Better Than Ezra bring joy to The Space At Westbury, NY 7-25-14

Better Than Ezra bring joy to The Space At Westbury, NY 7-25-14

Gearing up to release on September 9th  their first new studio album in five years, titled All Together Now, Better Than Ezra hit the road for the summer of 2014 to play a series of tour dates.  Together since 1988, their 1993 album Deluxe broke them into the mainstream in a big way by rocketing up the charts and going platinum.  Since that time the band has remained active and relative releasing new material year after year.  Currently consisting of original lead vocals/ guitars Kevin Griffin and bassist/ backing vocals Tom Drummond, along with drummer Michael Jermone, Better Than Ezra came to one of Long Island New York’s hottest new venues on Friday July 25th at The Space at Westbury to treat dedicated fans.

Out first to the stage was independent songwriter Jeff LeBlanc.  Native to Long Island, born and raised in Center Moriches, LeBlanc has been performing for a decade now as he worked his way through college and continues to build fans one by one.  Coming out with just himself, a guitar over his shoulder and a microphone, LeBlanc performed some tracks off his third studio album My Own Way There (2013).  Conveying his excitement to be playing in front of his home state fans, LeBlanc was enthused about his chance to jump start the evening.  With an affectionate smooth singing delivery, he sang confidently through his original tunes which gave off a relaxed coffee shop vibe.  As more fans became engaged with LeBlanc many could be found approaching the stage bopping their head and feeling the soulful vibes. Getting into an acoustic rendition of Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” had people pumped and cheering for LeBlanc.  Fans of indie folk-based thoughtful songs will love LeBlanc and should give him a listen.

After a short intermission and more people strolling into the venue, Better Than Ezra kicked things off with “King of New Orleans”.  With ever so lovely distorted guitars, Griffin’s voice lit up the room as everyone cheered in happiness.  Feeding the good vibrations, they played on with a mix of songs including the bass heavy “Rewind” and catchy new track “Sunflowers”.  Offering up the new song proved that Griffin’s songwriting skills are as sharp as ever. Griffin has spent a good portion of time in recent years further honing his skills by composing for other popular artists including Christine Perri, Missy Higgins, and Train.  Satisfying their dedicated fan base while keeping the energy level high they played other favorites including “A Lifetime” and “Extra Ordinary”.  Showing their solid composure as a three-piece unit on stage, each time Griffin changed chord progressions Drummon and Jermone followed with graceful transitions that made the set as fluid as water.

Ever so grateful for those who came out on a Friday evening to spend it with them, Better Than Ezra smiles were as contagious as their words of praise to the crowd were sincere.   Taking notice of  how magnificent The Space at Westbury really is, the backdrop was just perfect for them to blast on through other pieces like new song “Gonna Get Better” and fan favorite “Good”.  Rousing cheers were heard consistently all night long as more new songs like “Crazy Lucky” were offered. It was clear that All Together Now is going to be one heck of an album.  Throwing in a delightful twist they even performed their own rendition of Gorillaz “Feel Good Inc.” which had everyone going nuts.  At the height of that frenzy the band took in all the fanfare and showed their appreciation with more adored songs like “Juicy” and “Desperately Wanting”.   From what seemed to be the conclusion of the show, the screams of their followers preceded a three song encore that concluded with the harmony tingling of “In The Blood”.

With ever so tight guitar work and heart throbbing beats, hearing the set live was like putting together one’s own personal playlist of Better Than Ezra’s top songs.  The band was lively, inspiring, and most of all fun.  With so many bands come and gone from the 1990’s era of alternative rock, it is pleasant to see Better Than Ezra still active and rocking at the level they do.  Relive the memories and create brand new ones with Better Than Ezra, it is a concert experience well worth seeing.

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Frank Malerba
frank@crypticrock.com
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