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.
But 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
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