When rock band Lifehouse took the stage at the Louis Alexander Palestra last Sunday night, they found themselves in another make-or-break predicament.

Currently right in the middle of their very first headlining tour, Lifehouse was faced with the task of trying to prove themselves ? mainly that they can compete with the big boys. This show demonstrated that they can step up and deliver what?s needed to win over their critics.

Prior to this tour, the Los Angeles musicians had served as mere hors d?oeuvres to brand name bands like Pearl Jam, Fuel, Everclear, Matchbox 20, 3 Doors Down, and even heavy rockers like Godsmack and Disturbed. With their performance at UR, Lifehouse proved that they can be the headliner of a tour and still please their fans.

What was most difficult for Lifehouse was the limited amount of material that they could offer to the crowd. With their platinum debut album, ?No Name Face,? constituting almost their entire repertoire, the band was forced to play virtually every song they knew how to play.

But a well planned and strategic set list made the absolute most of what they had.

The show opened with a mysterious guitar lick backed by a pitch black stage, but soon gave way to obnoxiously bright lights and the familiar tune of one of their two hit singles, ?Sick Cycle Carousel.? This opener excited the crowd and the energy was carried along through their next cut, ?Cling and Clatter.?

The beginning of their set displayed their craft ability in writing pop-rock songs. But it was not until mid-show ? when Lifehouse took the acoustic approach ? that they revealed their true capabilities.

Their acoustic sound was what musicians call ?texturally? deep, greatly enhancing the emotional power of the four songs.

This small interlude may have been the serendipitous prize of the show, but it was certainly not the highly anticipated highlight.

Transitioning smoothly, they pumped the energy back up with ?Breathing,? which at times has been interpreted as a painful rip-off of Shawn Colvin?s ?Sonny Came Home.?

Regardless, Lifehouse proceeded with a successful crowd fake out as they pretended to play an unknown song, and then busted out with their hit, ?Hanging By A Moment,? moving fans to dance and shout.

The set continued for a few more songs, and when the band left the stage, the crowd was cheering for more. Since the lights were never turned on, it was clear Lifehouse was not done yet.

Lead singer Jason Wade returned and played a touching solo acoustic track.

The band rejoined and exploded with what should have been their closer, ?Quasimodo.? Throughout the entire show, almost half of the songs were ended with a big finale, as if each were their last.

But, despite the strobe effects and Wade jumping off of the drum stage after finishing ?Quasimodo,? the band decided to play one more song, giving the crowd everything they had to give.

What Lifehouse lacks in material, they make up for with stage presence. Three members used wireless capabilities, allowing them to roam the stage and excite the crowd from various positions.

And besides having Wade, the pretty poster boy icon, to keep the teeny-boppers? attention, they offered a comical performance from bassist Sergio Andrade.

Playing the role of a thug, sporting a suspicious UR women?s ice hockey T-shirt, and dancing around happily, he gave the crowd a wild side attraction. At times, their backup guitarist also took the spotlight, when he demonstrated his unique echoed-style bridges and solos.

Overall, Lifehouse put on an impressive show. It was far from spectacular, however, and should not be placed among the Pearl Jams and the Everclears.

But these guys are young, and have even more yet to prove as they continue to work on some supporting material.

Give this emotional band more time and patience, and let their diverse creativity fold out.

For somewhere amongst the teeny-bopper girls and poppiness lies a legit rock band with talent. After UR, Lifehouse continues their tour in Annapolis, Md. Sept. 29.

Rudy can be reached at drudy@campustimes.org.



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