Matchbox Twenty

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

The Walkin' Cane Band The Savannah July 21
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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