June 20th, 2012 at 4:15 pm
Where oh where does Chris Daughtry and his eponymous band, Daughtry, fit in the grand scheme of things?
Heâs too muscular and brawny â in music and physical stature â for pop radio. Heâs too, um… âAmerican Idolâ-y for modern rock radio. His tunes appear more often on the first of those two entities, and thatâs largely built on his success on the popular reality television show. During his Tuesday night (June 19) show at the Arkansas Music Pavilion, he only mentioned âAmerican Idolâ once, and then, only in passing, telling the crowd he penned the song âHomeâ before he ever appeared on television. Even at that glancing notion, the crowd of about 2,000 cheered.
Daughtry, dressed in a sleeveless black shirt that showed off his biceps and the tattoos that cover them, comes from the vein of many modern rock acts â Creed, Nickelback and one he personally credited, Candlebox, one of two opening acts. While Nickelback writes lyrics that are boastful and often cringeworthy, Daughtry falls on the softer side of the hard rock spectrum. His most popular songs all enter the rock ballad category, as in tracks such as âHomeâ (which is about going home to recuperate and possibly rekindle lost love), âItâs Not Overâ (about fading love) and âNo Surpriseâ (about leaving a broken relationship).
He would play all of those songs, plus 13 more, during a Tuesday night show that lasted just more than 80 minutes.
Two of the songs he played were covers, including a lukewarm version of Tom Pettyâs âRunninâ Down a Dreamâ and an enthusiastic and spot-on take on Billy Idolâs âRebel Yell.â
All of Daughtryâs songs come from familiar places, even if the songs are original. Daughtry and his band alternately sound like Three Days Grace and The Smashing Pumpkins minus Billy Corganâs mood swings.
Thatâs not a complaint, of course, just an observation. Daughtry cruises that middle ground â too perfectly, maybe, for long-term success. Heâs certainly among the more successful of the acts from the âIdolâ franchise, but that show â and the music industry â is no longer what it was in 2006, when he was one of the finalists.
His next move will certainly be his most important.
A note about the openers: Candlebox warmed everyone up with a series of grunge-era modern rock gems. They played the two songs everyone knows them for â “You” and “Far Behind” â and several more from their newest album “Love Stories & Other Musings.” The crowd reacted most kindly to the older material, but the new songs mesh well with the old. Also opening was Mike SanchezÂ (who is not the UA basketball player). I didn’t catch much of his set except for his final number, a cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.”
Daughtry setlist: 1) Renegade; 2) Break the Spell; 3) Feels Like Tonight; 4) Crawling Back to You; 5) What I Want; 6) Outta My Head; 7) Crazy; 8) Start of Something Good; 9) Home; 10) Rescue Me; 11) Louder Than Ever; 12) Over You/No Surprise; 13) Runninâ Down a Dream [Tom Petty cover]; 14) September;
Encore: 15) Rebel Yell; 16) Itâs Not Over