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Rock concerts really do shock your world - Curt Yeomans

I had an opportunity to see something new on Dec. 16: Christmas trees on stage at a rock concert. I was attending 99X's Mistle Toe Jam holiday concert, at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth.

I had never been to a holiday concert. I had never even been to the arena before, but one of my favorite bands, Modest Mouse, was headlining the concert. I really wanted to see the group live, so I bought a ticket.

The other acts performing with Modest Mouse were the Silversun Pick-ups, The Shins and Silverchair. All in all, it was definitely a rock concert, with the only Christmas tie-ins being some of the 99X DJs wearing Santa hats. Other than that, Silverchair lead singer, Daniel Johns, took his shirt off, bragged about the joys of stripping, and then put on a black bra.

Johns' performance wasn't the first thing I think of when someone says "Christmas," but the girls in the audience loved it. They began cheering themselves into a frenzy over it.

I guess Justin Timberlake wasn't the one bringing sexy back after all.

This wasn't my first rock concert. I've seen Sting, Train, Better than Ezra and Gavin DeGraw perform live. The experience was still great, though. I went to see Modest Mouse, but walked away really impressed by The Shins, especially their performances of their song "Australia," and David Bowie's "Suffragette City."

Brian Aubert, the lead singer of the Silversun Pickups, caught just about everybody by surprise when he jumped off the stage, while holding a single note on his guitar. He appeared to have run backstage, but he was actually running around the perimeter of the audience standing on the floor. The band continued playing once Aubert got back on the stage.

Oddly, the performance that was great, but the best of the night was Modest Mouse, the band I was actually there to see. The band I'd waited over a month to see performing live. They played their great songs, like "Float On," "Dashboard," and "Paper Thin Walls," but I didn't walk away from their performance with the "Man, that was incredible!" feeling.

It might have something to do with the fact that they said goodnight and walked off stage 10 minutes earlier than they were scheduled to finish. When the audience cheered for several minutes in an attempt to coax an encore, we mistakenly thought we were getting our wish when guys appeared on the stage in the darkness of the arena.

It seemed as if the band was about to play "one more set," just as the crowd was chanting them to do.

It was the roadies. They came out in the darkness to dismantle the stage. Then the lights came up and the cheering stopped. The chanting of "one more set" morphed into a sea of booing.

Needless to say, the people were disappointed by the lack of an encore by Modest Mouse.

Maybe that's why the audience members, at least the female ones who got on the radio after the show ended, said Johns' half-striptease was the highlight of the evening.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247 or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.