Music Reviews — 03 May 2012
Candlebox at the Gramercy Theatre: A LocalBozo.com Concert Review

Candlebox
The Gramercy Theatre, New York, NY
May 2nd, 2012

Concert Review: Candlebox at the Gramercy Theatre

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Don’t start waiving the white flag of nostalgia just yet. Wednesday night’s rock show at the Gramercy Theatre was so surprisingly filled with hungry fans that most modern rock acts would have killed for similar attendance. It wasn’t some nu-metal or emo act onstage on this night. Instead, it marked the return to New York City of Seattle’s Candlebox, a band that originally rose to prominence with the release of their self-titled debut in 1993 on the heels of some of the most popular rock tunes of the entire decade of the 1990s. Four albums later, including the 2012 release of their latest, “Love Stories & Other Musings,” the band proved if nothing else that talent supersedes memories and their full 90 minute set was a testament to the band’s staying power, even as they’ve been removed from the commercial spotlight.

“As far as I’m concerned,” mused frontman Kevin Martin, “a certain night in New York City is better than a certain night anywhere else in the world. I love this City so much.” The singer, whose voice is as strong as ever, led a rejuvenated and revamped (since 2006) lineup through a smattering of the band’s hits mixed with a sea of newer songs in a set with no effects, no vocal tracks, and no frills- just a band, doing their thing on stage in front of a black banner showing their moniker.

The show was generally well received by the live crowd, despite some antsy concertgoers in the seated area shouting for the band to play their familiar hits. Opener “Bitches Brewin’” from 2008’s “Into the Sun” album proved quintessential for revving the crowd up from the word go, while new single, the positive “Believe In It” showed that the band’s new material stands up to the old admirably. Guitarists Peter Klett (subject of a recent LocalBozo.com interview) and Sean Hennesy’s alternated shredding solos, standing out during each moment they were featured, while Martin’s high pitched howl was spot on throughout, rarely staggering from utter perfection.

Unfortunately, as good as the band was, it took their three biggest hits to really invigorate a mostly stoic New York City audience. But when the moment finally came, the crowd responded enormously. The conclusion of set closer “Them Eyes,” which Martin dubbed a “drunken love song,” began to amp the crowd up as they anticipated what was to come. With a rousing version of the familiar “Cover Me,” and downright excellent performances of iconic songs “You” and “Far Behind” to close the show, Candlebox delivered exactly what the crowd had waited for, sounding as true to form as they had some two decades prior. The audience, now wide awake, did their part as Martin demanded they sing the words back at him verbatim, under the bright lights that shone from the Theatre’s stage.

The 2012 version of Candlebox might look a bit different from the outfit that burst onto the rock scene and into our pop culture lexicon in the mid 1990s. They are a band that’s a little older and their hair a little bit shorter; but as far as their live show goes, they proved that they can undoubtedly still bring it. While Candlebox might get lumped in with so many other rock outfits of decades past that have long since fizzled, it’s a disservice to a band this supremely talented to do so. In fact, it’s almost a shame that they reached a pinnacle of their success so early in their careers, because it’s become much easier to write them off today as a product of years gone by. For a band that’s long been dismissed by commercial music outlets, they deserve a better fate and today, Candlebox is still proving some two decades later that the final chapter on their collective musical journey is far from being written.

- Jane Van Arsdale

Candlebox – Live at the Gramercy Theatre

New York, NY

May 2nd, 2012

1. Bitches Brewin
2. Simple Lessons
3. Don’t You
4. Believe in It
5. Underneath It All
6. Change
7. She Come Over Me
8. Breathe Me In
9. Arrow
10. Stand
11. Turn Your Heart Around
12. Sweet Summertime
13. Miss You
14. Them Eyes
15. Cover Me
16. You
17. Far Behind

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(2) Readers Comments

  1. Thanks for the write up. I was there about 4 or 5 people deep from the stage and it was one of the best Candlebox shows I’ve been too since their ’99 tour where I saw them at Janus Landing in St. Petersburg, Fl. I sacrificed really getting into the last 3 songs (change, You, Far Behind) so I could get the whole thing on cell phone video that did come out spectacular. I will be posting it on YouTube for the world to see because I believe this band has stood up to the test of time even in a music market with questionable music today. Candlebox will forever be at the top of my list. I hope Candlebox continues to rock out hard and continue to tour. Like the saying goes, build it and they will come. Thanks guys, you made it one he’ll of a night!!

  2. I was at this show front row center. Candlebox was awesome! The vocals and the band were right on. Amazing, amazing show!!!!