Houston’s very own Mix 96.5 kicked off Christmas right with a night of great music at Revention Music Center.
Unfortunately, Offset Season and Jamie Lawson started the show way earlier than the 7:30 time printed on all of the tickets. A few people took their seats as Jamie Lawson serenaded the mostly empty venue at 6:30. Lawson was the first artist to be signed by Ed Sheeran’s record label Gingerbread Man Records, so missing most of his set was disappointing. Despite their efforts to fit so much music into once concert, the timing didn’t work in their favor. However, those missed sets didn’t take away from the rest of the show.
English singer-songwriter James Bay eventually took the stage with his acoustic guitar. Which, typically acoustic sets aren’t the best opening for an action-packed show like Mix 96.5’s Not So Silent Night, but Bay found a fantastic way to engage the crowd that had started to really trickle in.
The venue was decorated with snowflakes, disco ball chandeliers and a giant disco ball spinning at the front of the stage. “Let’s just dance under the disco ball. It’s a Christmas disco–a Crisco,” Bay declared.
He started his 6-song set with “Craving,” the first track from his latest album Chaos and the Calm, which is currently up for a Grammy for best rock album. Halfway through his set he realized he could make the drums behind him sound with the kick of his foot, and he creatively included that in his final song “Hold Back the River,” which is also nominated for a Grammy for best rock song.
They did a fantastic job of keeping the set changes quick. DJ’s from Mix 96.5 entertained the crowd and introduced each artist right before they took the stage.
The Band Perry was the next artist, and an odd addition to the lineup, but they took the stage with a high-energy version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” which got the crowd on their feet and clapping along. They played the classing country songs they’re known for, “If I Die Young,” as well as new songs “Put Me in the Game, Coach” and “Bounce.”
The energy turned electric as the sold-out crowd screamed while “Carol of the Bells” played and Fall Out Boy finally took the stage. Their set consisted of all singles, but lead singer Patrick Stump and bassist Pete Wentz made sure to make the show their own with friendly banter about the current state of the music scene and the new Star Wars. The set was a mix of old and new including “Sugar We’re Going Down,” “Dance, Dance,” “I Don’t Care,” “Light ‘em Up” and “American Beauty.”
Before the start of “Uma Thurman” halfway through their set, Pete Wentz declared:
“Women are expected to have a passive role in art and entertainment and we think that’s bulls*** so this is for all of the badass women.”
The women in the sold-out venue screamed and the entire crowd danced to the band’s latest single.
They closed out their set with “Centuries,” which frankly is the best way to end the show. It wrapped it up perfectly, but also left the crowd wanting more.
Late into the night Rob Thomas finally took the stage, much to the delight of the older half of the crowd. Thomas is the lead singer of the unforgettable Matchbox Twenty, but he also released several solo albums over the last two decades.
He started off his set with three solo songs from his releases Cradlesong and Something to Be, followed by a cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” He then broke out an acoustic guitar for the Matchbox Twenty hit, “3AM,” much to the joy of the crowd.
Thomas explained why he doesn’t like to play Matchbox Twenty songs during his solo gigs, saying Matchbox Twenty isn’t over and to expect to see them soon.
Halfway through the set, he finally broke out “Hold On Forever,” a single from his most recent release, The Great Unknown.
Thomas took a second to speak about his charity work, specifically with his own organization, “Sidewalk Angels Foundation,” which provides funds for animal rescue and advocacy groups. It provided a great segue into his only Christmas song, “New York City Christmas,” which he wrote before visiting a kid’s hospital after the tragedy of 9/11.
Finally he closed out the show with “Smooth,” his collaboration with guitarist Santana, and “This is How a Heart Breaks,” where he walked down the aisles through the crowd before making his way back onstage to close the show.
By Sarah Hoffman