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Fastball is more than one-hit music wonder

The members of the fast-rising band Fastball faced a challenge at the State Theater Wednesday night. They had to prove that their group is more than just a hit single.

Their No. 1 song, The Way, seemed like the main reason for being at the show for most of the audience. But the tune, currently topping Billboard's Modern Rock Chart, was hardly their best work of the evening and was only one of the strong rock pieces that Fastball offers on its new album All the Pain Money Can Buy.

One of the album's nuances is more pronounced in concert: the southwestern guitar style of singer-songwriter Miles Zuniga. This flavoring has helped propel the Austin, Texas, trio from its unsophisticated power-pop status to a more prominent place in mainstream music.

Fastball didn't take the stage until 11:15 p.m., following opening sets by Tampa Bay's Spiller, followed by Harry Dash. Fastball played a strong set, with lead vocals shared by Zuniga and bassist Tony Scalzo, who explained his style of songwriting before the concert.

"I try to show the audience how a song comes to me. I try to share with them the same emotion that I had when I wrote it," he said. "But I know it's futile, because no matter what, they'll see it the way they want."

It was, in fact, The Way they wanted. After Fastball played its moody song, inspired by an article about an old couple that mysteriously disappeared on their way to a family reunion, people in the audience also started to disappear.

Those who left missed the wonderful Slow Drag encore, and probably missed the point of Fastball's show: that the other songs in their set were just as insightful, and played just as well if not better than their big hit single.