I managed to catch the 90s rock band Better Than Ezra at Raleigh's Downtown Live this past weekend. Prior to the event, they had remained one of my favorite bands I had yet to see live. Touring in support of their seventh album Paper Empire, the band opened up with "Turn Off The Bright Lights," before kicking into "Good." Lead singer Kevin Griffin was jovial and light-hearted and never once took himself too seriously. Bassist Tom Drummond also shared the spotlight as he relentlessly thanked the crowd for standing out in the rain to enjoy their set. New drummer Michael Jerome was a beast behind the kit and really adds a new dimension to the band. Classic songs like "Desperately Wanting" and "R3wind" were terrific and the Rolling Stones-send up "Juicy," was an absolute crowd-pleaser. "Misunderstood" and "Extra Ordinary," both off their 2002 effort Closer were two of the more memorable ones from the night and the two newest songs, "Just One Day," and "All In," both revealed a penchant for pop prettiness. Though "At the Stars," was never played, "A Lifetime," and new single "Absolutely Still," were and both posssessed a cutting clarity and panache that was a treat to watch. The trio came on for an encore and played two more from Paper Empire before finishing off with the driving rocker "In the Blood," which featured parts of Blur's "Song 2." All in all the band displayed a firm affinity for pleasing the crowd while also maintaining the components of strong musicianship. Griffin, a much sought-after songwriter has already attached his names to many Billboard hits, has a warm, comedic charisma that is undeniable. Now 20 years into leading his trio, there seem to be little reason to think they're slowing down. Few if any know how to pen a pop hit like him. And Saturday night's show at Moore Square in Raleigh proved exactly that. The setlist can be found here.