SUAAB’s Big Concert was all about surprises – UTD students made up the better part of the audience (1,371 out of 1,584) the Activity Center was transformed into a concert venue, and some cynics of “mainstream” music were pleasantly surprised.
Blue October performed songs from its recent album History For Sale, focusing on a range of subjects, including depression, child abuse and the warmth of love. It also contains the popular “Calling You.”
Composed of singer/songwriter Justin Furstenfeld, violinist Ryan Delahoussaye, guitarist C.B. Hudson, bassist Piper Dagnino and drummer Jeremy Furstenfeld, Blue October has amassed an army of fans since its humble beginnings in Houston.
Justin Furstenfeld’s moving lyrics, coupled with his vocals, demonstrated a variety of intonations and styles. Paired with the unique sound of violinist Delahoussaye, a puckish man with pomade-fashioned horns, it is inarguable that Blue October is better appreciated live.
From the edgy “Sexual Power Trip” and the soulful lamenting in “Razorblade” to the heartening “Inner Glow,” the band demonstrated its diversity – an attribute that is downplayed in music media.
Bowling for Soup was a perfect choice to close the concert. Soup’s antics included a group flip-off and a rendition of The Ramones’ “I Want to Be Sedated” charmingly lampooned “I Want to Be Naked.”
This pop punk quartet’s roots are in a two-man music comedy team – vocalist/guitarist Jaret Reddick and bass player Erik Chandler. Guitarist Chris Burney and drummer Gary Wiseman joined in 1994.
The band performed songs from albums Rock On Honorable Ones! (1997), Let’s Do It For Johnny (2000) and its recent Drunk Enough to Dance (2002), which has captured Grammy nominations for the group.
Although the band has climbed high enough on the Billboard Top 40 to be placed in the pop punk genre, they still have an attitude towards their music that recalls their tenure in Deep Ellum dives.
“When we wrote “Punk Rock 101″ it was the start of that whole Hot Topic deal,” Reddick said. “You could just walk in and come out a punk, and that’s when I found myself reminiscing about how I had to cut my Dickies myself.”
Bowling For Soup promoted several of the bands to which they are now compared, including Sum 41 and Simple Plan.
“It’s ironic because when (“Punk Rock 101″) came out we took Simple Plan on tour…and now they’re bigger than Jesus. I mean, they deserve it, but comparing us to them is ridiculous…I think they were 11 when we got started,” Reddick said.
Overall, the concert was an immense success and a moment of optimism in the ongoing battle against student apathy.