Matchbox 20 / Everclear / Lifehouse: Nashville Gaylord Entertainment Centre

US-conquering country rock types Matchbox 20 prove, inevitably, solid...

The local theory is that country is dead. But Rob Thomas’ affected vocal has always sounded like he grew up in the sticks singing Appalachian folk songs and guarding his still with a shotgun. His somewhat literal loving-and-losing lyrics and astoundingly mid-tempo music make one think that country is slowly pushing it’s way in the back door.

Nashville loves Rob. He is family by the way. Matchbox 20 recorded ‘Mad Season’ here last year. (Although David Thoener sold his East Iris Studios and moved to New England thereafter). Live, the band sounds good with a bright and airy mix. There’s actually some nice instrumentation now that the muddy compression from the record is gone. Lead guitarist Kyle Cook is a stellar musician. ‘The Last Beautiful Girl’ is really a pretty good song. But the show’s lighting design is obtrusive (if not blinding), and bassist Brian Yale really needs to have a guitar cable to keep him somewhere in the vicinity of stage left. The shorter the better please.

Opening act Everclear plays ‘Santa Monica.’. Oops, no, that’s ‘Wonderful’. And then ‘I Will Buy You A New Life’. Or maybe that’s ‘Everything To Everyone?’ Ah, it’s ‘Father Of Mine’… Well, whatever they’re playing, the double drummers are a distracting. Or, in the bizarro world, it’s all very interesting.

Anyway, here’s hoping that the formidable musicianship of Southern California’s young and so-far unaffected Lifehouse shall grow beyond this moment of overnight success to become a staple of pop and rock music-lovers across the board. Their set is short. If you go, leave early. But don’t be late.

Amy E. Dixon