Third Eye Blind / TEAM*. Gothic Theatre. 12.06.13

GothicLiving in Colorado is no joke. Sure, there are states with harsher climates and less days of sunshine, but you would be hard pressed to find a city where the weather is as unpredictable as Denver. When I decided to move here from California, I did so with eyes wide open. There were no misconceptions around what I was getting myself (and my family) into. I was looking forward to the changing of the seasons. I was looking forward to the white winters just as much as the orange autumns and blue-skied summers. What I was not prepared for was how frequently (and rapidly) the inner-season changes would come. There is something dishonest about a temperature drop of over 60 degrees in a matter of hours. There is something hopeless about a thermometer reading double digit negatives. So it was no surprise when both Third Eye Blind and TEAM* took to social media this weekend to criticize our weather.

It was -19 when the bands rolled into town and posted “All joking aside Colorado, this weather is a jerk”. And although they were completely justified in their statement, it turns out the people of Denver were resigned to the fact that drastic drops in mercury are a way of life. The frigid cold didn’t stop anyone from lining up outside the Gothic Theatre on Friday night to see these two bands — one of which just formed earlier this year and the other which hasn’t released a hit song in over a decade. This was one of those rare shows where tickets sold-out quick, yet there were very few for sale after the fact. There were a couple pairs on stubhub and craigslist (with a considerable mark-up), but the lack of scalpers was a good indication that the tickets were sold to true fans — something that’s nice to see in this day and age.

TEAM*

TEAM* (aka Team*, or just plain Team) got the night started with a full frontal assault of indie rock, with some good-hearted pop punk peppered in for good measure. Fronted by Caleb Turman, and backed by (former) members of Forever the Sickest Kids, Boys Like Girls and The Almost, the young band from Dallas might still be in its infancy, but you can easily map every member’s lineage to discover what member brought what sound to the table. Obviously they were all comfortable on stage, having cut their teeth in prior bands, but the ease at which they meshed with each other (this early on) speaks volumes to where the band might be a year or so from now.

They took the stage promptly at 8pm, and unlike so many openers before them, they were standing tall in front of a packed house. I can’t say if this was due to people’s familiarity with the band, or if it was just because it was so damn cold outside, but the reason didn’t really matter — all that mattered was that the people in the crowd were having as much fun as the four guys on the stage.

The most important thing an opening act can do is warm the crowd up, and on Friday night that was more important than ever. TEAM* performed that task within the first 5 minutes of their set, leaving them another 25 minutes to start building a fanbase. So many sounds came to mind throughout their set — The Mountain Goats, John Oates, How To Dress Well, Blink-182, Weezer, Unknown Mortal Orchestra — and maybe more than any of those bands, Local Natives. I know what you’re thinking — if I were to put all those artists on a single playlist, it would be a disaster — but TEAM* pulled it off in a way that only they could. They are one of those bands that might not win you over with an EP on bandcamp, but if you were to wander into one of their sets at some dive bar at SXSW, you would know you had stumbled onto something special.

I’m glad I got to check TEAM* out. And I’m glad I wasn’t alone. It’s always nice to see an opener get the attention (and respect) they deserve. It was right before the last song when Caleb asked if he could “tell people that we’re friends”?  The answer came in the form of thunderous applause — signaling the end of their “opener” status in Denver.

3eb

Everclear, Live, Sponge and Filter all played the Ogden Theater recently and the show didn’t sell out. So most people would question how Third Eye Blind could fill the Gothic. I am not one of those people who lump all these bands together — I believe they are all unique in their own ways. But I am one of those people who question 3eb’s relevance in 2013. Sure, their self-titled album still sounds great, and you have to respect a band that was able to sneak a pop song about crystal meth onto the Billboard charts back in 1997 (a full decade before Walter White started cooking the blue stuff), but none of that explains the capacity crowd on Friday night. And even after watching them perform for almost 2 hours, I can’t say what it is about this band that makes them deserve the attention.

That’s not to say it was a bad show — in fact, it was extremely fun. They performed half of their debut album – all hits. Opening with “Losing A Whole Year”, 3eb carried us through the halls of high school with an ease rarely seen in bands from the 90’s. Even the newer material had a habit of sounding like the classic alternative rock that ruled the radio back in those days. I will admit to being ignorant to anything they released after Blue, but that ignorance was bliss as I continued to lubricate throughout their set. By the time they got around to the NSFW “Slow Motion”, I couldn’t help but join in with those around me who were singing the song louder than Stephan Jenkins. There might be something wrong with singing “I incite murder for your entertainment” with such jubilation, but it was a wrong that felt so right. And isn’t that what those years were all about? Being a teenager without a (real) care in the world? I think so. And it was nice to feel like one again — even if only for a couple hours.

It wasn’t until after the show, when we were hunting for a cab on an ice-packed South Broadway, that I questioned the performance at all. The band seemed pretty tight. The setlist covered all the material I would’ve wanted to hear. I had a great time and so did those around me. But at the end of it all, I didn’t remember much about the band’s actual performance. I remembered the songs. I remembered the memories (both good and bad) that were awoken in my head. I remembered the people around me. But I didn’t remember the band. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. But would I have had just as much fun at home with friends? Drinking. And listening to those songs on the stereo? Without having to fight the elements?  Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, I’m glad I went. It was a great night out. I’m just disappointed that I didn’t come to a clear conclusion as to why Third Eye Blind are still selling out shows in 2013.

TEAM*:
Come to my house
On My Way
Sinking
Am I Alive
Excalibur

Third Eye Blind:
Losing a Whole Year
Crystal Baller
Non Dairy Creamer
Faster / Danger
Never Let You Go
Can You Take Me
Graduate
Water Landing
Bonfire
All I Want (Dopamine)
Wounded
Slow Motion
Deep Inside of You
Get Me Out of Here
Motorcycle Drive By
Jumper

1000 Julys
Anything

Narcolepsy
Semi-Charmed Life
God of Wine
Bonfire Chant

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Setlist