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Articles: The Rise And Fall Of Blind Melon (December 1995)


The Rise And Fall Of Blind Melon

By John Metzger
First Appeared in
The Music Box, December 1995, Volume 2, #11
September 27, 1995

Review of 09/27/1995 concert

 Blind Melon passed through Chicago in late September on what would prove to be their last visit to the Windy City. Shannon Hoon, like Jerry Garcia, recently passed into that other world. I had the good fortune of catching his final show in the Chicago area.

   The performance took place in an intimate club in the northern part of the city. Cameras were on hand to film a video, and the band was in rare form. Slashing through most of the material on their two albums as part of a blistering, though all-too-short 90-minute set, the band and Hoon outdid all expectations.

   This band has the raw energy that too few bands have these days. Blind Melon shook off corporate bullshit, MTV popularity with class. Sure, it happened with No Rain, but they truly didn't care. They were there to play. They were there for a good time. And Hoon was there to speak for a generation tortured by the fucked up world built by the Baby Boomers.

   Unfortunately, Hoon embraced the pain and suffering of everyone and took it a bit too much to heart. A man of excess, it did him in many years before his time.

   Galaxie, the single from Blind Melon's newest album rocked as Hoon bounded across the stage, accentuating the beats by clapping his hands in wild abandon. This tune borrows heavily from Yes, as do many of the songs on Soup. The lyrics from 2 x 4 ring all too honest and true in posthumous hindsight as Hoon lead us through the heroin-induced atmosphere of the song.

   Vernie was a heavy psychedelic metal excursion; Skinned was a twisted serial killer, pro-vegetarian delight; and Time was a journey of exploration of the self.

   Each verse of Toes across the Floor built to a frantic, yet dreamy pitch, similar to those created by Yes's Steve Howe and Chris Squire. Yet the chorus, was a magical flip of the switch into the world of Jethro Tull. Hoon and company, pulled this off without a hitch, and added their own intensity and musical prowess.

   Hoon also tossed out a little bit of the Velvet Underground's After Hours before the audience got to him. Shannon also announced the birth of his first child and seemed to have found some joy at last. But the joy quickly evaporated as Hoon delved deeper into his songbook searching for a resting spot for his troubled soul. To quote Hoon, And I can't understand why something good's got to die before we miss it.

   A final note, just like no one should really be surprised by Jerry's death, the same can be said for Hoon. His songs are riddled with the disillusionment of life.

   On the most recent release, the pairing of St. Andrew's Fall and New Life are almost too prophetic. The former builds to a feverish pitch as Hoon jumps from his 20-story building, echoing the Beatles' A Day in the Life. In New Life, Hoon questions his approaching fatherhood, while begging for something to give him a breath of fresh air to continue. He blew his mind out in a car. Nobody noticed that the light had changed.



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