Monday, April 29, 2002

Plus One's act slips in the rain

Concert review: Fans' enthusiasm undampened

By Chris Varias
Enquirer contributor

        It can be enough of a chore to endure the contrived stylings of a boy band performing live. And, as proven Saturday, it's no easier a task with rain falling.

        Plus One, Christian rock's answer to 'NSync, headlined a four-band bill at King's Island's TimberWolf Amphitheater late Saturday afternoon. The show lasted three hours, and so did the rain. A parka-clad crowd filling about half the outdoor theater's bleacher seats stayed from beginning to end.

        The rain affected Plus One's show in a couple of ways. They ended 15 minutes earlier than scheduled, and the five guys' choreographed dance routines became more like challenges to keep from sliding off the wet stage.

        When they acknowledged their dance missteps to the crowd, the crowd responded with girly screams. In fact, everything in the show yielded girly screams: the up-tempo set-closer “Going Crazy”; ballads like “The Promise”; the between-song Christian affirmations; the between-song video vignettes, during which the production crew attempted to dry-mop the stage. The entire package came off as smaller-scale 'NSync. And considering how most of 'NSync's material is innocuous, the stylistic gap between that secular boy band and this religious one didn't seem so wide.

        Of the three opening acts, the first, Phat Chance, made the strongest connection with the audience, jumping around in the rain as if they wouldn't have wanted it dry and sunny.

        They're literally a boy band — they were the only group to play their own instruments, and their ages range from 15 to 19. Making the most of their 20-minute set, they ran through four not-so-bad Christian pop-rock songs with the most energetic performance of the day.

        Christian pop singer Natalie Grant squeezed multiple diva modes into her 20 minutes — from hip-hop soul to sitting-on-a-stool balladry to a set-ending cover of “We Are Family.” The latter had a bunch of samples from Yes' “Owner of a Lonely Heart” spliced into it for whatever reason, and strangely enough it sounded good.

        ZOEgirl, a three-member girl group, mainly did songs with broad Christian themes, none of which connected like the line, “you're never gonna steal my innocence, you've been dismissed,” from what so far stands as the chaste anthem of the year, “Dismissed.”


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