Gin Blossoms

7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 7 and 8. Argosy Casino (One Front Street, Alton, Illinois)

In retrospect, what made countless 1990s alt-bands atrocious wasn't their lack of talent; it was radio's insistence on constantly shoving their biggest tunes down our throats. Take the Gin Blossoms, whose jangly mega-hits "Hey Jealousy," "Found Out About You" and "Til I Hear It from You" (the last of which was co-written by Marshall Crenshaw) took the R.E.M. big-twang template to seemingly obnoxious, generic heights. But looking back today, the creepy, obsessive tone of "Found" or the brimming-with-regret "Jealousy" ("If I hadn't blown the whole thing years ago, I might not be alone") convey surprising depth and nuance. Later Gin Blossoms albums didn't quite hit this magic — perhaps because principal songwriter Doug Hopkins committed suicide shortly after his songs started hitting it big — although the band regrouped in 2002 after a five-year hiatus and plan to release a new disc, Major Lodge Victory, in August.

 
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