Matchbox Twenty 

With Train and the Old 97s. Saturday, August 4, at Blossom.

The day of reckoning approaches for Matchbox Twenty. Will these middling alt-pop rockers -- superstars from day one, with their anonymous faces and anonymous white-bread sound -- spiral downward and turn into has-beens Hootie & the Blowfish? Or will frontman Rob "Perhaps You Know Me From My Work With Santana" Thomas turn into someone like Sting: a guy who's guaranteed to draw, no matter how "adult contemporary" his music gets? The former seems a bit more likely. Almost a year has passed since Matchbox's sophomore effort, Mad Season, doled out 13 variations on the old jangly guitars/overemoting vocals that made Thomas and his mates famous in the first place. Consider the band a sort of Counting Crows for those not willing to deal with Crows singer Adam Duritz's endless whining. But Mad Season did little for anyone -- folks bothered to learn the catchy choruses to "Bent" and "When You're Gone," but not a whole lot else. Sitting on the lawn at Blossom, you might be alarmed at how alike all these tunes sound: Only the instrumentation and production technique vary. The Matchbox boys are big-time rock stars and can afford the studio gimmicks, but reproducing the material in a live setting is a task the band isn't likely to handle well.

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