How Matchbox Twenty Is Different From the Other '90s Nostalgia Tours
We've hit an oversaturation point for bands having comeback albums, reunion tours, and any number of other obvious cash-grabs, so it's hard not to roll your eyes whenever some band from the '80s, '90s, or even early Aughts makes that kind of announcement.
And it's true: Some of it's downright laughable. I know there's a market for basically anything, but who among us was dying to see Boy Bands of the Past (New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees, Boyz II Men), or Alt-Rock Has-Beens Tour No. 1 (Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Vertical Horizon) or No. 2 (Art Alexakis and a bunch of guys posing as Everclear, Live minus Ed Kowalczyk, Filter)?
And news that Bush and Stone Temple Pilots were planning to tour might reasonably have sent Coke shooting through your nose. For some reason, though, Matchbox Twenty's tour is a different story.
When they returned in 2012 with North -- their first full-length album of new material since 2002's More Than You Think You Are -- the interest was palpable for a band that had been one of alternative rock's biggest bands for almost a decade before going on hiatus.
It was still next to impossible to avoid their hits in the intervening years, and lead singer Rob Thomas didn't exactly go into hiding in the meantime, releasing two successful solo albums, which probably had something to do with their relative relevance.
These guys weren't one-hit wonders, they didn't squander their millions in decadent rock 'n' roll fashion, and they didn't go a full decade without being relevant, so when they came back, it just felt like the band had simply been holding their collective breath for an unnaturally long period of time and were finally ready to exhale.
Unlike a lot of new releases from older bands that think their fans will come out in droves no matter what kind of product they put out (I'm looking at you Stone Temple Pilots and your awful 2010 self-titled release), Matchbox Twenty actually decided to update their sound for North, which also helped.
Yes, moments like "Overjoyed" showed they still do their downtempo emotional song thing really well, but there's something new on more straight-ahead rock 'n' roll tracks like "Parade " and "She's So Mean."
And while it might not be everyone's cup of tea, North also sees them cranking out flat-out dance numbers like "Put Your Hands Up," and tossing in a funky horn section on the lively "Radio."
North, and by extension Matchbox Twenty, have come back with something to say, something fresh to add. Will it hurt that they have a bunch of well-known standbys they can break out during their concerts to help supplement the new material?
No. But at the same time, they're at least making an effort to actually create something new, rather than only trying to recapture the glory of their past, which is a hell of a lot more than can be said for most of their comeback-making peers these days.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.