The 9:30 club might have been a high school talent show Tuesday night, but it wasn't. The performers were Canadian brother act the Moffatts, teens purported to pack a passel of pure pop hooks and fresh-faced charm, but they didn't.
They brought okay songs and spent their 90-minute set practicing for what they hope will be teen mania via the Hanson route: hooky pop-rock, rosy cheeks and massive merchandising. The guys--15-year-old triplets Bob, Clint and Dave and 16-year-old front man Scott--don't have the crowds (they managed four or five rows of mildly hysterical preteen females), but they still worked arena-rock moves: dramatic band intros, drum solo, halving the crowd to see who could scream louder.
To their credit, they really were better than high school talent show bands, which probably couldn't play something as catchy as "Until You Loved Me" but might summon a better version of Blur's "Song 2." As they played songs from their new album, "Chapter I: A New Beginning" (following two country-themed forays), including requisite ballads ("Miss You Like Crazy") and tempo shifters ("If Life Is So Short"), some ramshackle charm showed through.
With major-label marketing behind them and enough girls screaming, it might be hard to hear what they're playing anyway. Next thing you know, you're driving your preteen to see these "total hotties" at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium.