By: Joy R.
Upon entering the venue, the first thing that struck me was how incredibly unsuited the Fairgrounds were for a concert. The stage sat in the middle of a race track and was situated in such a way that those who were not seated in the two sections directly in front had limited if any view. At least the bands seemed aware of the issue as they stayed fairly close to the front during their sets. The hanging monitors helped as well but it would have been nice to see the drummers every once in a while.
The show opened with Alana Grace. Despite the feedback that shrilled every time she approached either of the speakers on the side of the stage, she delivered a fun set. Hamming it up with her guitarists and dancing around the stage. Her music is more on the pop side of rock but it was her voice that really did me in; strong and clear with just the right mix of huskiness. Another thing that struck me was that while she has relatively good stage presence, she wasn’t able to fully command the crowd. She’s young though, give her a few years and I’m sure she’ll become a force to be reckoned with.
The two standout tracks for me were her breakout song, “Black Roses Red” from the soundtrack to Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and a cover of “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes.
After an unavoidably long set from Carolina Liar and an even longer set-up, Lifehouse finally hit the stage. Although their set could have been longer, they still threw in a pretty good range of material. They started strong with the very catchy and singable “All In” but the momentum dropped during “Nerve Damage” and didn’t start back up until bassist Bryce Soderberg (former AM Radio member) took up lead vocals for “Wrecking Ball.” This song is always a highlight for me, aside from the fact that Bryce can really sing and hit those higher notes, there’s something very honest in his delivery that just works. Singer Jason Wade re-joined about halfway through with his guitar and the two shared a hug at the end. One thing I have to say about Jason is that he truly seems to care about the band and their fans. He not only engaged the audience but singled out specific people here and there with comments and questions.
Predictably, the entire house was on its feet for “Hanging by a Moment” and more or less stayed up through “Falling In.” The sweetest moment was unsurprisingly during “You and Me.” Whether standing or sitting, everyone knew the lyrics and Jason had the audience singing the chorus for what seemed like forever – I don’t think anyone minded. They closed the first set with “First Time,” another fan favorite and fun romp. Wasn’t sure if they’d return for an encore but after a few minutes, Jason came out with an acoustic for “Broken.” The rest of the band joined in as well ending the night on a calmer note.
Smoke and Mirrors
Whatever It Takes
Hanging by a Moment
Somebody Else’s Song
Take Me Away
You and Me
Lifehouse is off to Europe next but will be back in the US for a headlining tour in October. Check their website for details.