Third Eye Blind

For a band no one had heard of before this year, San Francisco rock quartet Third Eye Blind is certainly off to a promising start. A number of the group's songs have been all over radio playlists since the spring, they held their own on recent tours with the Rolling Stones and U2, and dapper singer-songwriter Stephan Jenkins shows all the signs of a star in the making. At the band's first proper L.A. gig Thursday (following an earlier showcase and a radio festival slot) at the almost-full Palace, Third Eye Blind made a strong case for future achievement, playing a rousing 15-song show composed mostly of songs from their platinum-certified, self-titled Elektra debut.

With:
Band: Stephan Jenkins, Kevin Cadogan, Arion Salazar, Brad Hargreaves.

Jenkins’ trick is writing catchy, more-or-less middle-of-the-road rock songs that couch hidden or distorted meanings within, often revealing his dark, dirty secrets. On “Semi-Charmed Life,” the bouncy, feel-good song that first got the band heard, and one of the highlights of this show, he sang about a past drug habit as if he’s not sure whether he reviles or relishes the memory. The kids all sang along, perhaps unaware of what exactly they were singing.

On “Graduate” and “London,” the two anthemic songs that ended the regular set, Jenkins showed off his flair for writing songs that sound familiar the first time you hear them, while establishing that, even as a rookie frontman, he knows how to inspire a good crowd, like this one, which hung on his every word.

The show did drag occasionally, when similar-sounding songs began to run together, or when band members were confused as to which song they were playing next. But those are problems easily repaired. As they encored with a speeded-up version of the Smiths’ “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want,” it was hard to believe that they won’t.

Third Eye Blind

Palace; 1,250 capacity; $15.50

Production: Presented by Goldenvoice/Avalon.

Crew: Reviewed Nov. 6, 1997.

Cast: Band: Stephan Jenkins, Kevin Cadogan, Arion Salazar, Brad Hargreaves.

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