Written by Todd Spoth
Apr 20, 2008 at 08:00 PM
ImageThis was my first Verizon event of the year not soon after being forced into the $6 underground parking did I really appreciate my typical VIP parking space at Merdian and other local venues. So is downtown I guess.

I got to the venue about 2/3 into Phantom Planet’s set and not only was the venue nearing capacity, but the partitioned parent section was already full up with middle-aged units playing coat rack to their pubescent offspring. I can’t poke at them too much, as I applaud their willingness to chaperone.

The post-Schwartzman era of Phantom Planet has fallen under the radar, but their straight-forward live sound is refreshing. They did close the set with their most popular single, “California”. Although the live version featured some musicianship and improv not heard on certain popular television dramas, it took all I had not to scream, “previously on the O.C.” after the song had ended.

The Hush Sound has been a band I have always seemed to miss at Verizon, but this time I was present and accountable for their whole set and boy was I glad I was. The band features a female pianist that also shares vocals with another guitarist who posts up at center stage. I love nothing more than a band with more than one vocal talent and can appropriately tie in harmony, but you cross the line when I cannot tell who your lead vocal is. Very few bands can pull off the multiple lead vocal acts. (See Alkaline Trio)

ImageSome of The Hush Sounds songs featured only the male center vocal, others shared vocals, and some, the best in my opinion, featured the female lead prominently. There were songs that came off as just too poppy in my opinion, but there is another side to this band. I heard several minor chord-esque jams with beautiful female vocals and catchy piano that made me miss bands like The Anniversary and Koufax. Weed through the over-produced pop and find the gems from this group.

It seems like just yesterday we were seeing Motion City Soundtrack in Austin with about 10 other people. They have come a long way and definitely get the award for being the most consistent. They attack the stage with their usual fervor, and played plenty of old jams as they usually do. As a veteran shooter of Motion City, I always set myself up in front of Jesse, their keyboardist; because I always know he is going to help make my photos a bit more interesting.

Panic at the Disco has not seen much play or attention from me, save the occasional play via Singstar on my PS2. Their gimmicky, bubble gum pop sound and their more than ridiculous look did not allow me to look or listen twice…until now. Apparently they’ve grown out of their former “look” and fallen in line with the rest of current indie culture and dawned tight pants, vests, and earth-tones.

Their stage set up was no doubt the most elaborate, with vine and other faux-foliage wrapped around mic-stands, but the production is far-less than what it was a year or two ago. Their sound is a bit more polished and toned down as well. Congrats guys! You no longer look like circus characters, now make some proper music.

There were 4 bands on the bill. The tickets were $40 each. I don’t even know what to say there. What happened to 8 bands for 7 bux?

-Todd Spoth [www.toddspoth.com]