JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

December 3, 2014
Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
Grand Prairie, TX USA
Review by Brooke Adams
Photos by Brooke Adams

How the EDGE Stole Christmas

A Rock Show Even The Grinch Would Love

Fans lined up at seven in the morning to claim their spot in line for Wednesday's How the Edge Stole Christmas at Verizon Theatre. With headlining acts Weezer and Rise Against, the audience was an interesting mix of older alt rock and punk fans, with younger faces there to see Walk the Moon, Young the Giant, Bleachers, Bad Suns, and Big Data.

Bad Suns opened the show with a heady mix of fog and strobe lights to get the half empty theater really paying attention; and it worked. Though many had probably never heard of the band, who will be returning to Dallas next year for their headline tour, they had even older audience members tapping their feet and clapping along. The band, led by lead singer Christo Bowman, was full of energy and danced their way through the short twenty-five minute set time.

Next up was Big Data, who used a computerized voiceover to introduce themselves and encourage audience members to post on their social media-a very clever marketing tool. The group then took the stage and blew everyone away with how pure their voices sounded, even over the electronic music behind them. Their set had the audience actually out of their seats and dancing right along with them, as they themselves were clearly having a good time on stage.

Walk the Moon played next, performing an all-acoustic set that consisted of a pizza box and suitcase drum kit. The band of four boys were a last minute addition to the evening, explaining the choice for an acoustic show, but they were clearly a fan favorite of the night-the audience was almost two-thirds full and it was just after six. The lighting designer was clearly either showing off or practicing during their set because the stage was brighter and more colorful than any show I've witnessed. Overall their performance was full of vitality and sounds just as you'd expect if you've heard their acoustic Spotify sessions.

Bleachers took the stage next with two keyboards covered in mosaic mirrors, two drum kits, and platforms that created three levels on stage, no production elements were lost by the shorter-than-normal set times. The band's frontman, Jack Antonoff (whose name you probably recognize from his other band, fun.), brings all the performance of a modern day rock show, but the band's music has the added twist of sounding like a straight-from-the-eighties dance tune. With a mid-set surprise saxophone performance and the removal of a few articles of clothing, the crowd was left in a state of music bliss.

Young the Giant had big shoes to fill after such an incredible performance, but they came completely prepared. This band has to be one of the most passionate bands you will see touring right now; watching lead singer Sameer Gadhia perform is like watching a predator stalk its prey, each new song like a feast. At one point he even broke his retro microphone's stand and control box, leaving a stage tech to frantically try to put it back together and avoid being knocked out by Sameer's still uncontrollable dance moves-if they can be called that. Their stage was set heavy with color and every little light, adding to the intensity of the show, but the crowd was all for it. They yelled the lyrics to every song and followed all the motions of the band like a snake entranced.

Rise Against was next on stage and their set up was a bit odd: simply a drum kit in the back and a completely open stage except for three microphones at the front. However, this made sense once the band entered, running (literally) all over the open space of the stage, switching which microphones they used, and jumping off of every platform possible. The energy they had was unbelievable and transferred directly to the audience, who formed a twenty foot wide circle pit and had crowd surfers being thrown five feet above the crowd and practically doing flips. By the end of the set, the audience was demanding an encore from the passionate punk rockers, but of course, it was time for the final band.

We all probably have that one song that comes to mind when we think of Weezer, and whatever that song may be for you, they played it Wednesday night. Throwing out their most popular songs pretty early on in the set, the crowd was totally in gear to hear all of the lesser known favorites, and ending with Buddy Holly. The band has something very "cool" about them on stage: they stand and calmly play their music and sing to the crowd and the crowd sings back, it has a bit of a James Bond feel to it. There was even a surprise appearance from Sarah Jaffe, a local artist out of Denton, who came on to sing with the band for a song. Weezer commanded the stage and had the audience collectively up on their feet, yelling every word, and moving along with every song.