Before there was Girl Talk and ipods, there was a 12 year old girl who lived out her dreams with her sony boombox. With cassettes she was able to record and edit songs off the radio and make parts of tracks flow with other favorite sounds. One band in particular was always on hand and gave way to an inspiring career in music business; Sugar Ray. Now at 27, she still gets a little giddy when those 90’s chords strike. Thanks to the North Charleston Coliseum, she was able to relive those day-dreaming moments.
The Holy City’s 1990’s alternative music lovers were in for flashbacks of their own stories. The series began at 7.30 on the spot with Austin, Texas natives, Fastball. Perfect openers, engaging the crowd well with thirty minutes of their various hits ending with “The Way". Once Vertical Horizon hit the stage, a teleportation of their original context flowed heavily. They performed favorites “You’re A God", “Everything You Want", heart-clenching “Best I Ever Had" and new single “Broken Over You" from their latest Echoes From The Underground . Matt Scannell, lead vocalist, noted that he enjoys when artists feel sad because he feels better about himself; which is perceived well in his own music.
The award for best crowd effort went to Gin Blossoms. They gave it 200% with an hour of bouncing beach balls, arm waves, clapping, and beverage toasting. Each song highlighted the previous in an energetic surround sound. Even for those not truly a fan of gin or blossoms or both, those lips still move to “Found Out You", “Follow You Down", and the ever upbeat “Hey Jealousy".
Sugar Ray hands-down is one of the best summer bands to date. Mark McGrath still sports his signature hairstyle and dance moves. He was flirtatious, witty, and personal. What was most impressive was how much they still had a passion for their music and fans. Summer sounding hits like “Someday", “Fly", “When It’s Over", and “Every Morning" lit up the entire stadium. Hosting with their original, “Under The Sun", it was just another reason to be present.
California closers, Smash Mouth, were no match for their albums. Lack of crowd interaction was apparent and although the songs were noticeable, the music was smashed. Their business-like manner felt like an in-and-out car wash assembly line. Absolutely no encore.
Overall, you truly felt a friendly connection with all bands as they joined one another in various sets. Stage set-ups were on par, with a max time of 15 minutes. During each intermission, audiences heard the musical styles of The Rolling Stones, My Chemical Romance, and my personal favorite, something out of offices of Mad Men. Would love to see the title series taken literally in the future, perhaps pulling in a bigger crowd.
However, whether you were 12 or 20 then or just turning one of the two, Under The Sun was a small yet memorable reunion of musical history.