Saturday, March 21, 2009

They're Back From That Ledge, My Friend

By Evan Rytlewski
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In that awkward early evening downtime between the SXSW day parties and the nighttime showcases, I might have seen Third Eye Blind yesterday evening. They might have played "Jumper," and I might have really enjoyed it.

That's what getting old is all about: Enjoying things you used to hate, mostly because they're familiar. The same bizarre chemistry that somehow made the Gin Blossoms one of my favorite bands has also endeared me to the band whose late-'90s rise effectively signaled the end of the decade's long alternative-rock boom.

In truth, Third Eye Blind wasn't nearly as awful as I remember them. By the standards of today's humorless modern-rock radio, they seem like Nirvana. And for a band with adult-contemporary leanings, they sure did scream a lot. I miss that.

In the latest sing of their resurgence, an overflowing crowd of non-SXSW ticket holders swarmed Austin's convention center just to see the group, and singer Stephen Jenkins, looking 10 years older than you remember him (since it's been 10 years since you last saw him), seemed genuinely thankful for the interest.

The group has a new album on the way, and unlike their last couple of new albums, this one could be an actual hit (or a hit by today's reduced standards), given how their latest single, "Non-Dairy Creamer," has infiltrated radio. Like the group's vintage single, the trackprobably the most jumbled critique of the Iraq war you'll find outside a college newspaperis enthusiastic and obnoxious in equal measure. I absolutely hate it, though I love having a new Third Eye Blind single to hate. It's good to have them back.

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