DGin Blossoms w/The Black Moods
Minneapolis, Minnesota 7/31/19
The album ‘New Miserable Experience’ by the Gin Blossoms was released August 4, 1992. It was the second studio album from the Tempe, Arizona rockers and received less than outstanding reviews and very little fanfare. It took almost a year before “Hey Jealousy” broke into the Top 40 and “Found Out About You” followed a few months later. The album was a soundtrack to the area and people that surrounded the band at the time. When the label A&M jumped on board the album was given a proper release in the summer of 1993. If you were a fan of the band or not, you knew the hits and you could sing along or hum those infectious hooks and melody driven tunes whether you wanted to or not. Fans flocked into the sold out Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota to hear ‘New Miserable Experience’ played in its entirety and allow those long lost memories to rush back to surface as the music played.
Before the Gin Blossoms, a fellow Tempe, Arizona band would take the stage first. The Black Moods are a dynamic three-piece outfit that soak themselves in the fundamentals of rock-n-roll. Forget about all those electronics, loops, and backing tracks that have become commonplace in today’s music scene, and witness a band that plugs in and plays with incredible passion. That passion poured off the stage and it hard to believe they didn’t win over every person in the room. It was one of those moments where I wished everybody I knew was standing beside me to watch them play and experience their groove and addicting vibe they had. The band currently has song climbing the charts called “Bad News” and it was one of the many highlights of the set. The guys were fun on stage and seemed very grateful to be opening for the Gin Blossoms and for the opportunity to play for everyone there. They closed the show with the infectious tune “Bella Donna” and I was instantly looking at their Facebook page hoping for another gig in the Twin Cities real soon. The Black Moods are Josh Kennedy (Vocals/Guitar), Jordan Hoffman (Bass), and Chico (Drums/Percussion) and hopefully we get to see and hear a whole lot more from these guys.
The packed house cheered as the Gin Blossoms took the stage. Proving that they are not a band that has rests upon it impressive back catalog, they opened with a couple of new songs with “Here Again” and “Break.” Both songs appear on the ‘Mixed Reality’ album that was released in 2018. When singer Robin Wilson announced they were going to play the entire ‘New Miserable Experience” album front to back the crowd went nuts. From the opening notes of “Lost Horizons” the crowd was dancing and singing right along. Obviously “Hey Jealousy” brought the house down. Its ultra catchy chorus had the crowd’s vocals in perfect unison. It is virtually impossible not to sing that chorus when you hear it and the proof of that could be seen at heard at the Varsity Theater. The ballad “Until I Fall Away” was another song that instantly connected with people. There wasn’t a point for Wilson to sing; you couldn’t hear him over the voices being catapulted back at the stage.
The Gin Blossoms continued to roll through the album and the band itself sounded tight and clean. Bill Leen was on bass with Jesse Valenzuela and Scott “Scotty” Johnson on guitar along with Wilson providing some acoustic guitar and tambourine. Scott Hessel was the man behind the drum kit and kept the backbone of the music in perfect time. The original lead singer of the Gin Blossoms, Jesse Valenzuela, sang lead on the last song of the record “Cheatin’” which has a country flavor to it. That concluded the album “New Miserable Experience” but there were so many songs still left on the table yet to play. The hit single that was originally found on the 1995 movie Empire Records, “Til I Hear It From You,” kept people singing and the rocker “Follow You Down” brought the evening to a close.
This was a very entertaining night of music. The Black Moods were everything I had hoped they would be. They were fun and injected a venomous rock-n-roll bite that you felt as they played. The Gin Blossoms showcased that they are band with a legacy forever woven in the 90’s fabric of rock music. They also continue to write and create new music that hold ups very well against past songs, just give that last release ‘Mixed Reality’ a listen. I think fans at the Varsity Theater walked out of the venue pretty happy with what they saw and heard.
Photography and review by; Jeff Kunze of Music Matters Magazine
THE BLACK MOODS