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WEEKEND REVIEWS | POP MUSIC REVIEW

Semi-Charmed Group Simply Third Eye Bland in Concert

October 12, 1998

The trouble with bands like Third Eye Blind is that they have a couple of catchy songs and a decent-sounding album, but in concert they show their true colors: endless shades of bland. Which is exactly what the Bay Area quartet did Saturday at Universal Amphitheatre.

What can you say about an act that downplays its huge commercial status by trying to create an indie mood on stage, performing songs from its self-titled, double-platinum debut collection on sets that evoked a battered nightclub and a boho coffeehouse (for the predictable, even more tedious, "acoustic" part)?

Lead singer Stephan Jenkins worked hard at being charismatic, but his idea of a great performance seemed largely to involve leaping upon things and playing to worshipful teen girls in the crowd.

Honed by 18 months of touring, the group was tight as a drum, but the 100-minute show wasn't even as interesting or varied as the album's slick pop.

As expected, the rousing singles "Semi-Charmed Life" and "Graduate" stood out, but other tunes lost their recorded nuances, becoming a flavorless coagulation of punk-rock aggression, heartland-rock acoustic jangle and arena-rock flash.

Opening act Eve 6 rocked hard with such power-pop anthems as "Inside Out," but the L.A. trio proved undistinguished, and songs from its eponymous debut album offered only generic angst.

--NATALIE NICHOLS

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