There's something to be said for straight-ahead, unpretentious, wholly exhilarating rock and roll without the woes or hand-wringing that seems to underscore the petulance afflicting so much of today's music. The Format provides the antithesis to that approach, as evidenced by its latest outing, the ironically dubbed Dog Problems. An album that's chock full of vibrant melodies and gushing choruses, its over-the-top exuberance could even cause Lennon and McCartney, Brian Wilson, or Jeff Lynne to blush with envy. The Arizona band's two mainstays, Sam Means and Nate Ruess, make no secret of their admiration for those musical forebears, and it's borne out in their music, a sound that creates the potential for a rousing live performance. The Format has yet to pierce the wider arena of public awareness, but its songs are so accessible that greater recognition seems all but inevitable. Consider this rare South Florida visit the equivalent of a special sneak peek. Lee Zimmerman
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