Chapman Baehler A few months after firing longtime frontman Scott Weiland, Stone…
- Posted on Jan 23rd 2010 1:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
While there was no reason to question this statement -- Free Energy is nothing if not sincere -- it was hard to believe the Philadelphia quintet had never before played such a venue. After all, the band's poppy, populist brand of '70s arena rock is perfectly suited for places where people rent shoes, swill beers and engage in gloriously meaningless fun.
Easily drowning out the sound of balls hitting pins, Free Energy previewed tunes from its forthcoming debut album, 'Stuck On Nothing,' a winning mix of Camaro-rock riffage and power-pop hooks. The songs demand a level of exuberance the band was happy to supply, and as guitarists Scott Wells and Geoff Bucknam traded outsized licks, they, like Sprangers, made no efforts to conceal their joy.
Nor did they try to hide their influences. Cheap Trick, Thin Lizzy, Boston, Foreigner, Foghat: The musicians stole from them all, and they stole from them well. 'All I Know' boiled the entire T. Rex discography into four minutes of oozing glam-blues sleaze, while the aptly titled 'Bang Pop' reaffirmed the power of the cowbell, a percussive gimmick drummer Nicholas Shuminsky more than justified.
On 'Free Energy,' Sprangers sang a chorus that doubled as the band's mission statement: "This is all we got tonight." Coming from Weezer principal Rivers Cuomo, those words would arrive at the eardrums having traversed some ironic distance. Barked by Hold Steady front man Craig Finn, they would signal some sort of intellectual commentary on adolescent culture and the promises and perils therein. With Sprangers, what you see is what you get, and what you get is more than enough.
"We've got two more, and then what time is it?" Sprangers asked shortly before midnight. "Time to bowl!"