The Rentals performing on October 29, 2006 in New Orleans, LA.Photo: Erika Goldring / Retna
Crash Test Dummies. Lou Bega. Chumbawamba. You remember them, right? Sort of? They regaled us with mumbling, mambos, and tales of getting knocked down (and, subsequently, back up again) … ten years ago. But there is something charming about one-hit wonders that makes us want to root for them, like we do for all underdogs. The Rentals’s 1995 hit “Friends of P” may have aged better than, say, “Tubthumping,” but last night at the Nokia Theatre, fans made it apparent that — even though they’ve had a decade to explore it — they’re still largely unfamiliar with the rest of the band’s catalog.
In an hour-long set, the Rentals plowed through most of their 1995 debut Return of the Rentals and 1999’s Seven More Minutes, as well as a few new songs. They’re still poppy in a nineties Weezer-y way, they still bounce around onstage, and Matt Sharp still harmonizes well with his female cohorts. But the Über-lame crowd just stood there, nonplussed, until the band dusted off its only hit. Only then did the audience get its collective hop on. Three blissful minutes later, they headed for the door. P’s friends are, apparently, fair-weather. —Michael D. Ayers