Lovers Lane
Copernicus Center

Better Than Ezra preview

| June 24, 2009

House Of Blues, Chicago
Saturday, June 27, 2009


Most people you’d ask either love or hate Better Than Ezra, but the reason is probably the same: they’re full of hooks and they’re pretty good at fishing an audience with them. The band have never taken themselves too seriously, opting instead to show their fans a good time, and to wear the love of what they do on their sleeves. How else would a band who’ve been through the fabled industry ringer survive two decades, still filling rooms like House Of Blues?
BTE cut their teeth as a frathouse favorite in New Orleans, that’s true. But testament to frontman Kevin Griffin’s songwriting prowess would be the fact that for the past few years he’s keeping his publishing company happy writing for/co-writing with artists including “American Idol” alums, and the BTE song “Juicy” was used in an Applebee’s commercial as well as on promos for ABC’s “Desperate Housewives.”
No band is immune to the travails, however. In addition to going it without label backing this time around, fans will be sad to learn that longtime drummer Travis Aaron McNabb has left to join country band Sugarland. He is replaced by former James Hall’s Pleasure Club drummer Michael Jerome.
They recently released their sixth studio LP, Paper Empire, which was recorded in Griffin’s new hometown of Los Angeles with a slew of collaborators. It’s no stretch from previous records, continuing to do what they’re good at: sweeping sentimental rock love songs; semi-experimental, playful, funky sing-alongs; and don’t forget those big, sharp hooks. Case in point: while driving the other evening I caught the new LP’s stirring opener, “Absolutely Still,” playing on The Mix, then punched the dial and heard the funky “Black Light” on Q101. Not too shabby a feat. For any band.
Tyrone Wells opens.

Penelope Biver

Click here to download “Absolutely Still.”

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Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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