Concert Reviews

Panic at the Disco, Dashboard Confessional Co-Headline Rock Band Live Tour in New Jersey

The Rock Band Live tour hit New Jersey Sunday with a versatile line-up and even more diverse crowd. From the tween girls screaming, “I love you Brendon!” at Panic at the Disco’s frontman Brendon Urie to the inebriated 21+ group jumping and dancing along during Dashboard Confessional’s set, the night offered something for everyone.

Panic at the Disco, the obvious crowd favorites, closed the night at the Prudential Center in Newark with an hour-long set energizing all in the audience. Taking the stage with their signature song, “We’re So Starving,” Urie crooned to the audience, “Oh, how it’s been so long/We’re so sorry we’ve been gone/We were busy writing songs for you.” The audience accepted his apology wholeheartedly — throwing their hands in the air and singing along word for word.

Panic’s 13-song set consisted of radio hits, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” “Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off,” and “Nine In the Afternoon.” Whether Urie was running from one side of the stage to the other singing to the crowd or alternating between playing guitar, piano and drums he kept the audience on their feet with the help of his bandmates. Closing the show with Little Richard’s “You Make Me Wanna Shout,” Panic at the Disco had the crowd feeding off their performance and energy until well after the lights came back on, signaling that the long-awaited Jersey stop was officially over.

Co-headliner Dashboard Confessional took the stage before Panic, frontman Chris Carrabba wooing the crowd with his onstage banter and heartfelt lyrics. Playing hits like “Vindicated,” “Thick as Thieves,” and “Screaming Infidelities,” which he prefaced with a question. “Should we do a love song? Like, an ‘I hate my ex’ kind of song?” to which screams erupted throughout the venue. “Mike hates her too. She’s both our exes.” Then Carrabba began the song alone on piano before the rest of the band joined in.

Possible favorites of Dashboard’s set seemed to be a tie between infamous hit, “Hands Down” and a surprising cover of Pink’s current radio hit, “So What.” Previous performers the Cab re-entered the stage and helped out on their rendition of Pink’s song. The energy in the room skyrocketed and it’s quite impressive the way Carrabba hit the high notes.

What differentiates the Rock Band Live tour from your typical concert is that in between each performer’s set change the crowd gets involved playing “Rock Band” instead of just sitting or standing awaiting the next band to take the stage. Between the Plain White T’s and Dashboard’s set Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” and Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Give It Away” were played, amping the audience for the next band taking the stage.

Plain White T’s played an eight-song set of their fan favorites including their Grammy-nominated hit “Hey There Delilah” as well as “Our Time Now” and newest singles “Natural Disaster” and “1, 2, 3, 4” off of their latest release, Big Bad World. Their set was the most laid-back of the night and they had the audience waving their cell phones and lighters in the air for “1, 2, 3, 4.” As their set closed, frontman Tom Higgenson jumped into the crowd hugging fans and shaking hands throughout the venue while the rest of the band members exited the stage. Not your typical gesture, fans positioned in the front of the arena got a very personal concert experience and walked away from a night they will most likely never forget.

Las Vegas-based band The Cab and New York natives Lights Resolve began the night with a half-hour set each. Definitely a lively set from both bands, whether jumping around the stage and having the crowd bounce to their song — aptly titled “Bounce” (in the Cab’s case) or wowing the audience with their signature “wuh-uh-uh-oh-uh-oh-oh” and catc
hy choruses (Lights Resolve) both bands show much promise. And, who knows, in a few years they might be co-headlining the tour together.

Check out more of Wendy Hu’s amazing photos from Sunday night here.

Concert Reviews

Lights Resolve Win Opening Slot On Rock Band Live Tour

Last week a few friends told me about MTV’s Battle of the Bands contest where five New York-based bands compete at Webster Hall, the winner opening up for the Rock Band Live Tour featuring Panic at the Disco, Dashboard Confessional, Plain White T’s and the Cab, when it hits the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey in November. I thought it’d be a cool contest to check out and when I realized Lights Resolve were playing I couldn’t be happier!

I originally met the LR guys back when they were on the Get A Life Tour with The Used, Straylight Run, Army of Me and Street Drum Corps. Since then, I’ve caught and covered a couple of their shows for my blog as well as MTV’s concert blog and interviewed all three LR members. The guys are the nicest, most down to earth people you’ll ever meet and deserve all the success that has come to them.

The show started at 8 p.m. as MTV’s Kim Stolz announced the guest judges — Ryan Ross of Panic at the Disco, Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional and rock writer James Montgomery from MTV News. Brendon Urie of Panic showed up late but shared his comments with each band. Each of the five bands took the stage for approximately 15 minutes, performing three songs. First up was Testing for Echo a five-piece Long Island-based band. A bit slow starting off, by their third song their energy emerged as the guitarists could be seen jumping around the stage.

The Canon Logic was up next and had strong stage presence. Quite possibly the most versatile act of the night, each song played sounded completely different than the previous. Whether it was the band unpredictably slowing down a song only to pick it right back up or their frontman suddenly dropping from his regular singing range to a deep tenor, The Canon Logic’s confidence exuded throughout their set.

Third band of the night was Kelsey and the Chaos. A bit reminiscent to Paramore, but much edgier, the musical accompaniment was strong, but overpowered Kelsey’s vocals. Kelsey and the Chaos definitely had the most energy of the night up to that point, but I couldn’t hear a word sung during the set.

Status Green had, no doubt, a fun set. When introduced, Stolz said their sound is inspired by music from the 1960s and when listening closely to their MySpace, you can hear this. Their ability to switch up their set between slower ballads to more upbeat, rockin’ songs is what makes them a great band. Despite not coming out the winner of the night, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear more from Status Green in the future as they had most in the crowd clapping along throughout their set.

Okay, you already know I am somewhat biased attending the show and rooting for Lights Resolve, so I’m just going to tell you this flat out before writing up my review of their performance. I know when studying journalism they teach us “objectivity,” but having seen the progression of Lights Resolve throughout many of their performances this year, I’ve become a fan and feel like a proud parent seeing how much their child has grown over the past few months. I know, silly. But Lights Resolve rocked Webster Hall and you don’t have to listen to my praise of them, their fans were singing along word for word and even those who didn’t come to see them were waving their hands in the air and clapping along.

Lights Resolve started off their set with “The Hills and Michael Jackson” — a catchy number that has their countless “whoa-ho’s” stuck in your head long after the song is over. “Lost and Jaded” was next up, a darker song but demonstrating that they can switch up the set and still stay interesting. For a three-piece band, Lights Resolve can hold their own. Poppy tune, “Another Five Days” ended the show and performances of the night to a venue of screams and applause.

After a long deliberation, all five bands and judges entered the stage to which Lights Resolve was declared the winner and opening act of the November 2 tour date. Chris Carrabba said they made his night while Ryan Ross said they “rocked harder than any other band” to which James Montgomery exclaimed, “Holy shit that was good, everything I like about rock.”

You can catch Lights Resolve opening up the Rock Band Live Tour November 2, in Newark, New Jersey, but if you can’t make that show be sure to check out their MySpace for more dates.

Special thanks to for the awesome pictures of Monday night’s show!