Monday, December 2, 2013

Sugar Ray at Irving Plaza

Sugar Ray formed in 1986 as a funk metal band in Orange County, California, but gravitated to pop music in 1997 after the soft rock "Fly" became a radio hit. This change to a mainstream, pop music style then landed the band a succession of hits with "Every Morning", "Someday" and "When It's Over." Sugar Ray has released six albums, the most recent of which was 2009’s Music for Cougars.

Sugar Ray headlined a concert tonight at Irving Plaza to benefit Wall Street Rocks, a collective of financial services officers who sponsor fundraisers for the Wounded Warriors Project, Reserve Aid and other veteran and first responder charities. During one of his many long between-song talks, lead singer Mark McGrath identified the band as a ‘90s icon, and Sugar Ray’s set was a fulfillment of that vision. The set was largely comprised of the band’s string of hits from that era. At one point, however, the band harkened back to its rougher roots with an early punk rock song, “Mean Machine,” leading into a cover of the Ramones’ “Blitzkreig Bop.” Rodney Sheppard had one song only in which to let his lead guitar really wail. Otherwise, the set was a collection of breezy pop songs made for driving in a convertible down the California coast. The concert was pleasant but very safe.

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