Festivals and battles and tours—oh my!
July 26, 2012 —
This past week turned out to be educational, informative and entertaining as I careened through the Upper Delaware valley discovering something old and something new (thankfully, borrowed and blue were nowhere to be seen). Although it’s frightening to conceive, the 1990s are already considered something old, and my iffy memory of the “Eco Boomer” generation was put to the test at the Summerland Tour (www.bethelwoodscenter.org) on Friday, as Marcy Playground (“Sex and Candy”), Lit (“My own Worst Enemy”), the Gin Blossoms (“Hey, Jealousy”), Sugar Ray (“Every Morning”) and headliners Everclear (“Father of Mine”) took to the stage for more than a couple of hours, belting out their hits for a crowd that spilled out of the pavilion and onto the lawn.
Of the five bands that performed, there were clearly fans of each in the house, but (IMHO) Sugar Ray was the obvious favorite. With their roots based in “alternative metal” rock form, Sugar Ray morphed over the years into a more palatable sound, and the band found its groove, but the road has been considered “rocky” by virtue of low album sales and few bona fide hits. That said, their performance was electric, the vocals appealing and I found myself a (Johnny come lately) convert before the end of the night. Plans for a new album are in the works, and it’s likely that their 2009 release “Music for Cougars” will be eclipsed by the fresher material.
Long associated with Sugar Ray, on again/off again lead singer Mark McGrath, who has also served as co-host of television’s “Extra” and “Don’t forget the Lyrics!” in past seasons, is an obvious choice to be emceeing the Summerland Tour, and did a swell job of working the crowd in between each act. McGrath has a cross-platform expertise that comes in handy for this tour, and his charming demeanor also serves him well.