800+ Capacity April 6, 2007
The 800 or so crowd and I saw one of two things: a seminal emo/punk band that will hone its chops and end up another arena-rock-act, or a band that will consistently fill smaller venues with faithful fans.
Formed in 1995, Blue October established a solid fan base with the 2nd release of their Calling You single, which was included in the American Wedding movie soundtrack. Their recent chart topping Hate Me and Into the Ocean songs were released (April, 2006) on their fourth album, Foiled, and welcomed a new audience into their steadily growing numbers.
Blue October’s 18 song set began with a rockin’ HRSA and ended with the favourite, Hate Me. The band's sound is hard to pin down. At times there was the Terence Trent D’Arby poppy synth sound; the snarling punk infused Hate Me, or the addition of a violin to an already moody love song. So, which direction does Blue October prefer -the biting hard emo/punk, or the melancholic mood crooning? Either way frontman, Justin Furstenfeld, clearly enjoys his job and plays the audience like a well-seasoned pro.
Although Blue October have clearly played enough gigs, they don’t have confidence in their ability to keep their fans interested. This was evidenced in their play list. They threw their fans a ‘bone’, Calling You, 5 songs into an 18 song set. However, Into the Ocean was played at the ‘end’ of their set, which was clearly counting on an encore to bring the anticipated Hate Me to the audience. I do not like having my encore be manipulated. I would hope the band consider receiving an encore after all their charted songs have been played. That’s like wondering if 1000 fans clapping with one hand is better than 500 using both? One handed clapping is both absurd and orchestrated - so was the encore.
I came to the Commodore expecting to dismiss the band as a one (three?) hit wonder, destined to fade away to expired chartland, but instead found that I truly enjoyed the gig and the band’s charisma. Go figure. Perhaps with less polish and more spit, this band could pull off big venue future gigs (sans the song manipulation).
Blue October is scheduled to appear on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on April 25, 2007. Check them out.
first pix from justinstickets.com
in studio pix from blacktopguerillas.com
violin from epochstrings.com