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Concert Reviews:
Jonas Brothers Give Tweens A Taste Of Rock At Fox Theatre
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

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DETROIT -- The Jonas Brothers are surprisingly -- and perhaps unwittingly -- providing a bit of a public service to the female tweens who comprise the overwhelming majority of their audience.

For a crowd weened on pop culture spectacle from "High School Musical on Ice" and everything else to the recent Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus fan fest, the New Jersey siblings (real brothers, no doobies involved) are presenting a real, live rock 'n' roll show. Ninety minutes. No dancers. No confetti. No magic tricks or pyrotechnics or even video screens. At a Fox Theatre matinee -- the first of two sold-out shows on Saturday (Feb. 23) -- the Jonas trio made it all about the music and the mania of seeing three heartthrobs strut and shake an abundance of stuff, which was more than enough to carry the 19-song show.

Make no mistake; this is still teenybop fare with a layer of froth that just would not do on, say, the Vans Warped Tour. But it's the kind of concert that will prepare the Jonas' fans for that evolution in their tastes -- which now amount to screaming loudly and shrilly enough to be heard by a dog in Wisconsin when a road crew member so much as ruffles the stage curtain before the houselights even go down. In that regard, consider this the rock equivalent of Triple-A ball, but with major league aspirations.

Following a 30-minute warm-up by Rooney -- whose polished popcraft is, in fact, the next logical step for the Jonas crowd -- and a refreshingly quick 10-minute intermission, Nick, Joe and Kevin entered their tri-level stage via hydraulic lifts amidst a blind flash of phone and digital cameras. The trio and its four piece backing band kept the energy level mostly up all night, bopping through "Year 3000," "Just Friends" and "Goodnight & Goodbye" as youngest brother Nick shifted between guitar, drums and occasionally keyboards and middle brother Joe slid around the stage ramps and working his way from one side of the stage to another.

The group rolled through its current barrage of hits, which also includes "Hold On," the swooning ballad "When You Look Me in the Eyes," "That's Just the Way We Roll" and the show-closing "SOS" -- the latter two of which had the Fox balcony bouncing to the beat of a couple thousand dancing fans. The brothers also dug in for album tracks such as "Australia," "Underdog," "Games" and "Hollywood" while putting in a plug for the group's upcoming movie, "Camp Rock."

Most importantly, they offered a sneak peak at their recently completed third album, due out July 8, via new songs such as "Burnin' Up," which began with a "Stomp" style percussion jam that found oldest brother Kevin "playing" the fire extinguisher, "Don't Take My Heart" and "A Little Bit Longer," a hopeful ballad that Nick pronounced a song "for this generation" during the encore.

Whether the Jonas Brothers will actually be up to making generational statements remains to be seen, but for now they're indoctrinating a generation that's been served fare more style than substance into a somewhat gutsier kind of rock band culture.





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