Keane closes American tour with stellar performance
Thursday, September 17, 2009 3:15 AM
With a flourish, the English trio, Keane, completed the last leg of its American tour Thursday night at the Moore Theatre.
Lead singer Tom Chaplin croons a number from the band’s newest CD “Perfect Symmetry.” Photo by Dave Block
Armed with their melodic pop hits, the band was excited to be in Seattle, what lead singer Tom Chaplin described as the "best musical city in the world." Their energy level in the mid-sized venue was evident with Chaplin's steady theatrical gestures, the frenetic head-bobbing of keyboardist/songwriter Tim Rice-Oxley and the spot-on timing of Richard Hughes drumming - if not by the singer's sweat-soaked yellow T-shirt at the end of the 90-minute set.
All too often, performers forget to engage the audience. Not so with Keane. Their willingness to give 110 percent, was reciprocated by fans who stood the duration of the show, cheered at length between songs and sang along on some of the more popular of the band's offerings.
They opened with "The Lovers are Losing," from the group's third and most recent release "Perfect Symmetry." They launched into several of the new record's songs including the dream pop of "You Haven't Told Me Anything," the sweet ballad of "You Don't See Me," the frat party rocker "Spiralling" and the anthemic plea of its title track. The latter, Chaplin proclaimed midway through the set, was "the best song we've ever written" and is about the irony of how the accomplishments of the human race are sabotaged by its depravity and penchant to kill.
While the new CD is quite good, it is not as strong as its blockbuster predecessor, "Under the Iron Sea," the band's sophomore effort and which put them on an international map. The performance of "Atlantic" from that CD, provided one of the more notable moments of the show. The ballad opens with Rice-Oxley's bittersweet piano, then swells with a sustained synthesizer and punctuated in a sort of militaristic style with Hughes' clever and forceful drumming. Bathed in red light, Chaplin sings, "I hope all my days will be lit by your face/I hope all the years will hold tight our promises."
The most accelerated moment of the show came with "Crystal Ball." With is infectious chorus and unpredictable movement of attractive melody - a hallmark of the band's catalog- the song is arguably the band's most popular. During the song, the near capacity crowd sang along and cheered and Chaplin pumped his fist and roamed the stage like a panther.
During the course of the show, it had occurred to me that Chaplin sounded somewhat like Freddie Mercury. There must have been a consensus on that matter because shortly after my random thought, the band's touring bassist began the opening bassline to Queen's "Under Pressure," to the delight of the crowd. The song cranked the Moore's existing energy to a new level.