Once again, the best shows are sometimes the ones that just fall into your lap. I was minding my own business when I found out I would be attending a show at South Side Music Hall featuring Open Air Stereo, Devour The Day, and Candlebox?!?
The next seven days ticked by painfully slow as I jammed to a steady diet of all three bands in preparation for the show. I was also lucky enough to interview Chase Johnson from Open Air Stereo and Blake Allison from Devour The Day in advance, and they were two of the nicest guys I could’ve hoped to talk to, which always makes an upcoming show that much better.
First on the bill was in fact, Open Air Stereo, whose debut album Primates is out now, and I strongly recommend you pick it up. The band played a short, but tight set of their pop-infused party rock that has something for everyone.
Chase Johnson is a great frontman, and he had fun egging the crowd on, saying, “We are small, but we are mighty!!” They opened with “The Right” and kicked it up a notch with “Love Is Blind”, bassist Evan Smith really getting into it while laying down some serious bottom end. He’s really entertaining to watch, and like Chase, looks like he’s having the time of his life up there.
Other up-tempo songs included “Where Do We Go” and “Damned” before they played their current smash “Stuck On You”. I defy you to listen to this song and not have it in your head for days afterward. Impossible! Guitarist Scott Pounds coaxes some cool sounds out of his set-up, and drummer Nick Gross is also very animated while holding down the fort on drums. Their set was high-energy, and I cannot stress enough the importance of catching them when they’re in your town. It’s a fun show! Also, Chase and Evan were cool enough to sign a CD for Mini-Amps back at the merch table, so bonus!
Up next was Devour The Day, who are a little more on the heavy side, but still keep it catchy. Opening with the boom-boom combo of “Get Out of My Way” and “Handshakes to Fist Fights” off of their album Time & Pressure they had the place rocking right from jump, Blake and Joey Chicago singing and playing for all they’re worth. The double bass-laden “Respect” was next, featuring some serious growls as well. This was followed by “Move On” which is almost trance-like in its arrangement and was an interesting change of style and pacing.
One of my favorites, both on the record, and in concert was definitely “Reckless”. Live it definitely took on a life of its own, as did “Blackout”. Finally the glass-cutting riff of closer “Good Man” rang out which turned the remaining heads of those few who weren’t fully engaged yet. Blake’s shouts of, “Is there any good left in me??” echoed off of the walls and was the perfect way to end their set. I was fortunate enough to throw back a shot o’Jack with him afterwards, too!
And now, the time had come.
I hadn’t seen Candlebox live since 1994 in Philly when I was 21, so I could barely contain myself! “Bitches Brewin” from 2008’s VASTLY underrated Into the Sun album got the party started followed by one of my all-time favorites “Arrow” and “Cover Me” both from their self-titled 1993 debut. I swear I FELT 21 again as the memories came flooding back from that glorious time. Not to mention singer Kevin Martin sounded every bit as good as he did then, which was mind-blowing in and of itself. Drummer Scott Mercado and Bassist Adam Kury kept all the feets a-stompin, and if that wasn’t enough my favorite new song “She Come Over Me” from Love Stories and Other Musings was next! I was in Candlebox heaven!
Another pair of first album classics, “Change” and “Don’t You” was served up back-to-back before a second new one “Believe In It” rocked the house. The faithful knew it right away, and I cannot recommend this album enough. “No Sense” and the best song off of 1995’s Lucy, “Simple Lessons” were next, followed by the final new song of the evening “Turn Your Heart Around” which Kevin co-wrote with Chris Daughtry. Calling it beautiful doesn’t do it justice, and when it changes tempo for the second half it is near perfection.
Of course no Candlebox show would be complete without “You” (which I used to play in my old cover band in the Philly clubs!) and “Far Behind” which absolutely brought the house down to thunderous cheers and applause. Guitarists Peter Klett and Sean Hennesy played off each other beautifully all night, but on these two numbers it was something else. Man oh man, am I glad I got to attend this show! Not only did I get to see Candlebox rock Dallas with a truly amazing set, but hanging with Open Air Stereo and Devour The Day just made the night even better. Catch this tour if you can!