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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

December 9, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Jingle Ball mostly tinsel | Concert review

Flo Rida performing last year in Washington, D.C. (Theo Wargo)

Flo Rida, in Washington, D.C. (Theo Wargo)

Sponsored by radio station 106.1 KISS FM, the Jingle Ball at Comcast Arena in Everett Sunday night played very much like mainstream top-40 radio: The music ran the gamut of pop nonsense and there were commercials every 15 minutes.

Still, that’s not to say there weren’t some fun moments. Performers ranged from the up-and-coming (Travie McCoy, Austin Mahone and New Politics), girl-group pop (Fifth Harmony and Icona Pop), to huge names like Flo Rida, Fall Out Boy and Selena Gomez.

Perhaps the worst of it was Fall Out Boy, who headlined and proved why they broke up in 2010. Their set was an uninspired mess of thudding bass and dull vocals and the band seemed to labor from the moment it trotted out its two biggest hits, “Dance, Dance” and “Sugar, We’re Going Down,” from the 2005 album “From Under the Cork Tree.”

Surprisingly, Selena Gomez and Flo Rida turned out to be the night’s biggest treats. Gomez, who just played KeyArena, showed the same kind of professional stage presence, nonthreatening lyrics and safe sexuality that has made her one of pop music’s biggest names.

Wearing a red one-piece and black lace that may or may not have been meant to evoke thoughts of Christmastime, Gomez gamely worked her way through a few of her biggest hits and closed things out with “Come and Get It,” from her debut solo album “Stars Dance,” released this year. She recovered nicely from her Friday performance in Los Angeles, during which she stormed offstage after experiencing some sound problems.

Just as impressive was Flo Rida’s cheery set of hip-hop anthems. Sometimes rap doesn’t translate well live but Flo Rida managed to inject life into some big hits, including “Cry” and “Whistle.”

By the time Flo Rida got around to his mega-single “Low,” and invited a dozen young girls and many of their mothers on stage to dance along, the night had reached a natural stopping point.

But like most of mainstream pop music, excess was the name of the game Sunday and the show trudged on to its inevitable conclusion.

Comments | More in R & B/Hip-hop, Rock/Pop | Topics: Austin Mahone, Comcast Arena, Concert Review

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