It was a Friday in Chicago and it was as cold as,
well, let's just say it was really cold, and I was at The Metro to
see Sponge. The few songs I've heard on the radio I liked, but
really didn't expect too much from the show going into it. Why?
Well, I've read a couple of reviews that didn't say the greatest
things about Sponge, about their second album, about their riding
the wave of the alternative hype of before and crashing into the
rocks on the shore, and well, as I grabbed a seat in the balcony I
was just thinking to myself that I should have just stayed home,
started a fire, and snuggled with my girlfriend. Oh, wait, I don't
have a girlfriend, so I guess being out wasn't such a bad idea after
all, even if I would have to put up with an
"over-the-hill" alternative band like I read they were. By
the time the night was over I wondered what band called Sponge those
critics were talking about because whoever it was, it sure as hell
couldn't have been the band called Sponge that I saw that night. I'm
glad I went out.
A Concert Review
So, the stage is set, there are some candles on the guitar amps,
a cute little Christmas tree, and the sax starts playing. I'm
thinking to myself "What, am I in some crazy jazz bar?"
The rest of the band makes it's way to the stage and "Death of
a Drag Queen" fills the air. I'm listening to a jazzier,
soulfuller Sponge, and kinda diggin' it. Now, it didn't take long
for the band to kick it up a notch, and low and behold Vinnie
Dombroski is jumping into the crowd by the time the third song comes
around. In the meantime, while Vinnie is being transported around
the crowd, the rest of the band is working the front of the stage,
slapping hands, wailing on their guitars, and working the crowd into
a frenzy. Vinnie makes it back on stage, the crowd lulls for a
second, all until he says something to the tune of "we have a
new CD out, it's called Wax Ecstatic, and we'd like to do the title
track." The crowd is having a blast, and me, I'm becoming more
and more impressed by this "over-the-hill alternative"
Now, Sponge changed a little with the times, and that's not
always bad. Me, I was expecting just what these other critics were
saying, but I saw a band that could take one of their first hits,
"Molly," give it a groovy, bluesy, edge, and still have
the crowd loving it. Alright, Vinnie did hit the line "16
candles down the drain," the band kicked into the recorded
version, and the place went insane, but during that groovy, bluesy
part the crowd was singing, clapping, surfin', and loving every
minute of it. Then I saw a band that could take my favorite Sponge
song, "Plowed," turn the crowd into a moshing frenzy, slow
things down a little the next song down, and pick it all back up
with a killer version of "Speed Racer" from the Saturday
Mornings theme CD. And the crowd response the entire night wasn't
just one of appreciation, wasn't just one of waiting for one song,
it was one of loving everything this band did, and rightly so
because Sponge has grown from Rotting Piñata and their fans are
growing with them. And you know, even a cover of the Lou Reed
classic, "Walk on the Wild Side" had the crowd singin'
along, even if many of them have never heard of Lou Reed before.
As much as the fans love Sponge, Sponge seems to love their fans.
From the working the crowd hand-slaps, to Vinnie diving into the
crowd, to bringing half-a-dozen of those fans on stage to sing
along, I was shown that this is a band that some critics might wail
on, but their fans love them.
I will say that I was duly impressed by Sponge and am still
wondering what the hell all of those other critics are talking
about. Yes, Sponge may have added a little more soulful, a little
more jazzier sound, but they do so by still keeping that guitar
driven edge of before. And you know, when all was said and done, and
I was leaving The Metro this cold, Friday night, two dudes were
walking behind me. One dude goes "God damn they were
good." "Fuck yea," said the other. What else needs to
It's TWO BIG OL' THUMBS UP for Sponge!
That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right!! L8R!