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Pop Music : Better Than Ezra's Fresh Remix: Everything Old Is New Again

March 27, 1995|STEVE APPLEFORD

Better Than Ezra is a band built on some of the most familiar folk-rock elements: yearning vocals, alluring melodies, guitar-dominated arrangements, etc.

Yet by the time the rock trio finished its hourlong show at the Troubadour on Saturday, so much energy and conviction had been pumped into the mix that it was all spectacularly fresh again.

The Baton Rouge-born act performed songs culled mostly from its debut album, "Deluxe," making music that was immediately accessible without sacrificing creative depth. Between verses, singer-guitarist Kevin Griffin even offered some passionate guitar work that included straight-ahead Stones riffing and surprising moments of swirling psychedelia.

Included in the set list was "Good," a song already earning space on the modern rock airwaves for Ezra with a sound vaguely reminiscent of R.E.M. The trio was without the delicate string and organ shadings of "Deluxe," but it hardly mattered amid the storm of driving rock beats from drummer Cary Bonnecaze.

For the encore, Ezra did bring out L.A. violinist Lili Hayden to re-create her tense, almost panicked solo from the album's stark "The Killer Inside." It was another peak in a concert already high in energy, and underlined the broad creative territory this trio has in its sights.

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