Jonas Brothers & Karmin at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 8/7/2013
Pop music is synonymous with screaming girls, a young audience, and music that will make you want to dance no matter how hard you fight it.
Catching the Jonas Brothers in concert checks off all three things on that list, but there's still something about the group that feels less like pop music and more like a rock band with a penchant for writing catchy songs.
That, or maybe the hiatus that the group took for the last three years helped shape a new direction. At least that's the way it felt while watching their opening acts.
The evening began when Karmin --singer/rapper Amy Heidemann and keyboardist/singer Nick Noonan -- took the stage, boasting their genre of "swag-pop" to an audience that was more than willing to listen. On tour, the group utilizes the help of a backing band to help fill out a sound that is often as loud and in-your-face as the lyrics they write, which will be featured on their upcoming debut full-length, Pulses.
What was most enjoyable was to see Heidemann bring her A game to the same stage that she shared with all men (the only exception being a backing singer for Jonas Brothers). But not only did it show that she could hold her own as the only female musician on a tour full of men, it also gave the audience (mainly younger girls) a chance to see a woman marching to the beat of her own drum.
Of course, it doesn't hurt that Heidemann has a set of pipes that can rival Warped Tour-era Katy Perry, with the energy of Paramore's Haley Williams and looks that could kill. And of course, she can rap her ass off.
What was interesting about Karmin, however, is that at times, their sound teetered on the edge of rock -- the kind of rock that could make or break a kid's love for the genre. Somehow, the group found a place in the center of writing pop hits, hip-hop beats and rock music that was tolerable enough for parents, yet still made kids want to dance and have a good time.
But Karmin wasn't the only artist brought on tour to get the fans dancing. In between sets, Mike Tompkins, an a capella DJ, covered hits from Daft Punk's "Harder Better Faster Stronger" to Macklemore's "Can't Hold Us."
And though he was entertaining both musically and visually, it would have been interesting to hear some original material from Tompkins, who made all of his beats live using only his mouth, before singing over the loops. And to be honest, he wasn't half-bad.