KDGE Christmas Show
By Chuck Cox
My plan for Thursday night was to head up north to Durant, Okla., to see a couple of country and western legends. Mother Nature had other ideas.
With the threat of icy weather in the forecast for late Thursday night, I decided driving 100 miles north to see Loretta Lynn and Charley Pride at Choctaw Casino wasn’t worth the risk — especially since I had seen both play live before. Luckily, there was a pretty solid back-up plan there for the taking.
I was able to grab a last-minute ticket to KDGE‘s “How the Edge Stole Christmas” at Verizon Theatre. And the weather didn’t deter the near-capacity crowd from showing up to see a powerful, eclectic bill that included Stone Temple Pilots, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Blue October, Panic! At the Disco, Capital Cities and New Politics. It was the first time I had seen the upper level of Verizon open in a while.
The show was well-organized and on time the whole night, which is no small task. And even though STP, which is now fronted by Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington, closed the show with a rocking hour-long set packed with hits, it was clearly lead singer Jared Leto and Thirty Seconds to Mars that a good chunk of the younger portion of the crowd was there to see. In fact, a pretty good number of fans bailed after the latter’s set, which was also an hour, to beat the sleet.
And that’s a shame considering STP, the most veteran of bands on the bill, sounded really great. Bennington doesn’t have the same kind of growl as original lead singer Scott Weiland, but his voice sounded very natural on crowd favorites like “Interstate Love Song,” “Plush,” “Dead and Bloated” and “Sex Type Thing.” The band also did some songs from its new material with Bennington.
Thirty Seconds to Mars, which I’m honestly not all that familiar with, had a little bit of everything in its set. Leto, fresh off a spectacular acting performance in Dallas Buyers Club, played very well to the adoring crowd. He was alone on stage for a short acoustic set, which included the awesome “The Kill.” He also went out into the crowd, and there were giant balloons and confetti before Thirty Seconds to Mars relinquished the stage.
Armed with its new album Sway, Texans Blue October had the strongest set of the night. Even though the band only had 40 minutes, it made the most of it with a powerful, moody set. It was the third time I had seen Blue October, although I have yet to see the band headline a show. I’m going to amend that the next time it rolls around. Every time I see Blue October, I come away really impressed. This band really puts out some incredibly solid music, and the new stuff sounded awesome.
Panic! At the Disco ultimately ended up putting on a really good show, but I thought it got off to a bit of a slow start. I also felt like lead singer Brendon Urie was a little too screamy at times. I did enjoy the two mini-covers of Journey’s “Any Way You Want It” and AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” near the end of the set.
With just 25 minutes on stage, both Capital Cities and New Politics put on probably the two most enjoyable shows of the night. Both bands were amazingly fun. Capital Cities’ music is very infectious with a serious old-school vibe. The Los Angeles duo also did a sweet cover of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” that included a tag of Weezer’s “Undone (The Sweater Song)” before playing its signature hit, “Safe and Sound.”
New Politics, a trio from Denmark, was also incredibly energetic. Lead singer David Boyd literally stood on top of the crowd during “Fall Into These Arms” and showed off his incredible break-dancing skills. I was glad I was among the fans on hand to see the band’s show-opening set, which started at 5 p.m. And I defy you not to love the band’s hit “Harlem.”
Even though I had to call a concert audible, it turned out to be a great night. As long as the show isn’t postponed, I’m heading to Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar tonight at the AAC. Check back for my thoughts. And stay safe this weekend.