Photos: Better Than Ezra & The Wallflowers – August 10 at Columbus Zoo
New Orleans alt-rock veterans Better Than Ezra took the stage just after 8 p.m. on a beautiful summer night at Columbus Zoo’s Water’s Edge Events Park. Kicking off their hour plus set with the appropriately titled “King of New Orleans,” lead vocalist Kevin Griffin, bassist Tom Drummond, drummer Michael Jerome, and keyboardist James Michael Payne led the spirited crowd through a steady stream of hits. “Rosealia,” “Desperately Wanting,” and their 1995 breakthrough single, “Good,” quickly brought fans to their feet. More recent cuts like “Crazy Lucky” and “The Great Unknown” from their most recent album, All Together Now, were also met with enthusiasm.
BTE threw a couple of covers into the mix for fun, including a rousing rendition of UK band James’ 1993 indie rock standard, “Laid,” and a revamp of Gorillaz “Feel Good, Inc.” As Griffin strummed the first few sultry chords of their 2005 Desperate Housewives-fueled hit, “Juicy,” about two dozen or so female fans were invited to join the band on stage, swaying vigilantly under the hazy blue and purple spotlights. Urgent rocker “In The Blood,” from the band’s 1995 major label debut Deluxe, wrapped their set, leaving the audience buzzing (with a little help from the busy cash bars at the rear of the venue, of course).
After a short intermission, The Wallflowers arrived and immediately launched into “Three Marlenas” — the fourth and final single from their 1996 landmark album, Bringing Down The Horse. Front man Jakob Dylan and his band mates revisited the well-worn classic several times throughout the night, including the evergreen “One Headlight,” “6th Avenue Heartache,” “God Don’t Make Lonely Girls” and “The Difference,” which closed out their primary set. “Sleepwalker” from 2000’s Breach, and “Everything I Need” from 2002’s Red Letter Days also made the list along with “Misfits and Lovers,” “Love Is A Country,” and “First One In The Car” from their most recent album, Glad All Over.
Better Than Ezra have confirmed they’re currently working on a new album that’s scheduled to be released sometime in 2018. Jakob Dylan told Rolling Stone in 2016 that he was working on a covers project, but no additional information could be found at press time.
All photos by Grant Walters.