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Smithereens

The Smithereens spent the first few years of their career developing a formula and the next two decades touring behind it. Some have correctly identified the celestial hierarchy of their harmonies as a postcard to the Byrds; I can almost hear Roger McGuinn singing on “A Girl Like You.” With their best days behind them and no major hits on the horizon, the Smithereens continue to tour the country based on the momentum of the solid-gold foundation that they laid via platinum album sales and their superb arena performances of days past. They hail from the strength-in-numbers middle class, and the people they sing about could be anybody: “My girl, she’s extraordinary/ My girl, she’s different from the rest/ She is truth combined with fiction/ A lovely contradiction/ But you’ll only see the part of her she wants you to see.” Sweet, simple melodies, uncluttered by deep thoughts.

Even though the volume of their live performances can approach that of a small nuclear explosion, the Smithereens are among the most inoffensive rock bands I have ever heard. Their cover of the euphemistic “I Want to Hold Your Hand” reactivates not one bit of that old Beatles magic. It is a competent cover that reeks of wholesomeness, and when the Smithereens sing it you believe the song is really about wanting to hold a girl’s hand.

But sometimes — and maybe I’m reading too much into this — the Smithereens will craft a lyric or two that hints at a darker reality. “Woke up on a groovy Tuesday/ Even my hangover’s fine/ Woke up on a groovy Tuesday/ Hung my mind out on the line.” Based on that alone I want to take them out and buy them rounds of drinks — just to see what might come of it.

SMITHEREENS, Anthology, Saturday, June 21, 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 619-595-0300. $38 to $45.

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The Smithereens spent the first few years of their career developing a formula and the next two decades touring behind it. Some have correctly identified the celestial hierarchy of their harmonies as a postcard to the Byrds; I can almost hear Roger McGuinn singing on “A Girl Like You.” With their best days behind them and no major hits on the horizon, the Smithereens continue to tour the country based on the momentum of the solid-gold foundation that they laid via platinum album sales and their superb arena performances of days past. They hail from the strength-in-numbers middle class, and the people they sing about could be anybody: “My girl, she’s extraordinary/ My girl, she’s different from the rest/ She is truth combined with fiction/ A lovely contradiction/ But you’ll only see the part of her she wants you to see.” Sweet, simple melodies, uncluttered by deep thoughts.

Even though the volume of their live performances can approach that of a small nuclear explosion, the Smithereens are among the most inoffensive rock bands I have ever heard. Their cover of the euphemistic “I Want to Hold Your Hand” reactivates not one bit of that old Beatles magic. It is a competent cover that reeks of wholesomeness, and when the Smithereens sing it you believe the song is really about wanting to hold a girl’s hand.

But sometimes — and maybe I’m reading too much into this — the Smithereens will craft a lyric or two that hints at a darker reality. “Woke up on a groovy Tuesday/ Even my hangover’s fine/ Woke up on a groovy Tuesday/ Hung my mind out on the line.” Based on that alone I want to take them out and buy them rounds of drinks — just to see what might come of it.

SMITHEREENS, Anthology, Saturday, June 21, 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 619-595-0300. $38 to $45.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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