During concerts, a musician’s wild side emerges, such as when a guitarist destroys an amplifier or a singer eats a zebra. Observe untamed talent with this GrouponLive deal to see Aaron Lewis perform at the San Jose Civic. For $20, you get one ticket for seating in the balcony on Saturday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m. (up to a $34.25 value, including all fees). Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
As the frontman of Staind, Aaron Lewis deals in postgrunge angst and distortion. But as a solo artist, he turns down the volume in favor of quieter, country-infused songs. “Country was the background music to my childhood,” says Lewis, who once spent his summers in rural Vermont with his grandfather, fishing, hunting, and using syrup to oil their tractor. He put out his Town Line EP in 2011 and his debut full-length album, The Road, in 2012. To signify the shift in genres, he recorded and distributed both releases through the Nashville-based country label Stroudavarious Records.
Counted among Lewis’s singles are Town Line’s “Country Boy,” whose dreamy melody tumbles along with bursts of twang and the craggy landscape of his voice. Joined by country legends George Jones, Charlie Daniels, and Chris Young, he shares personal lyrics about his family and the down-home background that’s at the core of his identity. Lewis again honors his relatives, along with his home state, in “Massachusetts,” driven by the melancholic notes of a steel guitar. He wrote “Massachusetts” on the front steps of his house “in the sticks,” and its candid, no-frills approach is a prominent quality of his whole songbook.
Aside from his solo work, Lewis often strips down a handful of Staind songs and presents them acoustically in concert, from the isolated “Outside” to the cautiously hopeful “It’s Been Awhile.” The new arrangements reveal the band’s hidden country flavor when performed live, free from the spectacle of electric guitars and spontaneously combusting drummers. “If you put a country accompaniment to any of the songs that I’ve written over the years on my acoustic,” he says, “all of them would work as country tunes.” On his retooled version of the Staind deep cut “Tangled Up in You,” Lewis explains, “The song was already a little bit country in term of its flavor with the slide guitar and the pedal steel. We brought it further down that road.”
Warning: contains a reference to drugs.
San Jose Civic
Just a brief stroll through the halls of San Jose Civic gives you a sense of its history. Its walls proudly display concert photos of some of the musical greats who have graced its stage, from a duck-walking Chuck Berry to Bob Dylan clad in a cowboy hat. The artist lineup has since shifted to more modern acts such as Interpol and Switchfoot, but many of the original architectural touches of the building itself remain. Outside, a sandy turret embodies a Spanish mission-style aesthetic, and modern details flourish inside the dual-level auditorium; refurbished hardwood flooring glistens beneath circular lighting fixtures that glow an angry red whenever someone texts during a show.
“Good experience. The seats were surprisingly good.”