The Goo Goo Dolls would make the perfect textbook example for a Rock Music 101 class: straight-ahead rock anthems, a touch of punk, well-executed metal licks, all in a pop coating.
Visually there’s something for everyone: Robby Takac, the bare-chested, beefcake bass player trading vocals with Johnny Rzeznik, the long-haired couch potato guitarist, and George Tutuska, bringing up the rear looking more sinister with his newly shaved head.
The Goo trio has a youthful vitality and unpretentious delivery not unlike recent tour-mates Soul Asylum. The Goo Goo Dolls’ songs could even be called distant cousins of the more established Minneapolis quartet.
But if they’re going to be a textbook example, it’s because they represent the average — nothing ground-breaking, intriguing or provocative. When they sing “We Are the Normal,” they mean it.
Openers the Muffs were retro with their own mix of ’60s girl group pop melodies with ’90s grunge.
Lead singer/guitarist Kim Shattuck (formerly of the Pandoras) was able to “oooh,” camp and scream in the stretch of one song and mixed with her crew — bassist Ronnie Barnett (resplendent in his thrift store prom dress), drummer Criss Crass, guitarist Melanie Vamen — like the Cramps’ Poison Ivy heading the Ramones, or Kat of Babes in Toyland meeting the Beach Boys.
When the hall techs began forcing the foursome off stage when the set ran overtime (they started a half-hour late), the Muffs kicked into their best stuff.