September 22, 2010
House of Blues - Dallas
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Roy Turner
Photos by Giovanni Gallucci
Forgettable Pop Music
When I arrived at the House of Blues in Dallas for this show, I was in strange territory and I knew it. I'm usually thrilled by being an observer of a sample population that I don't normally inhabit. Although I knew virtually nothing about the band, as a journalist I did my best to research them as much as I could and listen to what could be considered the most important songs in the bands' catalog before the show.
Still I didn't feel like I really knew anything. I wouldn't have recognized any of their members on the street nor would I have recognized any of their songs on the radio had they come on, on my way to the venue. Sadly, and forgive me for sounding dismissive as this is not designed to sound arrogant or elitist and only factual, but all it took was for me to stand and smoke two cigarettes outside before going in, among the band's faithful to know exactly what I was in for. Again that sounds lame, but it was true and totally proven once the show started.
So what were these people like? A total mirror of the band's sound and image. The guys were the total lack-of-self-awareness suit complete in Ed Hardy and Affliction attire, while the girls looked like the girls that are not embarrassed to date those guys. You have seen them before, all in their early 20's, the girls putting forth most of their efforts into their looks to much success and their boyfriends the college-y male counterpart. Not really interested in music as much as music as something to do and just out for a fun night.
Thankfully these low expectations were not hard to meet, and to the band's credit were totally met.
The show starts and the five member of O.A.R. (Of a Revolution) take the stage to much applause and appreciation and all I could think of was these guys already look like the least controversial musicians I've ever seen. Sadly their music was just as flaccid.
They played forgettable pop music that was supposed to look like it's rooted in something deeper, as if the listener is supposed to identify with them as a new interpretation of reggae or to appeal to the jam band set. Laughably the songs were so white, and the lyrics so profoundly uninteresting (they closed with a song called "That was a crazy game of poker" ) that they reminded me of the send-up of bad white boy blues rock lampooned in the film Ghost World by the almighty BluesHammer.
Watching so many people be into it I had to think that somehow they were in on it, because it was like watching some master comedians doing a dark satire of really bad bar band shtick. But as I recalled in my research, this band had done a victory lap just four years ago by actually selling out Madison Square Garden. You have to respect that kind of audacity; it's just a little tough to sit thru 17 songs of it.