Jingle Bell Bash: a Top 40 singalong
Special to The Seattle Times
The very young and not-so-old descended on the Tacoma Dome Sunday to hear a slew of artists perform at KISS-FM's (106.1) seventh annual Jingle Bell Bash. Kenmore's Lorenn Taylor, 9, was all smiles and sporting a Maroon 5 T-shirt — one of the bands on the lineup.
Her mother, Paige, 38, sang along with the little ones to nearly all the songs throughout the course of the night. But she was less than pleased when one of the Good Charlotte twins, Benji, referred to the crowd with a PG-13 expletive, told the young females that he was undressing them with his eyes and encouraged the crowd to yell, "Oh, yeah, sex!" "And we pay money to bring our kids to this?" she asked.
Apart from this out-of-place behavior, the night's lineup provided the mostly female crowd with a solid mix of musical genres, ranging from young singer-songwriter Ryan Cabrera to the Christian rock band Switchfoot and the punkish Canadian group known as Simple Plan.
Hilary Duff was among the weakest performers of the night, though she admittedly is cuter than a button. Trying to shake the squeaky clean Disney image, Duff kicked things off with the self-affirming "Girl Can Rock," in which she informed everyone that she was living proof that, well, "girls can rock." Duff's voice sounded hoarse when she spoke between tunes.
Surprise guest Gwen Stefani took the stage just before 10 p.m. after a solid but too short (four songs) acoustic set from Maroon 5, including "This Love" and the jazzy "Sunday Morning." Stefani — who had a small marching band as an intro — did her best pin-up girl imitation, prancing across the stage in black and white striped short shorts and what looked like 10-inch stilettos as she sang "Holla Back Girl" and "What You Waiting For?"
Headliner and crowd favorite Avril Lavigne crooned a whopping 10 songs to end the night, opening with "My Happy Ending." She strolled on stage playing the guitar in a little black T-shirt featuring country singer Pam Tillis. Sporting combat boots and army-esque black jeans with zippered pockets, the strong-voiced Canadian pop star — who truly channels Alanis Morissette — seemed somewhat glam with her straight, long blond hair extending more than halfway down her back.
Her vocals and the catchy tunes she croons are clearly her strong point — highlighted on ballads such as "I'm With You" and "Together." And on a night when it seemed her guitar and piano playing were merely added props, she played solo on "Nobody's Home" before being joined by her band mates, proving that perhaps she truly is the anti-Britney of the young pop set.
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