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Daughtry scores at Cobb with polished rock

Chris Daughtry brought his usual intensity to the Cobb Energy Centre on Tuesday. Photos: Robb Cohen

Chris Daughtry brought his usual intensity to the Cobb Energy Centre on Tuesday. Photos: Robb Cohen

Chris Daughtry and his self-named crew aren’t going to reinvent the rock wheel anytime soon, but so what? Not every band needs to change the world with its music.

Theirs is a polished brand of amiable rock ‘n’ roll stuffed with big choruses and singalong melodies that sound great on the radio and even meatier in a live setting.

At the mostly full Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on Tuesday, Daughtry the band, fronted by the genial heartthrob who parlayed a fourth-place finish on “American Idol” six years ago into an impressive career, whipped through a 90-minute show that kept fans standing, clapping and shrieking.

Granted, the first couple of songs – the thunderous opener “Renegade” and the title track of the band’s latest album, “Break the Spell” – suffered from a distracting mix of too much echo on the drums and muddled vocals. If you didn’t have the lyrics memorized, there wasn’t much chance you understood what Daughtry was singing.

But the soaring “Feels Like Tonight” and atmospheric “Crawling Back to You,” which featured a muscular Daughtry on his guitar, found the band and sound back on track.

In a recent interview with the AJC, Daughtry, 32, excitedly noted that this tour – which launched last week – showcased the band’s biggest set to date and indeed, it perfectly encapsulated the no frills vibe Daughtry strives to achieve.

With speakers covered to look like concrete and a red “Daughtry” banner flanked by giant stars, the stage backdrop looked a bit like a Converse sneaker. Midway through the show, the banner dropped to unveil a video screen that was used to tremendous effect during “What About Now,” a show highlight.

Backed only by touring keyboardist/guitarist Elvio Fernandez, Daughtry sang the thoughtful ballad in a strong, clear voice as video of homeless people, starving children and destruction played with messages about hope and help.

“Everybody feel alive?” Daughtry asked after the tune.

He continued the brief stripped-down detour to share a story about writing “Home” seven years ago sitting on his couch, and then eventually playing it for Clive Davis.

The 2007 chart-topper – and his biggest Top 40 hit – remains a lovely, poignant song that will live on at graduations and funerals for years to come.

Daughtry.0327IBut soon the rest of Daughtry – Josh Paul (bass), Josh Steely (lead guitar), Brian Craddock (rhythm guitar) and Robin Diaz (drums) – returned for the amped-up “Spaceship” and the combo special of “Over You” and “No Surprise,” two of the group’s catchiest songs that, no surprise, led to some of the loudest audience participation.

Chris Daughtry’s knack for crafting engaging adult-rock songs is an obvious reason for his musical triumphs. But the guy is also a dude cool enough to get the many guys in the crowd to fist pump, while presenting enough soft edges to make the ladies swoon.

Talk about the perfect elements for success.

ByMelissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene blog

Follow me on Twitter: @ajclifestyle

9 comments Add your comment

Lisa

March 28th, 2012
7:25 am

I saw Daughtry last at Gwinnett arena. The one thing I still talk about is his genuine love of music. He seemed truly humble and happy to be getting to live his dream! I wish him much continued success!

Amos

March 28th, 2012
8:55 am

Lisa – I , too, saw them at Gwinnett. Chris’ joy in doing his thing was palpable! I echo your comments. SOO happy for him and his success!

Metoo

March 28th, 2012
9:29 am

I saw him once as part of the idol tour. WOW–what a fantastic talent and a monster vocalist. Would love to see him again! Great stuff. :)

Max

March 28th, 2012
9:46 am

I agree with you, Lisa. Btw, his voice was definitely strained at Gwinnett….but it was absolutely perfect lastnight! I was so disappointed he didn’t sing Rescue Me, but thrilled that he sang my favorite (out of all his songs, possibly), Losing My Mind! And he is a really nice guy. In an awesome twist of luck, a friend and i were in NYC standing outside of a restaurant, and so was he, and my friend struck up a convo with him, and he was really nice, engaging, and cool, and even loved it when he realized i’m from the same area that he grew up in. He’s one of my favorite artists, and rock isn’t even my primary favorite music type. Keep the good tunes coming, Chris!

Amy

March 28th, 2012
10:06 am

I was at the Gwinnett show and the show last night — last night’s show was a million times better! Gwinnett was ruined by the concert’s ill-advised lineup, which brought out a bunch of screaming preteens who lost interest after their TV-show boy band (of which my friend and I never had heard) was gone, and the fact that the audio didn’t work well when Daughtry performed to a nearly empty, vacated-by-preteens arena. It was actually really depressing, and I felt horrible for Daughtry. So thrilled that he gave Atlanta another chance after that mess — and the show last night was FANTASTIC! A crowd of real fans, a great set list, terrific high-energy opening acts (Mike Sanchez and SafetySuit) and an awesome performance by Daughtry!

mary

March 28th, 2012
10:50 am

such wonderful pictures!! Thanks! ms

sillyme

March 28th, 2012
11:29 pm

Glad to hear the tour seems to be going well. I was a little concerned since this album hasn’t sold very well compared to his others. certified gold but not sure its going to sell gold.

Jason

March 29th, 2012
11:23 am

This was my 5th Daughtry concert, and by far the best seats I’ve ever had (6th row from the stage), but the concert felt a little under-whelming. The other 4 concerts were all in NC (Burlington, Greensboro x2, and Raleigh), all within an hour of his home, and he seemed much more alive and into the crowd there than he did in Atlanta Tues night.

Don’t get me wrong…he’s still my favorite group, but it makes me wish I’d traveled back to NC to see him again.

melissa

March 30th, 2012
5:05 pm

I loved Daughtry in Atlanta on March 27th. I saw him at the Gwinnett Arena in 2010 with Lifehouse and Cavo (Lifehouse is my other fav band) and thought they were awesome and I was front row…..He sounded great! In December at Jingle Jam, not so much. Half the place was empty due to them having teeny bopper bands play first leaving the place empty by the time he came on due to the young ones having to go to bed. The Script was worth the show too. But the sound was not good. But this time around, they brought it! I will go to every show in Atlanta he brings here. They put on the best show. Some people at the shows are not true Daughtry fans and just sit there…not me. I was up and dancing. I adore them. When he got off Idol, I never watched it again. I wish I could go to a NC show, you know that those shows are gonna be way more alive since that is his home state. Regardless I loved the meet and greet and loved his show. This album wasnt my fav of the others but Ill still support him and his music as long as he keeps making it.