Pop Rocks

(…as in, “Yes he does… well, in a safe, suburban kind of way.”)
I took the kids to see Ashlee Simpson last night at the Rosemont Theatre. And let’s get these things out of the way right off the bat:
(a) No, I don’t think she lip-synched;
(b) Yes, I was one of the very few adults there;
(c) Yes, I possessed one of about 40 Y chromosones in the entire place, including Security, Fire, and Police personnel.
All that said, I have to say that for a pop concert it was actually very good. Ms. Simpson clearly knows her audience and plays perfectly to them. She manages to pull off the “Anti-Britney” act much better than Avril Lavigne– you actually think of Ashlee as a “regular” girl who has a voice that’s less than perfect and stumbles (literally) around the stage while she sings. I imagine the girls in the audience relate to her much more than Ms. Spears or Ashlee’s older sister, Jessica, which in my opinion is a good thing: we’ve had far too much of the sleazy and the overly depressing.
Musically, it sounded like they took a bunch of metal bands of the 80s and grunge bands of the 90s and stuck them in a blender and filtered them through a Disney Machine. I guess I’d call it “Mall Rock”– loud and energetic but underneath it all very, uhhh, safe.
(Side note before we go any further: Will the parents of this current generation please make sure their kids actually listen to the Ramones before you let them leave the house in a Ramones shirt?? Thank you.)
To those people who are trying to stop Ashlee Simpson: give it up. Every generation has pop heroes that people hate. When I was a kid, it was Donny Osmond. They’re not going away, folks– if you really want people like this to disappear, ignore them.
The music critic in The Daily Herald ripped Ms. Simpson and her show apart, which is kind of like going to McDonald’s and complaining that everything was fried. What did this dude expect? The White Stripes?
There were two opening acts in the show. First was a Boston-based “new school power pop” band called The Click Five, who were pretty good. They appeared in dark suits, ties, and moptop hair and pulled off some pop-rock stylings that reminded me of The Raspberries, Badfinger, and, um.. another British band that doesn’t come immediately to mind. Lisa said it was good to see a boy band who actually plays their own instruments.. good point. (Note to The Click: the keyboard player needs to tone down the Morrissey imitations.)
The other opening band was another group of young guys called Pepper’s Ghost. These kids were pretty good, too, playing that “Safe Metal” stuff.
As we left, there were loads of parents waiting for their kids outside. I muttered as I passed, and I was reminded of these words from Henry V:

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhood’s cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Yeah, I got guts. The kids were worth it.