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You’d Be “Out of Your Head” to Dislike Fastball

fastballThe HUB was the place to be tonight for another free concert featuring some of yester-year’s favorites. Tonight, Nine Days and Fastball were featured in another installment of Penn State’s unofficial “Bringing Back the 90’s” campaign. Both of these bands were large successes in the 90’s pop-rock genre and continued to shine tonight after a decade.

Now for those of you who read the review of the Eve 6 concert held last semester, don’t quit because you feel another “let’s bash the has-beens” sermon coming on. This show was completely different and much better.

Nine Days performed a forty five minute acoustic set to the audience in Alumni Hall. As mentioned in The Daily Collegian, the band’s two members almost did not make the event because of guitarist and vocalist John Hampson’s obligations to teach his senior English literature class. Can anyone say “cool dad”? Luckily, he was able to book a flight back to Long Island and share with us some of his music along with guitarist and vocalist Brian Desveaux. Known for their hit “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)”, they performed many other equally impressive tunes – most notably one that paid homage to Bob Dylan, a personal favorite.

Fastball then took the stage at about 9:35pm. The band opened with a somber number – something the crowd totally unexpected. The band had a wonderful demeanor. Unlike Eve 6’s behavior last fall which reflected that they were trying way too hard to stay relevant in a world that has clearly passed them by, Fastball knows that their prime has passed. Their songs even poke fun at the state of their career now. They hate living in “the modern world” with “Fall Out Boys”. Anyone who makes fun of Pete Wentz’s masturbatory joke of a band in their music is golden in my book. The band appeared highly boozed up and made continual references to the venue’s lack of bar while simultaneously poking fun at the crowd. Essentially, they’re going to use their previous stardom to tour the country and have fun. This is a band anyone can like.

The band’s lack of tolerance for crowd members who continually shouted requests for “The Way” and “Out of My Head” was equally refreshing. Their attitude could be summed up as such: “F*** off, we’re playing for an hour and we’ll get to them”. In all fairness, anyone there to only hear two songs should have merely showed up at 10:15pm.

fastball2The band – aside from poking fun at their washed-up career – sounded very good. They haven’t bought into fads to try and keep with the times, and they sound much like they did during the All the Pain Money Can Buy album tour – their fifteen minutes of fame. The band picked a selection of songs from throughout their career, but made sure to include some old classics other than their hits, including “Fire Escape” and “Slow Drag”. Even more important, the band made time to jam and take solos on piano and guitar. Showing musicianship is always praised – another reason contemporaries Eve 6 received such poor marks last semester.

Fastball – despite years of poor luck and bad record sales – are still on top of their game. Their music was as crisp as ever and their stage presence was as witty and entertaining as almost any band I’ve seen at Penn State. The most important factor of this show is that the members of Fastball don’t take themselves too seriously. They ended the show with broken guitar strings and a round of jokes, one of note being,

Thanks for coming! It was a free show, but thanks anyways!

And who could forget their comment about a past gig in Cleveland?

That was a great gig. Better than this one! No, not really. At least they had a bar in Cleveland though!

They even took a moment to plug their merchandise, making the entire audience laugh as they recognized the “starving artist’s” plea. This was a great concert. For those of you who did not attend – you truly missed out.

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