Monday, August 11, 2003

3 Doors Down's not fancy, they just rock



By Chris Varias
The Cincinnati Enquirer

You can tell 3 Doors Down are Southerners by the way lead singer Brad Arnold's drawl comes out when he introduces a song, and by the way the band can do a convincing Lynyrd Skynyrd cover.

Otherwise, 3 Doors Down's rock music is so plain, so lacking of any sort of distinction or regional sound, that it's as if the band was created in a laboratory.

But maybe that's the point. The Mississippi-native band's Sunday-night show at Riverbend took generic, melodic hard rock to another level, in the sense that these are five everyman rockers with no artsy pretensions - pedestrian, derivative, and proud of it.

It showed in Arnold's outfit of backwards baseball hat, plain T-shirt and blue jeans. His left forearm was in a cast. It wasn't the look of a rock star. Instead, he looked like he was on his way to deliver a pizza. All that was missing was a cigarette dangling from his mouth and a pizza box.

The music - a mix of crunchy, driving rock and sing-along power ballads - was as ordinary as Arnold's clothes, but it was played powerfully, and the pavilion-only audience responded wildly to everything. This was the band's best Cincinnati performance to date.

"Kryptonite," the 3 Doors Down signature song with the familiar chorus "If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman," remains the centerpiece of the band's live show. Its double-time cadence gives it a sound that set it apart from the rest of the selections in the 80-minute performance.

Other favorites included the rockers "Duck and Run" and "When I'm Gone" and the ballads "Be Like That" and "Away from the Sun." The crowd enjoyed Daniel Adair's drum solo just as much.

3 Doors Down recorded "That Smell" for an upcoming Skynyrd tribute album, and the band's encore performance of it was the night's most rocking moment.

Of the three other bands on the bill, Canada's Our Lady Peace put on the best show. Their hour-long set featured the most original take on hard rock heard over the course of the evening.

The band who achieved the least original sound was not 3 Doors Down, but instead either Shinedown or Seether.

We'll give the edge to Seether, for Shaun Morgan's shameless Kurt Cobain act. Morgan sounded just like the guy, and his stringy hair hung over his face Cobain-style as he sang Nirvana's "You Know You're Right."

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E-mail cvarias@enquirer.com




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