Alternative rockers the Gin Blossoms are currently out on tour in honor of their second studio album, “New Miserable Experience,” and made a stop at the Underground in Charlotte this past Tuesday evening.  The album was significant for many reasons, including the fact that it went quadruple platinum and spawned not one, but five chart topping singles.  The album is also the last to feature former, late guitarist Doug Hopkins who was fired from the band shortly after the recording of the record. Hopkins suffered from problems with alcohol and tragically went on to commit suicide in 1993. The “A New Miserable Experience Tour” pays homage to this classic album and features the band playing the record in its entirety.

The capacity crowd was filled with fans of all ages from those who grew up in the nineties to younger teens and they were all eager to have a good time. The band took the stage with a minimal set up with drummer Scott Hessel’s kit partially surrounded by plexiglass and launched into the first of three songs not from the Miserable album, “Here Again.”  From the very first notes, it was clear that the Gin Blossoms haven’t lost a step. Their jangly pop rhythms were a breath of sonic refreshment and lead vocalist Jesse Valenzuela still sounds amazing.  Jesse told a short story about his favorite frontman, Ian Astbury of The Cult, and how he made a vow to his self that if he ever made it in a rock band, he would play the tambourine all the time, picking up one of several from the rear of the stage for “Still Some Room In Heaven.”  After the first three songs, the band began the “New Miserable Experience” portion of the evening, playing all twelve tunes from the album in order.

Valenzuela joked to the audience that hopefully it will be at least seven years before they tour the album again. This was the portion of the evening that most had come to hear with all the fan favorites like their biggest hit “Hey Jealousy” and “Found Out About You” as the crowd danced, sang, and swayed in unison. One of the most touching moments of the evening came right before “Pieces of the Night” which Jesse introduced as his favorite from the album, explaining to the audience that the song reminded him of driving to Tucson years ago with the late Doug Hopkins. It was definitely a highlight of the night and one of those moments where you could really feel the emotions being let loose on stage. The band played an additional two songs after the album was over before ending their set. Of course, the crowd was pumped and demanded more which the Gin Blossoms obliged with a two song encore. They played a wonderful cover of Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees” and “Follow You Down” to end the evening.

This show is a unique experience which allowed fans to hear their biggest album in full which doesn’t happen that often. It was a fantastic evening reliving memories of years gone by and making new ones as well. Be sure to check out the Gin Blossoms when A “New Miserable Experience” Tour hits a city near you.


Set List:


Here Again


Still Some Room In Heaven


New Miserable Experience:

Lost Horizons

Hey Jealousy

Mrs. Rita

Until I Fall Away

Hold Me Down

Cajun Song

Hands Are Tied

Found Out About you

Allison Road


Pieces of the Night



Face The Dark

Til I Hear It From You



Fake Plastic Trees (Radiohead cover)

Follow You Down

Photo Gallery



We would like to thank Andrea Faulk from MSOPR for the credentials to review the show.

About The Author Kris Engelhart

I am a small business owner, freelance writer, and part-time piano instructor in Charlotte, NC. My musical career started at the age of five when I was forced into taking piano lessons. I played flute in the school band and added the guitar as a young teen. There is nothing I would rather do than be at a live show. My first concert was Shaun Cassidy at the Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo in 1978. My top five live shows ever are: 1. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band – Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, NY 1984- They played for 3 ½ hours and it was awesome. 2. Carolina Rebellion- Metrolina Expo Grounds, Charlotte, NC, May, 2011 – The first ever Carolina Rebellion featured over 15 bands with Avenged Sevenfold headlining. Non-stop music for over 12 hours. 3. Chevelle- Food Lion Speed Street, Charlotte, NC, May, 2008 - The first time I ever saw Chevelle live and I was hooked! 4. Skillet with Red- Bojangle’s Coliseum, Charlotte, NC, April, 2010 – Skillet is one of my favorite bands and they totally kick it live. 5. 106.5 The End’s Weenie Roast #9- Verizon Wireless Amiptheater, Charlotte, NC , October, 2003- Featured Staind, Shinedown, Three Days Grace.