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

Kelly Clarkson tonight at Verizon Theatre

Your life will suck without her

Kelly Clarkson kinda got a raw deal at last week’s Super Bowl. The Burleson native  killed the crowd singing the national anthem, but everyone keeps talking about halftime. We can make it up to her as she headlines her night in town. Matt Nathanson opens.

DEETS: Verizon Theatre, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie. 7:30 p.m. $25–$50. Ticketmaster.com.

—  Rich Lopez

GIVEAWAY: Pseudo-tweet us to win a pair of tix to Katy Perry & Robyn Thursday night at Verizon

We don’t want to know what you did “Last Friday Night,” but we are wondering if you have plans for Thursday. Thanks to the guys at Universal (Robyn’s peeps actually), we have one pair of tickets to give away to her show. Katy Perry’s California Dreams tour lands at Verizon Theatre on Thursday night, and you could be in on the action.

What do you gotta do? Tell us about your “Teenage Dream” in Twitter fashion. That means 140 characters or less. Who struck your fancy in high school? Was it a classmate? A teacher? Why?

And no worries if you don’t have Twitter. Just email it here and a winner will be picked tomorrow.

The rules:

• Twitter fashion means no more than 140 characters including spaces. Abbeviations r good. In fact, this sentence you’re reading is 140 chars.
• It can’t be NSFW. No x-rated fantasies or pics or stuff like that. Automatic DQ.
• You’ll have to pick up the tickets from the office no later than 5 p.m. on Thursday.
• Deadline is 11 a.m. on Thursday.
• Include your full name in the email, but it won’t count toward your 140.

    Good luck and happy pseudo-tweeting. Of course, you can always tweet us for real anytime here or here.

    —  Rich Lopez

    REVIEW: Kylie Minogue at Verizon on Wed.

    dailyrecord.co.uk

    With a Pantheonic background and severe allusions to the theme of her Aphrodite Tour, Kylie Minogue and crew were clearly high on showmanship. Fantastic imagery in both the set and costumes were well done and recalled a combination of a Las Vegas stage show and an uber-gay Caligula. Despite all its spectacle, something was missing from the entire show. That seemed to be Kylie.

    The boys came out in droves for Kylie at the Verizon Theatre last night. The girls, well, they were there, too. Upon walking into the venue, the stage was magnificent with its descending stairs and digital Greek columns, not to mention a large squadron of dancers. And there she was in all her glory with her Grecian-draped costume and winged ears. Opening with “Aphrodite,” she appeared to the hordes of screaming men in the audience. It was an impressive beginning. I dug the dancing gladiators.

    But the visual onslaught began to be too much. And while she was clearly live on the microphone, she seemed hazy in her delivery. She screamed out to the audience several times and gave nods to Dallas, but they felt more squeezed in because the show is so tightly wound. She ascended on a golden Pegasus, which got hollers, but it didn’t amount to anything and it was after the show began. A big bust (of Aphrodite? Kylie? Kylie as Aphrodite?) appeared later and just sat there. Flying birds? Cool. What should I be doing? I began to question what it meant other than to show an embarrassment of riches. None of which helped her performance.

    —  Rich Lopez

    REVIEW: Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae at Verizon Theatre on Tuesday night

    Janelle Monae surfs the crowd. (bighaber.com)

    My hope is that there were a few “come to Jesus” moments last night at the Haus of Mars & Monae. With way different approaches to pop music, both still melded into each other like fried batter and beer. And Texans love that, ya know. Plus, they delivered strong showings and raw talents.

    I’m sad to have only caught the last half of Monae’s set, but upon my arrival, she was filling the room with her avant-garde music backed by a huge band complete with horns and strings. Monae, in her signature black suit (which I hate) is hard to pin down. She’s erratic and all over the stage like James Brown on crack, but it’s also exciting to watch. Whether she’s laying down on the ground singing or diving into the crowd for major body surfing, it’s hard not to just want to let loose with her. And she has the talents to back it up. Her vocal runs were extraordinary in a piercing, raw manner. She gets scary, gritty and then goes into sonic high notes with ease. Then she turned around to deliver sheer innocence in her cover of The Jackson 5′s “I Want You Back.” She nevertheless delivered strongly on her own hits “Cold War” and “Tightrope” as did her backing band, which generated the richest of sounds seemingly without any electronic help.

    Mars was my big surprise. His music hasn’t resonated with me so much, but live, he worked it with beautiful overkill. Mars was a big flirt and he worked his lady fans over with smiles, hip thrusts and high notes. As with Monae, Mars’ band recalled many a soul concert from decades ago and his background visuals were effective. His songs translated much better as the live show with an overflow of energy and even joy. Where Monae recalled James Brown, Mars exuded Marvin Gaye with touches of Michael Jackson. Clearly, he had the retro thing down right. Although he pushed his big hits, when the tempo chilled around “The Lazy Song,” despite the cheers, the show plateaued and the vibe dissipated into the ordinary, but that didn’t change the fact that Mars ruled over his show and his fans.

    Of the two, Monae edged out Mars in sheer dynamic. Her rawness in delivery was astonishing where Mars’ polish is showing. The crowd was definitely more into Mars, but gave Monae proper props which gave me hope that she’ll gain a bigger crowd of fans through this tour. Mars and Monae delivered big on Tuesday night, but Monae left a lasting impression.

    —  Rich Lopez

    WATCH: CSS at the Granada and Ricky Martin at Verizon Theatre on Friday

    Friday night was big for LGBT music as CSS, pictured, and Ricky Martin hit the town. CSS is primarily made up of LGBT-ers, but that’s not a thing with them. In this 2008 interview, the Brazilian band just wants to rock it and the video below shows they probably did just that.

    Ricky Martin was all kinds of sexy at Verizon delivering an energetic show from the start. Even the ballads were pumped up as the audience sang along with every word. He knocked this show out of the park and his fan base hasn’t seemed to wane a bit ever since he came out last year. He encore’d with “The Best Thing About Me is You,” which is the video below (with singalong). Also, view our slideshow from the concert here.

    —  Rich Lopez

    Station 4 DJ named as opener for Kylie Minogue’s North Texas show at Verizon Theatre

    Caven’s Rick Espaillat sent word out this week that Station 4 DJ Erik Thoresen was named as the opening DJ act for the Kylie Minogue show this May when it comes to Verizon. That’s quite a big deal for a local DJ, but how did it happen exactly? Thoresen emailed me the deets on how he landed the sweet gig. Plus, it probably didn’t hurt he had some heavy players in his corner.

    “I was recommended by several people about three weeks ago. StraightOut Media & Marketing, The Karpel Group, AEG Live, and my boss at Caven Enterprises all emailed me showing interest in having me open the show. I replied with all my information, and I got the call Wednesday at lunch telling me I got the gig,” he said.

    Even though the Station 4 dance floor can get pretty packed, Thoresen, nicknamed “Hefty Lefty,” says that’s nothing compared to what he’ll be spinning for at the show.

    “I’m blown away! It will be the largest crowd I’ve spun for, so I’m a little nervous,” he says.

    Minogue is pretty huge in both the dance and gay music scenes, so not only is Thoresen about to get a bigger stage, he’s doing it with someone crucial to what he does.

    “Kylie has been a icon of club music since I’ve been clubbing, so its a real honor to be chosen for this event. Its gonna be a blast, can’t wait to see all my friends there.”

    —  Rich Lopez

    WATCH: Jonsi at Verizon Theatre last night

    Kirstie Shanley | Jonsi.com

    Hope you caught the Jònsi piece in the paper this week prior to his show at Verizon Theatre last night. I’m sorry to say I didn’t make the show to give you a full-fledged report how the out frontman of Sigur Ros performed, but I did find this video clip from the show last night.

    The YouTube poster split it in two, but the first part (below) of Jònsi’s song “Go Do,” has a better quality than the second and gives you some idea of the show. However, by the looks of this slideshow on the Observer’s site, he clearly had more interesting costumes at other times in the concert.

    Watch part 2 here.

    —  Rich Lopez

    Concert notice: Good Records announces Tegan & Sara in-store performance in September


    Tegan & Sara

    Other than a Facebook udpate, there aren’t much more details at the moment, but Good Records just posted this:

    Just found out that Tegan & Sara will be stopping by for an instore acoustic performance when they are in town with Paramore.

    The duo plays with Paramore Sep. 10 at Verizon Theatre as part of the Honda Civic Tour. Tickets are already on sale. If it’s like Good Records’ other in-store shows, T & S will likely play the day of, but it could be an early gig. The show at Verizon is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. It’s a Friday, so you might have to beg the boss to let you start your weekend a little early. And if it’s packed anything like their show at the Palladium earlier this year, then plan on getting there early. But we’re speculating here. We’ll keep you posted when Good Records releases more deets.

    —  Rich Lopez

    Concert notice: Margaret Cho comes to Verizon on 9/11

    If we’re not getting Scissor Sisters, North Texas will at least be getting gay fave and funny lady Margaret Cho. Her tour stops at the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie Saturday, Sept. 11.

    She drops her newest album Cho Dependent on Aug. 24 and hits the road two days later. That’s some quick turnaround. This doesn’t sound like you’re typical comedy album. According to this, Cho wanted to create a comedy music album. And it doesn’t sound like Weird Al is anywhere close.

    Joining Cho on the heartfelt and hilarious 13-track album that took almost one year to make are musical artists and lesbian favorites Fiona Apple, Patty Griffin, Ani DiFranco, Andrew Bird, Ben Lee, Tegan and Sara and other notable musicians. In addition to the tracks on the album itself, there is actually a 14th hidden track with Rachael Yamagata titled, “Lesbian Escalation.”

    Can’t miss that one. Tickets are $39–$55 and can be purchased here.

    —  Rich Lopez