Third Eye Blind frontman Stephan Jenkins meant it when he told the crowd at Stubbs for the group’s official South By Southwest showcase on Saturday that “we’re gonna play some brand new songs for you.”
Those new songs – from the San Francisco quartet’s forthcoming fourth studio album, “Ursa Major,” due in stores June 23 – comprised the bulk of the group’s 15-song set. Third Eye Blind played a whopping eight brand new songs, including a run of seven in a row between the opening instrumental “Techno” and the hit “Jumper,” which was rapturously received by a crowd that, while enthusiastic, was clearly restless to hear some familiar material.
But the “Ursa Major” songs, with their swelling dynamics, hooky choruses and provocative lyrics, certainly came from a familiar place to anyone familiar with the band. Jenkins laced social commentary into “Non Dairy Creamer” and earnest philosophy into the liquidy “A Bonfire” – which the group reprised at the end of the show – and “The Tao of St. Peter.” “One in Ten,” which Jensen performed solo, rhapsodized a crush on a lesbian, while in “Why Can’t You Be” Jenkins sang about the realization that a girlfriend’s first love was actually a m ulti-head shower massager. “A Summer Town,” meanwhile, featured a rap section.
Third Eye Blind also reached back for “Never Let You Go” and “Crystal Baller,” but it was clearly a night designed for new music, and Jenkins assured the audience that its indulgence “is not lost on us.”
“Ursa Major” will be Third Eye Blind’s first new album in six years, since “Out of the Vein.” A companion album, “ursa Minor,” has been rumored but not confirmed.
Third Eye Blind’s Saturday South By Southwest showcase set list included: “Techno,” “Non Dairy Creamer,” “Don’t Believe A Word,” “Can You Take Me,” “A Bonfire,” “What You Need Is A Sharp Knife,” “One In Ten” (Stephan Jenkins solo), “Why Can’t You Be,” “Jumper,” “A Summer Town,” “The Tao Of St. Peter,” “About To Break,” “Crystal Baller,” “A Bonfire” (reprise)