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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Disney's Jonas Brothers delight Times Forum crowd
By Sean Daly, Times Pop Music Critic
Published March 9, 2008
TAMPA -- The Jonas Brothers have totally rockin' hair. This is not a style point to be taken lightly. In fact, if you're a true fan of the '70s-shaggy teen-poppers, you're obligated to have an opinion about how this Jersey trio should be shorn. Yeah, I read Tiger Beat. So?
Of course, wayward hair is the most rebellious thing about the Disney-run JoBros, who turned an opening gig for Mouse House chum Miley "Hannah Montana" Cyrus into a phenom-making headlining tour. On Saturday, 10,964 super-screamers stuffed the St. Pete Times Forum to adore the mop-topped dreamboats.
Bridging the gap between tween innocence and high-school heartache, the brothers -- Nick, 15; Joe, 18; Kevin 20 -- kept the material clean and the bombastic power-pop coming in short, guitar-charged bursts. If this was your first concert, you'll have nothing to be ashamed of 10 years from now.
From the candy-coated opening of Year 3000, these sons of a minister spent their 90-minute show sprinting, harmonizing, sliding and winking all over the strobing two-tiered stage, sending young girls (and a few boys) and young-at-heart moms (and a few dads) into ear-bursting hysterics.
Oh, the adoration for these fellas (who were discovered by the same dude who brought you '90s wonderkids Hanson). Homemade posters outnumbered drivers' licenses. And camera phones clicked every time JB tossed its collective coif.
If you're looking to separate these three from the pop princes of the past (Shaun Cassidy, New Kids on the Block, take your pick), the JoBros play their own instruments, write most of their own songs and usually sound like a real, rollicking band. No matter how old you are, there's an undeniable punch to such concert staples as Goodnight and Goodbye and Australia.
Give the folks at Disney credit: Cyrus and the JoBros (and Hilary Duff before them) are cute and engaging, but they also have the hooky songs to sell. Today's young consumers are inundated with musical choices on TV and the Internet. They know when they're being sold straight-up junk.
The Jonas Brothers are already adept at merging talent with showmanship. On the weepy acoustic ballad Hello Beautiful, they knew just when to pout and purse their lips and stop the music and gaze forlornly into the audience, making each and every lass feel as if they were singing to her, just her.
Backed by a band that opted for thump over nuance, the trio worked through most of their self-titled 2007 album, which has gone platinum. And if the sound quality wasn't exactly clear, remember this: When the fans weren't shouting, they were screaming.
Although each of the brothers has diehard supporters, it's frontman Joe who has the best shot at someday solo fame. During arena-rattling romps That's Just the Way We Roll and Games, Joe rooster-strutted around the stage like a young Mick Jagger. And he seduced every adult in the crowd, too, when he led a cover of a-Ha's Take on Me.
The JoBros packed some filler into the show: the obligatory video diary, a percussive jam. But by that point, there was an audible consensus that this was the greatest night of thousands of lives. And when JB finally got around to the biggest hits -- including When You Look Me in the Eyes, Hold On and S.O.S. -- there was nothing they could do to fail.
Well, except shave their heads. But according to Tiger Beat, that's not happening any time soon.