Concert Recommendation: Fountains of Wayne with Ben Lee, Thursday, July 17, Metro
The return of the Lollapalooza tour has generated little interest. According
the Tribune, the Chicago-area stop only half-filled the Tweeter Center.
While this could be chalked up to what a horrible venue the Tweeter Center
is, with poorly-planned logistics and outrageously priced refreshments, it
could be that the Gen X public has grown tired of the Lollapalooza formula.
Even after a six-year gap, it's exactly the same: a token black act, a token
female act, and a bunch of macho white guys trying to prove their manhood
by waving their guitars around like dicks. It's not like there aren't alternatives
to hard rock within the alternative genre, but Perry Farrell never bothered
to seek out anything like jazz absurdists Soul Coughing, proudly nerdy They
Might Be Giants or the totally fey Belle & Sebastian.
Case in point for a band comfortable enough with their masculinity that
they can just get on with the business of writing damn catchy songs: Fountains
of Wayne. They are clearly a pop band, not a rock band, because it's all
about the hooks. Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger write precise songs
of being lovelorn and outcast in suburbia. And they don't milk the affectations
like Weezer. They're coming to the Metro in support of their new album Welcome
Opening up is Ben Lee, who first made a name for himself in 1993 with his
former band Noise Addict with the song "Wish I Was Him," expressing his (perhaps
tongue-in-cheek) jealousy of Evan Dando. At the time, Dando was the premiere
alt-rock pin-up boy, although he was overrated as both a musician and pin-up.
Dando had a public off-and-on relationship with the equally overrated but
even more irritating Juliana Hatfield, who also had a guest appearance on
My So-Called Life. Lee has been involved with MSCL star Claire
Danes for years, while Dando and Hatfield are so out of fashion that the press
no longer care about their love lives. Between Lee's cute, talented girlfriend
and the support slot for Fountains of Wayne, maybe it's time for Dando to
pen a new version of "Wish I Was Him" about the song's original writer.
Fountains of Wayne and Ben Lee play the Metro, 3730 N. Clark St.,
Chicago, on Thursday, July 17 at 9 p.m.