October 15, 2015 Third Eye Blind Bring Good Vibes To The Music Farm Columbia, SC 10-8-15 w/ IAmDynamite
In 1993 two aspiring musicians met at a show and made history. When Stephan Jenkins and Kevin Cadogan met they showed a mutual appreciation for each other’s tunes. From there they created a band called Third Eye Blind (abbreviated as 3EB). After some shuffling around and making arrangements, the band consisted of Stephan Jenkins (vocals), Kevin Cadogan (guitar), Arion Salazar (bass), and Brad Hargreaves (drums). Third Eye Blind released their eponymous debut album on April 8, 1997, peaking at number 25 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart, where the album remained for the next 104 weeks. The release spawned three high charting singles, those being “Semi-Charmed Life,” “Jumper,” and “How’s It Going To Be.” Since then, the band has released four more studio albums, including their most recent record Dopamine, which was released on June 16, 2015 via Megaforce Records. Selling over 21,000 copies in its first week, Dopamine reached number 13 on the Billboard 200.
In May, the guys set out on a tour in advance of the record with Dashboard Confessionals that ended on July 26th. Not ones to rest in the face of a new adventure, Third Eye Blind set out on the “Dopamine Tour” on September 23rd with dynamic duo Iamdynamite. On Thursday October 8th, in the wake of the flooding and devastation left by hurricane Joaquin, Columbia, South Carolina got a dose of Dopamine at The Music Farm. Since there were only two bands on tap, and the city of Columbia was still under a midnight curfew, the show began early in the evening. Everything kicked off at around 7:30-8pm as the venue began filling up with excited and anxious patrons, ready to travel through time with Third Eye Blind to the days when feel-good jams ran the radio, along with the carelessness that came with knowing it would all be alright.
Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Iamdynamite opened up the evening with their unique brand of indie alternative meshed with some occasional bottom-heavy percussion. The eclectic duo of managed to occupy the entire stage with both their instruments and flair. As they strummed and beat their way through their set, there was an undeniable chill that filled the air. A relaxing vibe that coursed throughout the venue and had the audience swaying and moving in time. The accompanying lighting was also primed for the evening, with warm and cool tones of magenta and cerulean dancing off each other and the musicians.
Despite the laid-back ambiance of the room, there was still a bubble of excited and semi-drunken chatter in the background, the sound of people missing a great performance. When the guys broke out into their single “In the Summer” the ethereal and atmospheric tone of the song paired with the upbeat tempo and gave a new tilt to the room. It felt bigger and warmer. Between the instrumental fluidity of singer/guitarist/keyboardist Chris Martin and the percussive prowess and mad maraca skills of drummer and co-vocalist Chris Phillips, Iamdynamite are every bit representative of their name. They exhibit impressive passion with an undaunted, unrelenting, and unpretentious coolness that is truly soulful and a pleasure to watch.
When it was time for Third Eye Blind to take the stage, the crowd really started to buzz with excitement. Opening in silhouettes, Third Eye Blind maneuvered their way onto the stage and the room roared with cheers. It immediately became more about being in the moment and the band broke the fourth wall with ease as Jenkins charmed the crowd with his candor and smile. While it can be easy to identify, categorize, and critique a band based solely on their vocalist, in the case of Third Eye Blind it is their feeling as a collective that defines them. This is not to say that Jenkins doesn’t have the coyness and finesse to be a snake charmer when it comes to audiences, but rather in conjunction with his ploys at the crowd his band-mates carry their weight well. Drummer Brad Hargreaves is the picture of concentration amid playfulness, as he focuses his intent upon his kit while still taking moments to interact with and acknowledge the crowd. Keyboardist Alex Kopp took a break from the keys mid-set to pick up the guitar and stand on his piano as he looked out over his band-mates and the audience. Guitarist Kryz Reid also had some fun with the crowd and his band as he and Jenkins and Kopp would playfully crowd one another onstage and make faces. Meanwhile, bassist Alex LeCavalier played in mostly subtle concentration across the stage from the majority of his peers, occasionally watching and chuckling at the madness.
The guys worked their way through a set list of scattered songs from their repertoire, the selection and performances of which Jenkins takes little credit. He joked that the band was basically just “making shit up as we go.” The single from Dopamine “Rites of Passage” had all the makings of an ideal summer song with its even timbre and warm, gradual swells capped with their trademark pseudo-punk, poppy guitar riffs.The real standout of the evening was the energy with which Jenkins assailed the stage. Unrelenting and undeniable, he seemed to be making a conscious effort to own the stage and open himself up to the city of Columbia. As the set progressed, it became more and more obvious that the effects of cheap beer, devastation and rising climates due to body heat aside, Columbia came prepared to rock and knew every word to every song by heart. Through “Never Let You Go” early in the set to the acoustic rendition of Beyonce’s “Mine,” straight through “How’s It Going To Be,” and landing on “Jumper,” the crowd followed Jenkins, their pied piper, through a variety of tuning and emotional peaks and valleys.
Jenkins is sneaky in the way he uses his charm and the crowd’s enthusiasm to manage control of the show. Once you pick up on it, it’s really quite masterful. This is especially impressive when you figure in the fact that Jenkins addressed the crowd – drenched in sweat from the humidity and stage lights – and talked about how he knew it was not the most perfect show they’d ever played, but they wanted to do this for the city of Columbia in the wake of the recent hurricane flood damage and crisis. Watching him perform through the tail end of the set, one thing became clear, the symbiotic relationship between artist and their audience is not only about mutual benefit, but mutual acceptance. Jenkins wasn’t wrong when he acknowledged his shortcomings, pitch issues, tuning troubles and range reaching rough patches, which all touched on their vocal and instrumental performances that night. The beautiful thing about this show was that it didn’t matter. None of those mistakes were significant enough to distract from the purpose and power of the songs they were playing and the palatable emotional impact they had on the Music Farm that night.
Ending the evening with “Semi Charmed Life,” the vibe in the room doubled as fans could be seen dancing across the venue and the whole room seemed to be moving together. There was never more collective singing in unison than during this song. While Jenkins did seem to shy away a bit from the notes in the upper register during the chorus, the masses hardly noticed for the sound of their collective voices carrying on for him. The entire band seem to have a little extra bounce in their step during this song, demonstrating that even a song that should be old hat to its creators and a source of tiresome aggravation or tedium can still hold a little magic.From the expressions on the faces of many in the crowd, it was obvious that they were no longer in The Music Farm in 2015, for them it was 1997 and everything was alright.