By Hali Neal
On the last day of SunFest (May 6), Third Eye Blind went all Depeche Mode for the occasion, dressing completely in black, even on a South Florida afternoon close to summer.
Lead singer Stephan Jenkins, hilariously, even had a black water bottle. The only pop of color was Jenkins’ highlighter-yellow tennis shoes. After finishing the anti-suicide anthem “Jumper,” Jenkins introduced the next song, “How’s It Going to Be,” by saying: “This song has been sort of retired, but we got a request this morning, so we’re going to do the Kevlar version.”
Jenkins began the song with an acoustic guitar before the rest of the band joined in, followed by the audience singing the chorus. Jenkins screamed instead of sang the already high last few lines.
Those who dug into Third Eye Blind’s catalogue beyond the 1990s stuff surely appreciated the next song, a gem off 2003’s Out of the Vein, “Crystal Baller.” This song’s guitar riffs and solo have a way of leaving an imprint on your mind that’ll make you want to listen to the song over and over.
Jenkins clearly takes care of his voice as he still sounds amazing 20-plus years later. The song also has gorgeous lyrics: “I wonder why the wind keeps blowing you through my mind, and “the patrons of the pub keep singing macramé queens in the afternoon / and I’m in tune or did I speak too soon?” All of this adds up to a fun song to bang your head to.
Jenkins’ falsetto on certain parts of “Dopamine” was well-done. There was a brief guitar solo from lead guitarist Kryz Reid that was the perfect accent to what was happening on stage. As always, Jenkins made sure the crowd knew they were appreciated: “This is the moment I live for. Now you’re a part of Third Eye Blind and you’ll have that moment forever.”
Breakthrough hit “Semi-Charmed Life” has one of the most recognizable intros in alternative rock and is the ultimate crowd pleaser. In fact, when those opening notes started, everyone cheered. “Semi Charmed-Life” is one of those songs that could have only gotten famous in the 1990s (and also because people don’t pay attention to lyrics): It’s the happiest song about doing crystal meth and giving oral sex you’ll ever hear.
Vocals-wise, it was more of a sing-along than any of the other songs. Whether that was because Jenkins wanted more crowd involvement on such a favorite or because he had a sore throat and was having trouble with some of the high notes on the song is up for debate.
The rest of the band was at the top of their game, though, and it was still a good and fun rendition of the song to jam to.
Dafeauxnito, a local West Palm Beach rap duo stormed the stage next, complete with animation of a smoking fire on the screen behind them. According to the SunFest blog, this was the duo’s biggest show to date and the culmination of a 10-year dream.
It’s appropriate, then, that the first thing they said before introducing “Grubbin,’” off their 2018 mixtape, H2G2, was, “we’ll show you how we got here.” “Grubbin,” oddly, has a line that says that they “don’t got no common sense”, though the lines that precede it are and “I need more in life/this just can’t be it/the game too fixed”, and it is a song about how they’re “more than gimmick” and “that they’ll bring up your spirits” and how they hope whoever’s listening is persevering.
DJ Nargiz stood behind a DJ table that was draped with a black tablecloth that had “HTGT” emblazoned on it. HTGT stands for “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow,” the name of a song as well as a saying that’s all over their social media and T-shirts they have for sale.
Their excitement at achieving a dream they’d been working for bled into their energy on stage: “If you got dreams, make some noise. Anything’s possible. Look at where we are right now.”
Then they launched into “M’S”, which celebrates the come-up while also calling out fake friends: “Get your dirty hands out of my lunch/pretending you was there for the jump/thinkin’ that you eating off my plate/you a bum/and now I’m-a have to cut everyone off at once…”
That great energy continued throughout the set and was one of the best things about them. They used a backing track that included vocals and that often fought with their live vocals and took away from the performance.
Then they launched into their most cringeworthy track, “Hooper,” which could either be a terrible metaphor for chasing women or actually about basketball. From lines like “I’m just trying to be a hooper/ball is life” to even name-dropping Charles Barkley toward the end, you could see how someone could be confused. Then they tried to bring Tag Team’s 90s megahit “Whoomp (There It Is)” into the song and it just didn’t work.
“Can’t Stop Won’t Stop,” the duo’s next song, was full of flat moments as this is the only time the duo’s energy dropped and I actually felt myself zoning out. This was frustrating because Dafeauxnito has the potential to be a good act: the energy and personality is there but they need to drop the vocal backing track (it’s distracting to hear recorded and live vocals), work harder on the lyrics and be more in sync with each other’s movements on stage.