'Bosom Ball' excites crowd

3rd Eye Blind and Guster offered solid sets at the 9:30 club

Guster and Third Eye Blind pumped up a college-dominated crowd at the 9:30 club Halloween night. The "Bosom Ball," a show sponsored by 104.1 WWZZ was quite a treat; in fact, a variety of shapes and sizes of women's undergarments hung from the rafters of the intimate club for decorations, but more importantly because the show was benefiting the George Washington University MFA Mobile Mammography Program.

Stephan Jenkins, lead vocalist of Third Eye Blind took a break halfway through the band's set to add a personal connection to the evening's cause.

"A couple years ago, my mother survived breast cancer," Jenkins told the audience, who then responded with encouraging cheers. "Tonight you raised $27,000, which is just a beautiful thing."

Prior to Third Eye Blind's seven-song set, the trio Guster created a storm of energy, tricking the audience when three costumed musicians entered the stage and the three band members Bryan Rosenworcel, Ryan Miller and Adam Gardner followed, surprising the crowd. The band wasted no time with an energetic "What You Wish For," the opening track off its album "Lost and Gone Forever."

The band added a funky ending as it jammed to "Homecoming King" with a "Chariots of Fire" interlude. Vocalists Miller and Gardner held some tight harmonies over long notes during the rock ballad "Demons."

The tropical beat generated a roar of clapping from the audience during Guster's cover of the Talking Head's "Nothing But Flowers."

Next Guster introduced its guest musician on stage, guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani who played a killer metal guitar on "Medicine."

"Come Downstairs and Say Hello" was an immediate highlight with Rosenworcel's brilliant hand-slap drumming and percussion, the '80s New Wave sound and the energy building up as the violin sounds on the keyboard speed up with the beat.

The live favorite, "Airport Song," was best for its instrumental breaks and flashy lighting while the crowd jumped like crazy hippies.

Guster managed to play a great set with a mix of new and old including "Amsterdam," "Keep It Together," "Fa Fa," and "Like the Barrel of a Gun." "Fa Fa" was reminiscent of a 60s band or style and, like most of the songs, had a great instrumental section.

During an interview with Miller, the lead singer explained the meaning of his mockery of the "encore" when the night before he told the audience to cheer really loud because it was going to be "a big surprise" when the band comes out. The crowd laughed and cheered of course before the band came back.

"I just hate that moment standing off-stage," said Miller. "There's this thing where we make people wait and clap for the band to come back, which I think it is a ... tradition. It should be something that's earned."

This is something that Guster stands for; while the band has grown in its core audience, Miller said "the kids that enjoy music that's not on the radio who have the time to find new music within the college culture enjoy our band." Agreeing with the tour manager, Miller said, "our music is not too intelligent for its own good. It's a sing-a-long, and it is what it is."

Perhaps this is the reason that Guster has such a college following. The band realizes that it has been lucky and they have enjoyed touring with artists such as John Mayer, Jason Mraz and Dave Matthews. They especially enjoyed touring with label-mates The Barenaked Ladies, who ran across the stage in underwear at a Chicago show when Guster played the "Chariots of Fire" interlude during a sound-check.

During the next set, the four Third Eye Blind guys came on stage in skeleton costumes and began with "When I See You" which had weak high notes on the exciting chorus section "oh yeah-ah."

"Anything" from the "Blue" album was emotional with great guitars and abrupt but powerful stopping. Keeping in the Halloween spirit, lead singer Jenkins said, "This is the first time I've performed in makeup and a dress." Jenkins' diction and annunciation were excellent during "Wounded," while the audience sang along.

"Narcolepsy" and "Crystalballer" had strong beats and guitar riffs and kept the crowd's energy up. Jenkins mentioned that "Motorcycle Drive By" was about a girl from D.C., and again the crowd went wild with the rapid lyrics and heavy beat.

Third Eye Blind's final song, "Jumper," was a disappointment only because Jenkins opted not to hit the high notes and decided on the lower octave. The instrumental break was moving, however, and Jenkins was a load of fun closing the show by saying that "most people love candy like I love red panties," which he was holding after a fan tossed it on his lap.

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