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Maroon numbers just don't add up

Maroon 5 or the Adam Levine and Band experience? Hard to tell. If Levine – a well-proportioned, sun-kissed Californian crooner – was, indeed, out on his own, it would at least help explain the reason behind the boys' incompatibility. Or not. Whatever the case, there's something about the American five-piece that doesn't add up.

A household name back home, Levine (a coach on the US version of The Voice) is still desperately trying to convince the world that he's a proper rock star. Dude owes more to Barry Gibb than Guns N' Roses, so that's out. Likewise, guitarist James Valentine can shred it up as much as he wants, but raucous solos don't belong on soft rock anthems. And bassist Mickey Madden looks dressed for the gym.

When Maroon 5 started out, they were a harmless and somewhat genial force in radio-prepared, soul-speckled pop. Now, they make music for smartphones. We don't expect them to stand still. On an Irish stage, Levine seems incapable of doing so (except whenever his shoe laces become untied). But what we do expect is some sort of consistency.

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Basically, Maroon 5 have no idea what kind of band they want to be. A couple of disco balls and a cover of Daft Punk's Get Lucky says they're eager for us to take their funk seriously. They've got their own tasty riffs worked out, too (Moves Like Jagger, Wake Up Call). So, what's with the easy-listening blandness of Sunday Morning and the absurd pop rap of Stereo Hearts? All over the shop, lads.

Skill isn't an issue – everyone here can play. Except for the frontman, that is. Like I said, it's all about Adam, but he's a limited vocalist who almost always sounds like he's got a bubble stuck in his throat (seriously, man, burst it).

Colourful lasers and giant screens help create a spectacle, but tonight, Maroon 5 are mostly on autopilot. Bizarrely, the more memorable tunes in their cannon (This Love, for example) feel rushed and uncared for. They're capable of greatness (an extended take on soft-rock oldie She Will Be Loved sees Levine orchestrate a remarkable sing-song with fans), so why not slow down and add more personality?

As for the Union flag spread across the big screens for the Jagger number, well, dedicated followers will know it's a recurring image in the promo video. But still...

HHIII


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