Semisonic, June 14, 1998
Six Flags Astroworld
Opening Act - Athenaeum

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Let me tell you how much I actually wanted to see this show.  Comingup on a Sunday night, I had spent the weekend in Toronto at the NXNEfestival.   I took the first flight out on Sunday morning to get back to Houston intime to enjoy a couple of the rides at Astroworld and then go to this show at the SouthernStar Ampitheater. Enduring record breaking heat and humidity, my friend and I werecompletely drenched in perspiration by the time opening act, Athenaeum, took thestage.  I always say that "music isn't about my personal comfort, it's about theart", and this night put that to the test, but was well worth any inconvenience I mayhave encountered.

athen.JPG (6667 bytes)Athenaeum is a greatgroup from Greensboro, NC (love those NC bands).  They currently have the hit"What I Didn't Know" that is enjoying much radio play here in Houston.  Itis a great pop/rock song with a catchy hook, about maturing in a relationship andrealizing what you lost.  The lead singer, Mark Kano, has a clear, deep, sexy voice,reminding me a bit of Crash Test Dummies, and a beautiful smile as he acknowledged thescreaming girls in the crowd.  Their sound is often a hard rocking one with strongguitars, much like that of Urge Overkill.  Closing with the cute "Too Young Fora Boyfriend", this group was a strong beginning for what the rest of the eveningheld.


semi5.JPG (5797 bytes)Which, of course, wasSemisonic.  One of my new (yet old) favorites, Semisonic includes members of thedefunct band, Trip Shakespeare.  From Minneapolis, this threesome combinesaccomplished guitars with keyboards for a uniquely pleasing sound.   The vocals oflead singer, Dan Wilson, are unique, at times deep and monotone, at times a shrillfalsetto.  I was able to sneak up to the fourth row right in front of him to trulyenjoy his stage presence complete with swaying hips while he strummed.   Duringcertain songs, each member played the keyboards and at times the drummer was doing bothdrumming and keyboard playing at the same time.  What coordination!!

A full Semisonic set this time (as opposed to the short festival set at Midtown a few weeks ago), I got to hear all my favoritesincluding "Never You Mind", "Secret Smile", and the hit "ClosingTime", from current CD, the appropriately titled, Feeling Strangely Fine..  However, I think my very favorite is "Completely Pleased", an eroticallycharged ode to satisfying your better half.  "Across the Great Divide" fromtheir first CD Great Divide was awesome as a closer.  Like the Midtown show,they did a tribute to fellow Minneapolis native, The Artist, with a favorite of mine,"Take Me With You", and did a bang up cover of the Split Enz "I Don't KnowWhy Sometimes I Get Frightened", complete with audience participation banging on thealuminum benches in the pavilion.

semi3.JPG (5865 bytes)Referring to Houstoniansthroughout the night as simply "Stonians", Semisonic's show was packed with aninfectious energy.  A smattering of banter included references to Star Trek and arecurring theme of beckoning the audience to imitate their best scary ride scream. The show was mainly about the music, great lyrics and catchy melodies.  Semisonic isdefinitely one of my favorite bands.





On That Note, I'm outta here......


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