SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — In the mid-'70s, such hard rockers as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple ruled the airwaves and filled arenas with guitar pyrotechnics, bombastic stage antics and, at the time, rebellious image.
One band that teens adored and parents loathed was Blue Oyster Cult. Known mainly for its inventive laser light shows and a gloomy sci-fi image, the quintet from New York City actually provided silly but harmless entertainment with such anthems as "Cities on Flame With Rock 'n' Roll" and "Stairway to the Stars."
But, hearing the group play to a less-than-capacity New Year's Eve crowd at the Coach House, one realized just how irrelevant and dull BOC has become. Such old-timers as Neil Young and John Hiatt have remained viable, if not vital, to pop music with strongly focused new releases, but BOC's latest recording of new material harks back to 1988's "Imaginos," and the band is introducing only one new song--the very familiar-sounding "I'd Like to See You in Black"--on its current tour.
Still featuring original members Eric Bloom (vocals, guitar), Donald Roeser, a.k.a. Buck Dharma (lead guitar, vocals) and Allen Lanier (keyboards, guitars) along with newer arrivals Danny Miranda on bass and John Miceli on drums, BOC deserved some credit for working hard to breathe some fire into several of its more durable numbers.