August 3, 2015 Gin Blossoms Capture The Paramount Huntington, NY 7-10-15
Alternative Rock veterans Gin Blossoms have remained extremely active since 2012 touring around the USA and bringing their fun live show with them wherever they go. Originally formed back in 1987 in Tempe, Arizona, the band would rise in popularity quickly and release their first album entitled Dusted in 1989. Releasing the material independently, Gin Blossoms quickly found themselves being called “The Best Unsigned Band in America” by the College Music Journal, and within a couple of years signed to A&M Records. Reworking a few of tracks from the Indie release, in 1991 they put out the major label EP debut Up and Crumbling, and followed a year later with the the full-length album New Miserable Experience. Receiving a lukewarm response, the record, in-fact, was not an instant success, but a year later the single “Hey Jealousy” would find the band climbing into the Billboard 100 list. With song-writing credit by former and late Lead Guitarist Doug Hopkins, the track would launch the band into super-stardom and result in Alternative Rock radio picking up five more singles off the record and helping it reach an amazing four times platinum selling status.
As they saying would go, the rest was history, and Gin Blossoms continued to ride a wave of popularity with 1996’s Congratulations I’m Sorry, and have put out two more records since their reunion in 2002. Consisting of Robin Wilson (Vocals), Bill Lean (Bass, Vocals), Jesse Velenzuela (Guitar, Vocals), Scott Johnson (Lead Guitar, Vocals) and Scott Hessel (Drums), Gin Blossoms have been experiencing a very big revival in recent years, and are much more than a nostalgic act. Interestingly, a few years ago Wilson chose to reside in Valley Stream, New York and thus Gin Blossoms have made it a regular routine to play shows in and around the area frequently. That is why, on Friday July 10th, a sense of closeness with the Long Island fans was immediately felt as the doors opened to the band’s evening at The Paramount in Huntington Village. Having last played the venue back in 2013 as part of The Under The Sun Tour, Gin Blossoms were ready to take on a full set in their return with support from Timeshares and Iron Chic.
As busy as Timeshares would be after returning from touring of Europe and before beginning their own Summer 2015 tour, the band was being given their first chance ever to play at The Paramount. The Alternative/Punk Rock band, with ties all over New York, formed around 2009 and consist of Mike Natoli (Vocals/Bass), Jon Hernandez (Vocals/Guitar), Jason Mosher (Guitar), and Eric Bedell (Drums). Releasing their debut album Bearable in 2011, they are now celebrating the release of the follow-up, entitled Already Dead. Taking the stage, they quickly grabbed the crowd’s attention with energy displayed on the track “State Line to State Line” before driving into “Heavy Hangs” and “Tail Light” off their latest album. By the time the band closed with “Woke up in Grappler School” off of their debut album, the crowd had been worked into a frenzy. With Timeshares beginning their Already Dead Midwest Summer Tour, it is highly encouraged to get the chance and check them out live.
As more fans arrived at the Paramount, Iron Chic prepared to begin their set. With Lurbano (Vocals), Phil Douglan (Guitar, Vocals), Gordon Lafler (Drums), and Mike Bruno (Bass) forming their band right in Huntington, some fans in attendance were already familiar with them and eagerly awaited their performance. Coming out to a great response, the band played tracks off their two albums, 2010’s Not Like This and 2013’s The Constant One. Featuring a Hard Rock sound, the band bridged each song by showing their sense of humor. That same sense of humor can be found on their album artwork as well as their social network sites. While their Facebook page describes the band as a “Decent band” that plays “Songs that are acceptable,” Iron Chic is much more than this and is worth looking into. Long Island fans will get another chance to check out Iron Chic as the band has an upcoming show as part of Today’s Mixtape Festival show at The Emporium in Patchogue held on August 15th and 16th before the band begins touring with Good Riddance and Off With Their Heads in September.
Following the two supporting acts, The Paramount floor was packed with fans ready to keep the Friday night Rock show going with main attraction, Gin Blossoms. Having last played an exciting show on Long Island last Summer a part of the free concert series, Music Under The Stars at John Burns Park, their shows have become a Summer tradition around the area. With that tradition comes a few responsibilities of their followers, one to sing along, two to possibly know how to play a tambourine, and three have a good time.
As frontman Wilson came to the stage with a trademark tambourine in hand, fans began to cheer loudly as the band opened with “Lost Horizon.” Wilson sang up close and personal with the audience, letting everyone know not to be afraid to join in the fun. As has become tradition during Gin Blossoms shows, the vocalist soon gave a tambourine to a lucky fan standing right by the barricade and encouraged her to play along through the rest of the night. The fan was elated and joined in as they began 2010 track “Somewhere Tonight.”
The festivities continued as the Gin Blossoms worked through their set with newer track “Miss Disarray” and “As Long as It Matters.” As the energy levels grew, the band began to play big hit “Found Out About You” as Wilson threw a tambourine into the mezzanine of The Paramount for more friendly interaction. With the crowd singing along with every word, Wilson took the microphone stand in hand and hung the microphone over the crowd during the chorus so that the their voices could be heard over the speakers. Not even security was safe from Wilson’s infectious behavior as even one of the guards was handed a tambourine and encouraged to play along. As he did so, the rest of the Gin Blossoms each had their chance to shine musically, sounding as tight as ever.
As the night progressed, the Gin Blossoms would play tracks from their entire library, giving fans a taste of every album they have released with the somber “Until I Fall Away,” “Dead or Alive on the 405,” upbeat hit “Allison Road,” and “Don’t Change for Me,” to name a few. The entire aura was contagious to even the most casual of fans, and the more passionate followers were surprised with some entries like the seldom heard live “29” which Gin Blossoms reintroduced to their set in recent tours. Taking advantage of the warm response, the band played more new songs for fans to indulge in with “I’m Ready” and “Wave Bye Bye,” provoking some to think they really need to pick up 2010’s No Chocolate Cake if they have not already. Closing their set with “’Til I Hear It from You,” the opening guitar melody immediately was greeted by a loud applause from the Huntington crowd. Taking a slight recess before their encore only served to excite the crowd further, Wilson and company returned for the aforementioned monster hit “Hey Jealousy” and the harmonica saturated “Follow You Down” before graciously thanking those for coming out to party with them.
In pure Gin Blossoms tradition, the band continues to tour heavily from now until Halloween, giving fans many chances to take part of a one of a kind experience. It is very clear the members of the band remain in a happy place and enjoy playing in front of a live crowd as much as the fans enjoy coming to see them. With that said, there are few bands that put on a show as interactive as the Gin Blossoms, and it would be a great disservice to miss the opportunity to see them live.