Written by Abel Carmona
Aug 14, 2009 at 08:00 PM
ImageHouston’s Blue October hit the Verizon tonight and gave the hometown crowd a great show.  The night opened with a band called Ours, I had seen them before when they opened for another act and remembered not taking a liking to them, but tonight was different. I really got into their sound tonight and enjoying what I did get to see of their set. Ours reminded of some of the more prog / noise rock bands like Isis or Mono,  with long drawn out instrumentals and the vocalist having this wailing almost chatting way of singing that really melds into the music.

Next up on the menu was Switchfoot. They came on stage and got a great response from fans. I had only heard a few of Swtichfoot’s songs while listening to the radio, and even those I never had much of a liking for. They played well to the fans and most seemed to enjoy them, but it just wasn’t for me. I will say I was always under the impression that Switchfoot was a band stuck with the dreaded “christian rock band”  title, and while yes, some of their songs can have a certain “meaning” to them, for the most part there was never any preachiness from the guys. Too many times you go to a show and get stuck listening to what someone believes, they’ll get on their soapbox and start in on whatever issues are plaguing the world at the moment.

Soon after Switchfoot’s set, the crowd began calling for Blue October. Even as stage hands were still in the middle of setting up the crowd grew louder and louder,  and with those calls and chats, Blue October front man Justin Furstenfeld would poke his head out through the back stage curtains to look at the fans and just had this huge smile on his face. The screams of the girls up front would be close to deafening to most dogs much less anyone in front of them.

Soon after Blue October came on stage, the screams returned, this time coming from the entire Verizon Theater. From the very first song, the guys sounded great and Justin’s vocals were awesome. I had seen the guys before at a Buzzfest show and that was nothing compared to this. The sound and lighting completely blew that show away, but besides that. seeing Justin’s facial expressions was one of the most entertaining part of the night, he would go off in to these wicked little smiles and faces that really brought out the feelings and emotions in his songs.

Being a Houston band, Blue October seem to really push it all out there tonight. It was refreshing to see a band be truly appreciative of where they were. Many times during the show, Justin would talk about how he and his brother Jeremy, who is the drummer for the band, would come to the Verizon to watch bands and it was amazing to them that they were not only the ones on stage but to be headlining their own tour in their hometown was awe-inspiring. One of the things I took a big notice in was muti-instrumentalist Ryan Delahoussaye, this guy was more than impressive.

I had never really notice how much electric violin was used in Blue October’s music until tonight. While most musicians have a rack full of guitars, Ryan has a double rack of violins and mandolins, along with playing some guitar and piano on stage as well.

During one song, Delahoussaye had a violin under chin, a guitar strapped around him and was playing the keyboards, which made me think “show off”…just kidding, but really it’s one thing to see a guy play so many things, but to be doing it all once reminded me of those old-school one-man band type guys that you’d see walking with ten different things playing them all.

The rest of the night was great, song after song people sang along as they touched on music from early albums, probably a lot of songs that if you weren’t from the Houston area and watched Blue October make their way up, you’d never know. And of course, their recent hits got huge reactions from the crowd, as most probably never heard of Blue October until 2006’s Foiled album which brought the singles “Hate Me”, “Into the Ocean” and “She’s My Ride Home,” all of which got huge radio play not just in Houston but nationally as well.

Which brings us to their newest album, “Approaching Normal,” that has two hit singles from it already. The songs “Dirt Room” and “Say It” were both great watching live. I took a liking to “Dirt Room” the second I heard it. Just the whole theme of the song; people who try to take advantage of others but end up getting what they deserve is great and is awesomely portrayed in the video for the song.