Third Eye Blind is a ‘90s band that has managed to avoid becoming a nostalgia act. Formed in San Francisco in 1993, the band released its debut, self-titled album in 1997. It would be by far its most successful album, selling more than 4 million copies and producing three Top 10 hits.
Friday night at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, Third Eye Blind headlined a four-band holiday show sponsored by radio station KRBZ (96.5 FM), drawing nearly 2,500 fans, some of whom looked like they were probably infants when the album “Third Eye Blind” was released.
Stephan Jenkins is the band’s lead vocalist, occasional rhythm guitarist and leader, a cocksure and extroverted frontman who can pep up a big crowd. Before “Graduate,” he welcomed those seeing TEB for the first time, calling them “virgins,” then delivered a homily about peace and unity, asking everyone to turn to the person next to them and extend them good wishes (a take on the “peace be with you” handshake in the Catholic Mass). During “Graduate,” he executed a sloppy backward somersault while playing the tambourine.
This five-piece version of the band has been together for almost four years. Jenkins is its sole original member, but drummer Brad Hargraves has been around since 1995. They are a tight, well-oiled ensemble, one that stands back and with little flash or flair lets Jenkins soak up most of the spotlight. The two- and three-part harmonies were spot on throughout.
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The set list included three tracks from “We Are Drugs,” the band’s new EP, released in October: “Company of Strangers,” “Queen of Daydreams” and “Don’t Give In.” The crowd’s attention waned during those numbers, but snapped back during the big hits: “Never Let You Go,” “Jumper” and the uber-catchy “Semi-Charmed Life,” a 20-year-old song that never loses its funky-pop appeal.
He tossed in a few covers: the Beyonce/Drake hit “Mine”; Bon Iver’s “Blood Bank” and, during “Dopamine,” a few bars of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”
Despite the late hour and the treacherous weather outside the theater, most of the big crowd stuck around to hear the closer, “How’s It Gonna Be,” a catchy, 20-year-old ballad that has aged as well as the band that sings it.
The Strumbellas: They are a six-piece from Toronto with a sound that at times evokes vibe that blends the Lumineers with the Fray: melodic folky pop/rock with gang vocals and rousing, sing-along choruses. Their most recent album, “Hope,” was released in April on Glassnote Records, home of Kansas City’s Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear.
The crowd was familiar with much of the set list, including “We Don’t Know,” “Spirits” and “Wild Sun,” which stirred up a loud, joyous sing-along.
Rites of Passage; Never Let You Go; Graduate; Company of Strangers; Queen of Daydreams; Don’t Give In; Mine; Jumper; Crystal Baller; Semi-Charmed Life; Dopamine/Lucky; Blood Bank; How’s It Going to Be.