Playing the Fillmore on Thursday as a warm-up for what promises to be an endless arena slog behind the new release, "Leave This Town," Daughtry expertly glowered and groaned through a 75-minute set of original material that greatly amplified the angst he brought to the TV competition via pneumatic covers of Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" and Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line."
With his bald dome glistening with sweat, brow furrowed and face constantly screwed up as if in pain, even the North Carolina native's small-talk felt daunting. "We have a new album out," he said, pacing purposefully across the stage. "I assume you have it."
Daughtry's own songs represent the butt-end of grunge, taking their primary inspiration from third-generation Alice in Chains copyists such as Creed and Puddle of Mudd. Chugging along on minor-key riffs and crushing rhythms, tunes from the new album like "No Surprise" and "Supernatural" sounded as if they could have been delivered here cryogenically frozen since 1994.
"Leave This Town" feels more expensive than its predecessor, but creatively it's also more anemic. As much hard-rock bluster Daughtry and his band threw behind the new material on Thursday, it was the familiar singles - MOR radio staples like "It's Not Over" and "Feels Like Tonight" - that broke through the apocalyptic rumble of power ballads and metal blitzes.
Even his most loyal fans seemed to agree. After the band delivered its biggest hit, "Home," during the encore, the lobby filled up with people who were ready to leave - the only catch was they had to wait for Daughtry to deliver his last eardrum-bending song before they could collect their souvenir posters.
Now that's something to get irate over.