Third Eye Blind Riles Cleveland Crowd

Third Eye Blind seized an opportunity to play politics at a charity gig in Cleveland after the second day of the Republican National Convention.

The band was headlining a show for the charity Musicians on Call, which brings music to hospital bedsides, and used the stage to criticize Republican’s failure to “incorporate LGBT Americans fully … into the American fabric” before its song “Jumper,” written about a homosexual friend who committed suicide.  

Frontman Stephan Jenkins, who made the comments about the Republican platform, at one point reportedly asked the audience to raise their hands if they believed in science. Video from the event shows a mix of booing and cheering during the performance and afterwards many took to Twitter to praise or criticize the band.

The group did not perform hits like “Semi-Charmed Life” or “How’s It Going To Be,” opting instead to play a fair amount of music from its 2015 album Dopamine. Some grumbled this was more trolling, but the set did include the popular “Never Let You Go” and material from other albums, so this could be a classic case of a popular ‘90s band playing its new stuff.

Third Eye Blind has been politically active over the years, although most casual listeners might not know it. The band released the free single “If There Ever Was A Time” to support the occupy movement in 2011. It also dropped “Non-Dairy Creamer,” which includes a number of lines about homosexual Republicans, on its 2008 EP Red Star. In 2012 Jenkins even wrote a piece on the Huffington Post about why his band declined to play at the Republican National Convention.

With such a track record, the group responded to a question on Twitter regarding whether the group was worried it would hurt Musicians on Call by saying the charity was “well aware of who we are and our take on things.”

While the RNC has featured a performance by G.E. Smith, a number of charity events have been held in Cleveland to coincide with the gathering. Lynyrd Skynyrd played a gathering to honor vets downtown Cleveland July 17, Kid Rock is set to perform in Cleveland tomorrow and Lee Brice is at  tonight.