–By Keith Brake
When we think of quintessential nineties music we would be hard pressed not to mention perennial rockers Better Than Ezra. The nineties may have come to a conclusion but the boys from New Orleans have continued on and are currently on tour promoting their latest album, “All Together Now”. The latest offering for consumption is the eighth recording from Better Than Ezra since releasing “Surprise” in 1990. The band’s breakout album was titled “Deluxe” which had the 90’s smash hit “Good” and ended up with platinum status on domestic charts.
The tour came thru what could be one of the lesser known St. Louis metro area venues; Liberty Bank Amphitheatre located on the Alton Illinois riverfront. This is a quite enjoyable setting for an outdoor concert as every seat in the venue seems to be a quality view. I was also impressed with the quality of the production, very impressive for a moderately sized venue.
Hounds offered support for the New Orleans rockers and produced a very solid set. Hounds are comprised of St. Louis talent and are among the favorites for local bands. Their sound is unique while having elements of familiar sounds. During their set I heard some rockabilly influences as well as some jazz and blues. The vocal talents of these young men stand tall but that’s not to say the playing lacks, because it certainly does not, all in all a very enjoyable set.
By the time Better Than Ezra was ready to take the stage the fans were ready and starting to crowd the barricade in front of the stage. The venue while having elements of feeling large it can also be very intimate as the barricade is quite close to a lower stage. A rousing applause met the boys as they entered from stage right and took their places. They kicked things off with “King of New Orleans” and never looked back. Kevin Griffin (guitar and vocals) has a tremendous way of bringing the crowd to the band, a welcoming energy that just makes people want to engage and have fun.
It is always a pleasure to watch true professionals perform, especially at what some would consider a “small” venue. The New Orleans boys gave every ounce of what the crowd had paid for, energy, interaction and a musical performance that was absolutely on point. The evening included covers of Stone Temple Pilots, Chuck Berry and The Bee Gees and of course their own smash hits “Good” and “Desperately Wanting”. Better Than Ezra have not lost one drop of talent nor enthusiasm from my point of view. The performance, in fact, was more than I had anticipated and I would recommend seeing this group if ever you have the chance. For more information concerning Better Than Ezra please visit: https://betterthanezra.com/ .
King of New Orleans
The Great Unknown
Interstate Love Song
Johnny B Goode
At the Stars
In the Blood