Though the opening acts on the bill more then exceeded expectations, Dryden Mitchell and Alien Ant Farm hit the stage at the Vogue in Indianapolis to play for a crowd well versed in their blend of early ’00s alternative rock, and wound up bringing the roof down.
The setlist heavily favored the band’s breakthrough album ANThology, but for good reason — the platinum album featured hits “Movies,” “Courage,” “Wish,” “Sticks and Stones” and the showstopping Michael Jackson cover “Smooth Criminal,” all of which were played for fans who knew the songs in and out. Mitchell still has the stamina and showmanship to give these songs life in a way which is more than just nostalgia. By the time he tore into a three-minute showstopper version of “Smooth Criminal,” which blended in the vocals to “Finally” by CeCe Peniston, it was clear nothing had been left on the table.
And the songs the band did focus on from upcoming album Always and Forever, due out in January, built on the reputation they’ve earned for earnest appreciation for the music that’s come before, while remaining willing to experiment with their sound. “Homage” seems a hit in the making, putting the band’s influences on display while pushing their music to a new generation of fans who will surely devour ANThology, TruANT and Up in the Attic just as readily.
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ALIEN ANT FARM – “Smooth Criminal”
ALIEN ANT FARM – “Wish” + “Forgive and Forget”