Critics' Picks

The Bacon Brothers

Take away the name recognition that actor Kevin Bacon brings to the Bacon Brothers -- a band he fronts with his brother Michael -- and you've got a standard-issue rock act that would be hard-pressed to get even a record deal. That the Bacon Brothers, who are on tour in support of their second album, the aptly misnamed Getting There, draw far-less-than-capacity crowds suggests that the allure of Kevin's rock-and-roll persona has started to dwindle. And with good reason. The band's folk-rock music sounds too much like Jimmy Buffett and too little like Tom Waits, whom Kevin and Michael cite as an influence, and cover on Getting There ("Jersey Girl"). The Bacon Brothers may have a following among the VH1 set, but they're certainly not good enough to make Kevin reconsider his acting career.

The live show has some superficial appeal -- viewers get to see Kevin's chiseled good looks up close. But the Bacon Brothers, each of who sings and plays acoustic guitar, and are backed by a four-piece band, haven't written any great songs and show no signs of improvement. Despite what they might think, they're not even close to "getting there."

Unlike actor Keanu Reeves, who almost seemed embarrassed to be on the stage with his band Dogstar, Kevin is at least easygoing and animated, bantering freely with the crowd. In fact, Kevin is guilty of hamming it up too much -- despite being a crowd-pleaser, covering Kenny Loggins' "Footloose," the hit from the movie in which Kevin starred, was an obvious move. Similarly, the Smokey Robinson cover that usually closes the show is just not passionate enough. Playing a majority of songs from Getting There, the Bacon Brothers veer between humor-laced pop ("T.M.I.") and watered-down Americana ("Arm Wrestling Woman") -- seriously, you couldn't ask for a worse combination of material. In "T.M.I." (which stands for "too much information"), Kevin sings, "I don't read reviews / Because they just give me the blues." Maybe he'd be better off taking some of the criticism to heart.

Jeff Niesel

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Jeff Niesel

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