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Bluesfest Review: Third Eye Blind

By Terry Steeves on July 22, 2014

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A band that entered the 90’s with their refreshing and very rhythmic alternative rock took us on a journey back into half our lives ago, including lead singer/songwriter/guitarist, Stephan Jenkins, who turns 50 later this year.

San Francisco band, Third Eye Blind, started as the songwriting duo between Stephan Jenkins (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), and Kevin Cadogan (lead guitar) back in the early 1990’s. They brought in musicians, Arion Salazar (bass), and Brad Hargreaves (drums) to put together a full band and record their first album, self-titled Third Eye Blind, released in 1997. It remains their most successful album to date, containing their mega hits, “Semi-Charmed Life”, “Graduate”, “How It’s Going To Be”, “Losing A Whole Year”, and “Jumper”, all of which were performed. Three more albums would follow: Blue (1999), Out Of The Vein (2003), and Ursa Major (2009), with their fifth and upcoming album, due to be released later this year. Today, the only band members that remain from the original line-up are Jenkins, and Hargreaves. Lead guitarist/backing vocalist, Kryz Reid, bassist/backing vocalist, Alex Lecavalier, and keyboardist/synth/backing vocalist, Alex Kopp have rounded out the band’s current line-up.

They began the show with “Narcolepsy”, from their debut album, with Jenkins on rhythm guitar and lead vocals. Jenkins, stared out into the audience, a hand shading his eyes from the sun, to greet the crowd, and encouraged individuals to turn to one another and ask, “How are ya doin’ today?” He seemed to be in a reflective mood, but very communicative and comfortable with both the audience and his band members, constantly moving around on the stage. The infectious, “Never Let You Go” (Blue), brought shouts of delight and the irresistible urge to dance…an effect many of their songs have. I detected the cool, new wave flavours of some of the 80’s greats of the past like The Smiths and Depeche Mode in their music, but with a more modern, rockier edge.

The full moon over the Bluesfest grounds at dusk.

The full moon over the Bluesfest grounds at dusk.

Tracks played from the heavily anticipated fifth album were “Back To Zero”, and “Rites of Passage”, which contain much of the same rhythmic formula. Hargreaves was then left alone on stage for a drum solo, during which he mixed in some synth fills using a drum pad, then dove straight into “Semi Charmed Life”. Jenkins stepped back from the mic to allow the crowd to chant along with the chorus. The band seemingly ended with the lively, “Jumper”, but then returned with a 2-song encore. The disturbing, “Slow Motion”, a song written in protest to the dramatization of inner city drug use and violence, has now become a staple at every show. The show ended with the very acoustic, “How’s It Going To Be”…a song about lost love. The sun began to set as I made my way out of the large crowd gathered here, who clearly showed their enthusiasm and support for this much loved band.

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