You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Maroon 5; Hives

There were two bands jockeying for primacy at Maroon Five's show at Staples Center: the pop/soul band, the one responsible for the hits "This Love" and "Harder To Breathe," and the rock band they aspire to become on "It Won't Be Soon Before Long" (A&M/Octone). But over the 80-minute set it became apparent that the Los Angeles quintet lacks the smarts or chops to resolve their internal contradictions, making Maroon 5 less than the sum of their parts. That neither side of the band is especially good certainly doesn't help.

With:
Bands: (M5) Adam Levine, Jesse Carmichael, Mickey Madden, James Valentine, Matt Flynn; (H) Howlin' Pelle Almqvist, Nicholaus Arson, Vigilante Carlstroem, Dr. Matt Destruction, Chris Dangerous. Also appearing: Phantom Planet.

There were two bands jockeying for primacy at Maroon Five’s show at Staples Center: the pop/soul band, the one responsible for the hits “This Love” and “Harder To Breathe,” and the rock band they aspire to become on “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long” (A&M/Octone). But over the 80-minute set it became apparent that the Los Angeles quintet lacks the smarts or chops to resolve their internal contradictions, making Maroon 5 less than the sum of their parts. That neither side of the band is especially good certainly doesn’t help.

The best thing Maroon 5 have going for it is Adam Levine’s voice. He possesses a light, airy tenor with a sure rhythmic sense that can rise to a pure, aching falsetto — it’s the kind of voice boy bands have been built around. And the evening’s most effective moments are the ones that show it off: the bouncy, Stevie Wonder homage “Sunday Morning” and “Makes Me Wonder,” which sounds like airbrushed Prince.

But Levine and his band want something more, and they just can’t pull it off. The more rock-oriented songs lack the polish of their poppier material and soon melt into a turgid, sticky mess. “Can’t Stop” and “Won’t Go Home Without You” aim for the spikiness and darkness of the Police, but the rhythm section of Mickey Madden and Matt Flynn lack the jazzy sophistication of Sting and Stewart Copland. Guitarist James Valentine knows all the arena rock moves, but his playing rarely convinces; when he steps out to play a bit of Jimmy Page-style guitar, the effect is laughable, like a preteen tricked out in daddy’s clothes. It’s all cheap bombast, delivered with a scowl that fools no one.

Opening act the Hives could show them how it’s done. The Swedish band’s streamlined mix of garage messiness with New Wave style made for a winning combination. It was odd seeing supremely confident singer Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist step onstage unsure whether the crowd was on his side, but by the end of the band’s headstrong half-hour set, he pronounced himself sure that 95% of the aud were Hives fans.

Maroon 5; Hives

Staples Center; 18,000 seats; $56 top

Production: Presented by AEG/Live Nation. Reviewed Nov. 8, 2007.

Cast: Bands: (M5) Adam Levine, Jesse Carmichael, Mickey Madden, James Valentine, Matt Flynn; (H) Howlin' Pelle Almqvist, Nicholaus Arson, Vigilante Carlstroem, Dr. Matt Destruction, Chris Dangerous. Also appearing: Phantom Planet.

More Music

  • James BayJames Bay in concert at

    James Bay Joins Rolling Stones for 'Beast of Burden' Duet (Watch)

    There were two bands jockeying for primacy at Maroon Five’s show at Staples Center: the pop/soul band, the one responsible for the hits “This Love” and “Harder To Breathe,” and the rock band they aspire to become on “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long” (A&M/Octone). But over the 80-minute set it became apparent that the […]

  • Trent Reznor Taylor Swift

    Trent Reznor Wants 'the Taylor Swifts of the World' to Speak Out on Politics

    There were two bands jockeying for primacy at Maroon Five’s show at Staples Center: the pop/soul band, the one responsible for the hits “This Love” and “Harder To Breathe,” and the rock band they aspire to become on “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long” (A&M/Octone). But over the 80-minute set it became apparent that the […]

  • Remembering Prince

    Prince Estate Calls Heirs' Bid to Scuttle Tidal Deal 'Meritless'

    There were two bands jockeying for primacy at Maroon Five’s show at Staples Center: the pop/soul band, the one responsible for the hits “This Love” and “Harder To Breathe,” and the rock band they aspire to become on “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long” (A&M/Octone). But over the 80-minute set it became apparent that the […]

  • FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - MAY 26:

    XXXTentacion Breaks Taylor Swift’s Single-Day Global Streaming Record on Spotify

    There were two bands jockeying for primacy at Maroon Five’s show at Staples Center: the pop/soul band, the one responsible for the hits “This Love” and “Harder To Breathe,” and the rock band they aspire to become on “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long” (A&M/Octone). But over the 80-minute set it became apparent that the […]

  • SONOS PATRICK SPENCE

    How Smart-Speaker Maker Sonos Plans to Take on Apple, Google and Amazon

    There were two bands jockeying for primacy at Maroon Five’s show at Staples Center: the pop/soul band, the one responsible for the hits “This Love” and “Harder To Breathe,” and the rock band they aspire to become on “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long” (A&M/Octone). But over the 80-minute set it became apparent that the […]

  • Billie Joe Armstrong

    Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong Compares Donald Trump to 'F---ing Acid Gone Bad'

    There were two bands jockeying for primacy at Maroon Five’s show at Staples Center: the pop/soul band, the one responsible for the hits “This Love” and “Harder To Breathe,” and the rock band they aspire to become on “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long” (A&M/Octone). But over the 80-minute set it became apparent that the […]

  • XXXTentacion

    Should Fans Feel Guilty About Listening to Alleged Abusers Like XXXTentacion?

    There were two bands jockeying for primacy at Maroon Five’s show at Staples Center: the pop/soul band, the one responsible for the hits “This Love” and “Harder To Breathe,” and the rock band they aspire to become on “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long” (A&M/Octone). But over the 80-minute set it became apparent that the […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content