by Robert Bell
9 p.m. Juanita's. 15 adv., $17 day of.
For the last several years, I'd seen the band name. It popped up in the usual places: magazines, newspapers, the margins of web pages. But what could it mean? I found myself repeating it over and over in my head: "Hoobastank. Hoobastank. Hooooooooobastank" — sometimes drawing it out like that until it lost all meaning (or, well, you know).
Based solely on the name, I though perhaps Hoobastank was some kind of Insane Clown Posse or Limp Bizkit type thing with Nu metal chuggery and rapping about weed and boobs and so forth. You know, music for guys who wear gigantic pants and have those skull jester tattoos.
It was to remain a mystery for me until very recently when I actually listened to some Hoobastank and discovered that the band trafficked not in goofy clown rap, but in crunchy, lower middle-brow modern rock with actual singing. They wrote songs about feelings and breaking up with your girlfriend and stuff like that. As for the name, it's kind of genius. It's highly Googleable and it sticks in your head way better than the names of other bubblegrunge acts like Sister Mary Seven, Point of Solitude, Jars of the Day, Trading Templeton and a bunch of other ones that I made up because I couldn't remember any real ones.
Hoobastank reminded me of an important lesson that I learned several years ago, when I bought a Lamb of God CD for my Aunt Sally, a devout Missionary Baptist: Never, ever judge a band by its name alone, because it can get you in trouble. The opening acts at this show are Stellar Revival and Stars in Stereo.