Singer-songwriter Julian Coryell played the constant and consummate romantic victim Friday night at the Mint. In a near-capacity, nine-song, late-night showcase, the son of jazz-rock guitarist Larry Coryell showed that he’s a sensitive and wounded fellow and a passable songwriter, but he revealed little else of enduring interest.
With his low-key backing band providing steady if uninteresting middle-of-the-road soft rock accompaniment, Coryell opened with “Everyone’s Better Than Me” (with its revealing line “My mind offers nothing original”), and battled with little success a chatty dinner crowd (should sit-down dining and live rock music ever be combined?) with more similar-sounding love songs.
Standout track of the short set, natch, was the final tune of the evening, and the first single from Coryell’s new album “Bitter to Sweet” (Mojo/Universal), the Radiohead-ish “Song for Cynics.” But aside from Coryell’s falsetto and his guitar player’s use of a beer bottle on his instrument for feedback effect, the song didn’t hold much sway with most of the antsy crowd, which talked and stirred throughout.
The almost-rocking “Cheat,” offered mid-set, packed an edgy attitude and was the show’s only other highlight. But Coryell — whose resume includes stints at Boston’s prestigious Berklee School of Music and in his father’s fusion band when he was 14 — appeared ill-at-ease in this setting and would probably be better served pursuing a musical direction more challenging to himself and to his audience.