Thursday, November 8, 2012
Review: Snow Patrol gave earnest show sans drummer at Verizon Theatre
Occasionally, the band veered too close to sounding like a U2 cover band.
GRAND PRAIRIE The Irish-Scottish rock band Snow Patrol faced stiff odds Wednesday night at Verizon Theatre.
Not only were they without longtime drummer Jonny Quinn, who’s gone on paternity leave, they were left one instrument shy after frontman Gary Lightbody’s electric guitar went kaput and stayed that way for much of the set.
“We’re making this up as we go along, but we’ll get through this together, Texas,” Lightbody said. “We will not be defeated.”
Yes, he really does talk like that, which is only fitting for a band whose songs are earnest and relentlessly uplifting. Like a lot of bands, Snow Patrol aspires to sound like U2 -- too much so, in fact. Every third tune Wednesday bore a resemblance to “With Or Without You.”
There was a strong sense of anonymity to almost every Snow Patrol song. “Chasing Cars” is one of those radio hits you can hum along to a thousand times and never feel the urge to find out who sings it. And it was hard to tell “Cars” apart from new tunes on Fallen Empires, the band’s latest album.
The band did throw one knuckleball with an organ-fueled overhaul of AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.” Leave it to Snow Patrol to turn a carnal metal song into a poker-faced ballad.
After that, it was back to the arena-sized pop anthems. Guest drummer Richard Colburn of Belle and Sebastian paced the songs impeccably, and the lack of a guitar gave Lightbody the freedom to press both hands against his heart, point his face to the heavens, and act out every last bit of earnestness in his lyrics.
The group had the sizable task of following Noel Gallagher of Oasis, who’s opening for Snow Patrol on this co-headlining tour.
Gallagher sounded right at home crooning a bold country-folk version of “Wonderwall” -- originally sung by his kid brother Liam -- and he closed his set with bang with “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” one of the greatest songs of ‘90s Britpop.
Yet this wasn’t just some nostalgia trip. Backed by his current band, High Flying Birds, Gallagher showed off a strong batch of new songs, including the whimsical shuffle “The Death of You and Me” and the ominous “AKA…What a Life!” He also proved to be a funny frontman, haranguing the audience with a series of quips that probably shouldn’t be retold on a family website.
Thor Christensen is a Dallas freelance writer.
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