REVIEW: Kelly Clarkson at Verizon Theatre on Friday

The seats were filled up to the nosebleeds last night at Kelly Clarkson’s show at Verizon Theatre. Clearly, North Texas loves the Burleson native and very likely, the show was sold out. Or that’s what the frustrated guy outside screamed to the scalper.  The crowd was sick with adoration — and I learned why. Clarkson is not so much a star as much as she is a genuine and personable talent. It’s hard not to appreciate her.

From behind a scrim flashing headlines of KC, she warms the audience with “Dark Side” from her latest album Stronger. It was a moody piece and offered a tepid opening, but she soon came center stage to rock out with “Behind These Hazel Eyes” that amplified the already high energy into the stratosphere. She finished her troika of an opening with a surprisingly early “Since U Been Gone.”

Clarkson was in great vocal shape and her band could rock the shit out her songs taking them from mere pop radio hits to arena-sounding levels. But it was after her first three songs that I saw the magic of Clarkson. She really is the girl next door with her aw shucks sassy and fun demeanor. Every little comment she made about being home resulted in deafening roars and she punctuated her homegrown flavor with a thick “kuntry” accent. Giving a shout to her friends and family in the audience was just a uproarious for the rest of venue. Clarkson was without any doubt, the homecoming queen for the night.

—  Rich Lopez

Shabby Shriek of the Week: Liz Primo

Liz Primo’s debut ‘Exposed.’ Shab or fab?

For this week’s entry of Shabby Shriek, we look to Liz Primo. Last week, I received her debut Exposed, which might have been renamed “derivative.” With her Nicki Minaj look on the cover and Katy Perry whimsical and colorful getups on the inside, I wondered if I had heard this already — you know, without having to open it and listen.

But to be fair, I did open and pop it in on the drive home. With only six songs (and one remix), I figured this would be easy to get through. By track four, I pulled out Primo and put in the infinitely better Femme Fatale by Britney Spears. Now, how often do you hear that?

So here we go:

—  Rich Lopez

Bernie Taupin tonight at Wisby-Smith Fine Art

More than a songwriter, Bernie Taupin paints

To be a star in the rock universe without really ever being a rock star is a feat unto itself. It is a position Bernie Taupin knows well. Famous more for his collabs with Sir Elton John as well as other high-profile musicians, Taupin is easily one of music’s most legendary lyricists: “Candle in the Wind,” “Rocket Man,” “Levon” are giants in the rock ‘n’ roll vernacular.

But Taupin’s creativity doesn’t end with hit after lyrical hit. With Dallas on his itinerary, Taupin comes here as a different kind of artist.

“What I’ve got going keeps me pretty busy,” he says in his slightly gruff British accent. “I’m just cracking 60 and I’m pretty satisfied with things.”

To his stellar track record in contemporary music, Taupin adds the title painter. His abstracts have received critical acclaim on par with his songs, and Dallas’ Wisby Smith Fine Art gallery will feature Beyond Words, a collection of Taupin’s visual art.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Lady Gaga’s ‘Edge of Glory’ with Clarence Clemons, who died Saturday at 69

In sad music news over the weekend, E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons died Saturday, a week after suffering a stroke. He was 69. Although famous for his role as the Big Man in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, his final big moment could be owed to Lady Gaga. In her latest single, “Edge of Glory,” Clarence Clemons had a feature role in both the song and video with a sax solo as the highlight.

This isn’t to diminish his contribution to rock ‘n’ roll over the years, but before he left this world, Clemons had a high note that likely introduced him to a new generation of fans.

—  Rich Lopez

Queer Music News: ‘Hooray, You’re Gay’ video; Sarah Jaffe covers Robyn on Billboard

• Here’s some #musicMonday for your Twitter feeds. If Gaga’s “Born This Way” isn’t enough of a Pride anthem for you, maybe The Juliettes might can fill in the void with their new song, “Hooray, You’re Gay.” The Seattle band of women posted this song as “a gift. To the LGBT community and to all people who value compassion and equality. Who don’t see ‘Gay Marriage’ but only understand ‘MARRIAGE.’ Who don’t see ‘Gay Rights’ but only see ‘RIGHTS.’ Who think ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ should be and should have always been, ‘Why Ask, Who Cares.’ Who understand that there needs to be no defense of marriage, but defense of the disenfranchised. Love is love. Equality is equality. Truth is truth. We made this for you. We made this for everybody. We feel it is the obligation of every person — starting with us — to work toward true equality.”

This song kind of grew on me pretty quick. Four femmes goofing around with rock ‘n’ roll is hard not to love, but they also have a catchy tune. OK, yes, it sounds like it could easily come off a South Park or Avenue Q soundtrack, but I can’t help but applaud their efforts in doing a song they didn’t need to. Now that’s an ally.

• Folk and electronica don’t go quite hand in hand, but local singer Sarah Jaffe, who we’ve profiled before, is a big fan of alt-dance queen Robyn. I even saw her at the concert. Jaffe went and had a chat with Billboard and even performed a bit for Mashup Monday. Here, she covers Robyn’s “Hang With Me.” Jaffe does a beautiful job with an already beautiful song keeping her melancholic touch to it. Although they play the dance version of the song also in the video, Robyn released it as a ballad in Body Talk Pt. 1, the first of her 2010 trilogy.

—  Rich Lopez

TBRU XVI: With TBRU and SXSW going on, we did a little wondering if they were combined

I took advantage of the very little time I had on my hands today to ponder the weekend. While I have credentials waiting for me to catch the Perez Hilton showcase at South By Southwest in Austin, I also feel inclined to stick around here to cover Texas Bear Round Up XVI. What to do? But then I started thinking, what if these two had a baby and merged into some big music bearfest ( preferably right here in town)? What bands would play? Heck, most of the indie bands at South By are grizzled, bearded gents minus the girth, so half the battle is done.

Yes, this is how I think — and subsequently, this is what I came up with.

Grizzly Bear — Yes, it’s obvious, but you can’t go far with stumbling onto a band nowadays without the word “bear” in it. Trust me. But GB seems to be the only one with gay members and lyrics geared toward the gay ear. Loving!

The Growlers — This California band is performing at SXSW but we think a certain app would be more than happy to sponsor this show. Besides, how can you not love some good surf rock, especially if it’s titled “Gay Thoughts.”

More after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Concert Notice: Missed Lady Gaga? Check out tribute band Rad Bromance at House of Blues

Normally, we might see tribute bands for artists in heavy rotation on classic rock or oldies stations, not pop stars only into their second album. The guys of Rad Bromance took it upon themselves to turn Lady Gaga into a rock ‘n’ roll experience. And they come to town in December.

Billed as the No. 1 all-male Gaga tribute band, I kinda figure they are the only all-male Gaga tribute band. Unless you count these guys.

They play at the House of Blues’ Cambridge Room Dec. 27 at 9 p.m. Tickets “are $15,” but according to the LiveNation site, there is a $7.80 tax and fee add-on.

Check out their “Poker Face” below with its pretty brilliant opener. The rest — I’m still deciding on.

—  Rich Lopez

FREE STUFF: 4 pairs of tickets to Semi Precious Weapons’ show this Thursday at the Loft


If you didn’t get enough of garage glam rockers Semi Precious Weapons when they opened for Lady Gaga this summer, here’s your chance to see them up close and personal. Taking a reprieve from the Monster Ball, they’ve hit the road on their own before getting back to their Gaga gig (we think – we keep hearing they are on, they are off, back on again – oy).

But we know this for sure: Semi Precious Weapons will return to town with openers Breedlove to play The Loft this Thursday. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. And we got tickets. Thanks to The Loft, we have four pairs to give away. All you have to do is e-mail us to snag a pair. E-mail notices@dallasvoice.com with their song title “Rock ‘n’ Roll Never Looked So Beautiful” in the subject line. Please include your first and last name and phone number. Winners will be picked at random.

Good luck! And I should see you there.

—  Rich Lopez