Since debuting last year, The Edge 103.9's monthly Third Thursday free concert series has featured headliners that easily fall into one of two categories: burgeoning and innovative indie-style bands or old-and-busted '90s has-beens and one-hit wonders.
Last night's event along Craftsman Court in Scottsdale fell firmly in the latter category, as it starred SoCal alt-rockers Lit, who are primarily known for the single "My Own Worst Enemy," and, to a lesser degree, "Miserable" (both from the 1999 best-seller A Place in the Sun).
And honestly, I'd prefer it if The Edge would stick with booking bands from the other category. Because even though last night's show was well attended (with a turnout more than 300 strong) the headliners seemed somewhat lukewarm, and were easily outshone by opening acts The Dead Eyes of London and Comfort for Change.
I guess I really shouldn't be bitching, considering it's a free concert and all, but I feel as though The Edge should dump the notion of bringing in outfits whose primary hits came eons ago (like Alien Ant Farm, The Presidents of the United States of America, or last month's headliner Marcy Playground). It's far more exciting going to see trendsetters like Rogue Wave, Shiny Toy Guns, or The Airborne Toxic Event.
For the most part, a majority of the audience seemed rather listless (other than a quite vocal group of Lit fans at the front of the crowd) during Lit's and they only seemed to truly come to life during when "Miserable" and "My Own Worst Enemy." (Then again, it was quite cold last night, with the mercury dipping into the low 40s).
Lit took to the stage at around 10:30 p.m. while Eowyn's "Battle Without Honor or Humanity" (a.k.a. the theme to Kill Bill, Vol. 1) blasted over the loudspeakers and proceeded to alt-rock out over the course of an hour and change with close to a dozen songs, kicking off the set with "Something to Someone," "Four," "Over My Head," and "Looks like They Were Right."
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The gig was not without its standout moments, like when lead singer A. Jay Popoff brought out Fenix*TX frontman Will Salazar to help with the vocals for "Miserable," or when local turntablist Mr. P-Body walked up to the stage and handed guitarist Jeremy Popoff a silver ZZ Top keychain.
The Dead Eyes of London. No, they didn't wear makeup at the Third Thursday gig.
Frankly, I was way more into the performances by local boys The Dead Eyes of London and Comfort for Change, as both had more of a raw and manic energy to their sets. The former band has a grittier, distortion-laden garage sound with touches of British Invasion stuff, '60s and '70s rock, and early '80s punk.
Comfort for Change (which I really started getting into after seeing them perform on the local stage at this year's EdgeFest) falls into the relentlessly melodic hard rock genre (a la Digital Summer) with an explosively energetic stage show. In fact, the sextet's antics were a highlight for me, where vocalist Richard Carlise and bassist Steve Medigovich were frequently hopping off the stage and rushing into the crowd to commingle with the crowd. Guitarist Cameron Cook even performed a good chunk of their set in just boxers and a tee shirt, which was astounding given the near-freezing temps.
Lit had its own stage tricks, such as A. Jay Popoff getting mobbed by the crowd, or his brother Jeremy performing a three-minute guitar solo (including aping the opening chords to Jimi Hendix's legendary take on the "Star-Spangled Banner") while drinking from a can of Bud Light. It felt more like hackneyed rock-star posturing, however, as did their repeated shout out's to Phoenix and an invitation for the fans to party with them after the gig at the Ramada Inn ("Just kidding, we're staying at the W," A. Jay Popoff joked). -- Benjamin Leatherman
Last Night: Lit, Comfort for Change, and The Dead Eyes of London at The Edge 103.9's Third Thursday.
Better Than: Watching Sugar Ray performing at some future Third Thursday gig. (You know The Edge 103.9 would book it, if given the chance).
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Personal Bias: Even though I detested Lit's "My Own Worst Enemy" when it was getting played 50 times a day back in 1999, I admit it's catchy as fuck in an earworm kinda way.
Random Detail: Alt-rock hits were played over the P.A. before each set, but whoever programmed the jams chose to play the censored version of NIN's "Closer." Weak.
Further Listening: The mixtape I'm gonna make this weekend with plenty of The Dead Eyes of London on it.
By the Way: Lit's featured Pamela Anderson in the music video for "Miserable."