Snow Patrol is Perfectly Pleasant at The Clubhouse on Dec. 10

I usually feel like I have to come up with the defining words about a show myself since, you know, I get paid to be there and all, but I really can't do any better than the simple statement made by my friend Ashley last night at Snow Patrol's Clubhouse show: "It's not that exciting, but it is pleasant."

And, indeed, it wasn't that exciting -- there certainly wasn't as much energy as you'd expect for a sold out show at a smallish venue, featuring a band that'll be on late night television later this week -- but the veteran Northern Irish/Scottish band did sound pretty good.

The Patrollers kicked things with a nice mix of older and newer songs, including "Chocolate" off Final Straw, the 2004 album that saved the band (who'd been around for a decade before that) from the fate of tens of thousands of bar bands that never make it and "Please Just Take These Photos From My Hands," from their October release A Hundred Million Suns.

With two percussionists on stage at some points, the band had a full sound, but their incessantly consistent tone was a problem for me. I'm not one to complain that too many of a band's songs sound alike so long as they're good, but live it got to be a bit of a drag hearing so many lower-to-mid tempo indie ballads in a row.

"Chasing Cars," the Grey's Anatomy soundtrack song that catapulted the band to American success, was buried in the middle of the set, but it got the crowd smiling (yes, smiles were the measure of success this night) while "Make This Go On Forever" prompted some singers in the crowd to join in. The end of the show included "Open Your Eyes," one of my favorite SP songs, but it wasn't quite enough to get me excited.

It was plenty pleasant though. --Martin Cizmar

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: Snow Patrol at the Clubhouse in Tempe.

Better Than: Grey's Anatomy storylines which in any way rely upon the false premise that Sara Ramírez, Sandra Oh or Ellen Pompeo are attractive and/or sexually desirable.

Personal Bias: So long as the world has a Keane, I'm not sure Snow Patrol needs to exist.

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Random Detail: We drove around behind the Clubhouse looking for parking and I was quite impressed with the shiny and new-looking Patrol's tour bus. Not too many Clubhouse acts are rolling a ride like that. Then again, not too many Clubhouse acts have sold 7 million records worldwide.

Further Listening: Hopes and Fears.

By the Way: My new iPhone is amazingly handy for in-show note taking. Why did I ever own that stupid BlackJack?

One More Thing: The show was free show to promote ShockHound.com, which offers of DRM-free mp3 downloads. All my shows are free, of course, but I think the crowd appreciated it.

Photos by Jonathan McNamara

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