeling that this band not only enjoys touring together, but also likes playing for the crowd. The best way to describe the show is "balanced."

Collective Soul has largely been successful because of their straightforward, consistent, mainstream brand of rock and roll. At the same time, their lack of a niche musical style or a mystique has held them back. I'm not sure if it is by choice, but Collective Soul seems to have avoided the edgy, counter-culture brand of rock and, instead, embraced the world of adult-contemporary. It isn't a bad thing, but it has affected the band's perceived pedigree and snob-appeal.

At the same time, Collective Soul manages to never sound generic. The albums aren't empty, slavish attempts to emulate the least common denominator of the genre. Although slightly anachronistic, examples of bands like that seem to just mirror whatever the hell everyone else is doing would be Creed, Nickelback, or basically any band caught between post-grunge and pre-"Indie" revolution. And you know what, we've already got a whole boat load of so-called indie-pop bands who are beginning to flood that genre as well, making it even more difficult to figure out what is authentic and what is junk.

Although not unique, Collective Soul is authentic.


Unknown said...

Aww, memories. I went to a CS concert around 8 years ago and loved it. I didn't know they had a more recent album out (or were even still playing). I'll have to check it out.

A.H. Rajani said...

i actually had tickets to go see them 5-8 years ago in long island, NY, but they cancelled the show at the last minute.

the new album is pretty good; nothing out of the ordinary, but consistent.