E Center rocks to a triple play

By Scott Iwasaki Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah)


The Three Musketeers of modern rock lit up the E Center for an old-fashioned party Saturday night.

Maroon 5, Sugar Ray and matchbox 20 fired it up with their positive vibes and good-time attitudes. All three bands played hard, and their respective lead singers -- Adam Levine, Mark McGrath and Rob Thomas -- sang their hearts out.

Maroon 5 hit the stage first. The working class, garage band with jazz, funk, rock, soul and blues tendencies had the audience on its feet.

The slinky groove of "Through With You" featured some mid-career Stevie Wonderlike vocals. And during "The Sun" the band -- Levine, guitarist James Valentine, bassist Mickey Madden, drummer Ryan Dusick and keyboardist James Valentine -- incorporated a hip-hop beat with surreal jazzlike vocals.

By the time the band punched out its trademark single "Harder to Breathe," it had the audience up and ready.

Sugar Ray stirred it up with his own blend of pop-punk meets hip-hop in front of a tequila-bar set up. McGrath has matured throughout the years and seemed almost humble as he thanked the audience between tunes. He even ventured into the crowd, letting a preteen boy named Aaron sing the chorus to "Fly," which was dedicated to the U.S. troops in Iraq.

"Every Morning," "Someday" and a new song "Chase You Around," which will be featured on the Sugar Ray's new album "The Pursuit of Pleasure," were on the speaker-popping set list.

matchbox 20 has perfected its live show since it released its 1996 debut album "You or Someone Like You." Thomas' intense energy emitted with his voice and stage presence as the band -- guitarist Kyle Cook, guitarist Adam Gaynor, bassist Brian Yale and drummer Paul Doucette -- chugged out some hefty tunes such as "Disease," "Feel" and "Unwell" from the band's most recent album "More Than You Think You Are."

Older songs such as "If You're Gone," "Bent" and "Mad Season" from the "Mad Season" album had the audience up cheering for more.

The three bands never competed against each other. Instead, the groups added a new layer when they went on.

E-MAIL: scott@desnews.com