Son of the Sun shines at the Square
BY JEFF MIERS
NEWS POP MUSIC CRITIC
Published: July 02, 2010, 12:30 am
It was all about 1997 on Thursday. For better or worse. Mostly worse. Happily, Buffalo’s own Son of the Sun opened this week’s Thursday at the Square and delivered a short but incisive set that proved to be the evening’s best. Performing songs from the recently released “The Happy Loss” album, and finishing off with a torrid take on Lou Reed’s “Rock & Roll,” the band proved itself the equal of groups like Interpol and Kings Of Leon with an inspired collection of songs. Would that all of Thursday could’ve attained this level.
So on to Ed Kowalczyk, then. With Live, the man delivered some of the most yearning-infused anthems of the middle ’90s. Songs like “Lightning Crashes” and “I Alone” seemed to tap into the zeitgeist of a generation wishing for a populist inclusion that it would be denied. No way to get that without selling out, right? I mean, Creed happened, didn’t it? And it’s about to happen again.
Kowalczyk minus his bandmates in Live is an awful lot like Live. But the sense that any of it matters has been obscured by the passage of time. Once Kowalczyk seemed to be the cheerleader at a pep rally announcing some new way forward. Now he just seemes like the guy who stayed at the party way too long.
With an able band backing him, Kowalczyk certainly didn’t embarrass himself. He sang well, and was an able frontman. However, something seemed to be going seriously amiss as he cavorted about the stage, intermingling bad Bon Jovi moves with ill-timed crotch-thrusts. The end result was akin to a bad aerobics video with a halfhearted ’90s grunge sound-track. Clearly, the man is in need of a way to move forward.
There were not many moments of genuine mid-’90s anthemic brilliance happening, though. Live’s “The Dolphin’s Cry” revealed the tinge of Eastern philosophy Kowalczyk adopted in the late ’90s, and few could’ve denied the power of any of the “Throwing Copper” material the singer summoned forth.
Sadly, though, all of this came across as a sort of oldies act, a pageant celebrating the glory day of grunge. Live was never really a grunge band. Kowalczyk should reconsider his career’s path. He is clearly capable of better.
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