It was Goo Goo Dolls fans who filled the Hooper Eblen Center Tuesday night, but many of them left as new Jeff Leblanc and Vertical Horizon fans. Jeff Leblanc and Vertical Horizon were the opening acts at Tuesday night’s first SOLO concert. Although Vertical Horizon has opened for the Goo Goo Dolls before, it was Leblanc’s first time to open for them. Leblanc has, however, performed on more than 60 college campuses, so he was very comfortable before going on stage.
“I used to go on stage just cold turkey,” Leblanc said. “Then I started realizing that was stupid, so I finally got a voice coach, and I started doing vocal warm ups and stuff like that.
“I’m mostly doing that and push-ups and stuff before I go out,” Leblanc jokingly remarked, “so I look buff.”
Along with being familiar with college audiences, Leblanc and Vertical Horizon are no strangers to Tennessee.
Matt Scannell, Vertical Horizon lead vocalist and guitarist, said “For a while, I was coming to Nashville quite a bit. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in Tennessee, but I still like it a lot.”
Leblanc has done all of his recording in Nashville, making the Long Island native very familiar with Tennessee.
Leblanc, who has a self-proclaimed acoustic-pop sound, and Vertical Horizon, an alternative rock band, both had a unique sound and presence on stage. Leblanc and Scannell both have a passion for writing music, as well as performing.
“The most important thing that I could hope for is that my songs could touch someone in some way,” Scannell said.
Leblanc is proud of his recent song-writing success. The song he is most proud of, “Until We Get It Right,” was co-written with one of his friends. Leblanc claimed that it took them only ten minutes to write the song. “Until We Get It Right” is LeBlanc’s most popular song, according to iTunes.
“It’s the song that does everything for me, so I’m so proud of it,” Leblanc said.
“Until We Get It Right” has been playing on Sirius Radio for about three months now, and Leblanc is hoping that the music video will rapidly gain popularity.
“It boggles my mind the videos people watch over and over,” Leblanc said. “Like Rebecca Black, I’m like ‘this video isn’t even good!’ Before you go look at my music, please look at that. It will make my music sound so much better.”
Vertical Horizon has released two studio albums since their smash-hit “Everything You Want” was released on the album of the same name in 1999. “Everything You Want” quickly became a mega-hit in 2000 when it became the 34th most played song on the radio.
“[“Everything You Want”] is one of the best songs ever written by anybody,” Scannell joked. “Honestly, one of things about that song is that everyone has felt that way when they’ve been in love with somebody that just thought of them as a friend.”
LeBlanc and Scannell both grew up listening to pop music. All they ever wanted to do was play music for people. They even keep up with the mainstream pop genre.
“Lady GaGa has a crazy display,” Scanell said, “but I think fundamentally there are some good songs there that I can latch on to “That ‘Just Dance’ song, I totally have that on my iPod. I love that song.”
Neither of the opening acts lack confidence, and after performing at Tech, neither lack the support of many Tech students who have since become admiring fans.
Assistant Managing Editor Will Housley contributed to this report