Ed Roland and Kevin Griffin team up at the Paradise

A review of the "Southern Gentlemen" (Ed Roland & Kevin Griffin) at the Paradise Rock Club on October 24, 2011

, Managing Editor

Known best for their work in Collective Soul and Better Than Ezra respectively, Ed Roland and Kevin Griffin have teamed up for a tour as the “Southern Gentleman”. The gents stopped off in Boston, the city each once called home during their college years, performing a charming set of their famous works at the Paradise Rock Club.

The duo created a relaxed atmosphere at the Comm. Ave. rock club, with fans kicking back in seats set up on the floor for an all-acoustic set full of hits and wit. Roland and Griffin have known each other since the height of their bands’ success in the 90’s and it’s apparent they’ve built great chemistry over the years. The laidback vibe of the show allowed their personalities to shine as bright as their performances. After alternating the lead on the first two songs, “December” and “A Lifetime” (which they would do all evening), Griffin thanked fans for bearing the “inclement” weather. This inspired the two to try to come up with lyrics containing the rarely used word. Roland had his own moment when he described how Judas Priest’s “Living After Midnight” spawned the riff to “Feeling Better”, which eventually led to him stopping the song because his number started turning into the Priest tune.

Sharing the stage again, the two paid tribute to another classic band as they goofed around with some AC/DC hits like “Thunderstruck”, “Have A Drink On Me” and “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”, highlighted by Griffin doing his best Bon Scott. Still, their best act of horseplay came in the encore with Griffin mixing random verses in with Roland’s chorus of  Foster The People’s “Pumped Up Kicks”, including a dead-on Mick Jagger impression for “Shattered”.

Roland and Griffin feed off each other so well it’s almost like they were schoolboys who needed to be separated in order to behave, which meant the more serious songs were saved for each of their solo sets. Roland sweetened the set with soft falsetto on “Needs” and the ballad “Staring Down”. Later Griffin touched on a rare serious note with “American Dream”, which he wrote about the recession, before cheering folks up with Howie Day’s “Collide”, which he co-wrote.

Early on in the show Griffin noted that they wanted to make the show feel like friends hanging out in the garage and there’s really no better way to describe the night. Besides the jamming and the jokes, the fact that Roland and Griffin aren’t promoting anything makes it pretty easy to see that these really are just two friends looking to have a good time.

Playing to a modest size audience at the Paradise, Roland and Griffin may not be headlining the hottest tour around right now, but with such a fun-loving show these gentlemen should be treated to some Southern Hospitality no matter where they go, just as they were in Boston.

Setlist

Together
December
A Lifetime
She Said
Misunderstood

Ed solo
Just As I Am (Sweet Tea Project)
Needs
Staring Down
The World I Know
Feeling Better

Kevin solo
King of New Orleans
American Dream
Collide (Howie Day)
Porcelain
Hollow
Stuck Like Glue (Sugarland)
Juicy

Together
At the Stars
Run
Shine
Good

Encore
Medley

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