Slow rush: A Coldplay on campus

On record, U.K. pop/rock outfit Coldplay are a relaxing set of sounds to which one may proverbially “chill” whilst listening. Their two Capitol releases, Parachutes and A Rush Of Blood To The Head have provided some of the warmer and listenable radio hits of the past few years. Some of the members are fat or have bad haircuts, and so in their videos, they are portrayed as very serious individuals…real artists. In person, while not too far removed from this concept, the group steps up to the plate when it comes to adding energy to their set.
Coldplay let out the first notes of live music at our very own Convocation Center on Wednesday night, January 22, and it was quite obvious that this was no small band from overseas any longer. Opening with the first track off of their second LP, “Politik,” frontman Chris Martin showed what it is to be a professional touring rock singer. Whether his schtick is a carbon copy night for night is irrelevant. Here is an enthusiastic personality that breathes honesty on stage. Perhaps after a few more years of gaining popularity, he’ll lead his band out of a giant lemon onto the stage, but for now, Martin is the top candidate for the dentist office version of Thom Yorke, writing political causes on his hand, and shaking his head like it’s about to come off. Martin provided several original dance moves, hopping about to songs I always thought you were supposed to sit still to, sunbathe to or study with for your history quiz. On the rollicking b-side “The One I Love,” with a large screen displaying each member, the rest of the band joined in and tapped their toes rather heavily.
Each song, pulled from their two albums was not that far off from the taped versions. They added a bit of change to songs like “Don’t Panic” with a longer intro, and “Shiver” with a much harder break towards the end. It is maybe too apparent that the beast belongs to Chris Martin, with little other than repetition contributed on the other three members’ behalf. Guitarist Johnny Buckland is probably one of the most boring players I have seen live, (or at least paid $32.75 to study) and on songs like “The Scientist” which had all the many couples in the arena slow-dancing, he leaves way too much out, letting the song sound like a backing track if Martin isn’t singing.
Let’s not forget that this is a pop/rock band, and it isn’t necessary that each song sounds drastically different, or each member confuses your eardrums. Coldplay have a fantastic light show (on “Yellow” the spotlights turn the crowd “all yellow”…), a tight set of numbers that both music snobs and pseudo-yuppies can enjoy, and even sleeveless t-shirts available for both men and women! Now if only they had sold beer at the arena…

Michael John Hancock can be reached at