Lifehouse recorded what’s being called the most-played number on radio this year, the lovesick “Hanging by a Moment.” But the L.A.-based pop/rock band brings so little to the table in the way of originality and execution, as witnessed at the first of two sold-out El Rey gigs on Friday, that it’s unlikely the band will be able to build much on the success of that tune.
Group’s melodramatic songs bear striking similarities to those of Pennsylvania’s Live and Florida’s Matchbox Twenty, though lacking the lyrical depth of the former and without the songwriting smoothness of the latter. Nearly each entry started slowly and quietly and then quickly and predictably built to an anthemic resolution.
Lifehouse is fronted by the photogenic 20-year-old singer-guitarist Jason Wade, who was the clear focus of the packed house of mostly young ladies. He sang about affairs and struggles of the heart, of being “lonely and misunderstood,” with all the sincerity a young newlywed (he was married to his high school sweetheart earlier this year) can muster.
Backing musicians did little to make things very interesting, seemingly playing as close to the album versions as possible, save for the occasional six-string flourish from touring guitarist Joerg Kohring. A two-song acoustic portion brought no new personality either to the bland “Somewhere in Between” or the heavy-handed sentiment of “Trying.”