On The Aisle
by Tony Macklin
I went to see the movie called “Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience.”
Not The Who. Certainly not The Who. The Jonas Brothers. They’re more The What?
The Jonas Brothers are a contemporary phenomenon, a boyish trio who dazzle fangirl tweens. The Jonas Brothers’ posters paper the walls of the rooms of young girls, their faces are on their backpacks, and their lyrics rattle young female minds.
Disney, with dreams of Pollyanna in their corporate heads, have made a Digital 3D movie of the boys in concert, backstage and being cute.
The three Jonas lads are 16-year-old Nick (the sensitive one), 19-year-old Joe (the seductive one) and 21-year-old Kevin (the old one). They wear promise rings, which means they are going to remain virginal until marriage. They are as wholesome as milk and Wonder Bread. I’m not against wholesomeness. I just don’t trust it. Wholesomeness strikes me like the Republican Party … morality without ethics.
Wasn’t Bristol wholesome, until she met Levi? Maybe not. If only they had listened to the Jonas Brothers.
Those promise rings that the boys wear are like bumper stickers declaring, “I am a virgin.” Or “I heart abstinence.” It’s kind of creepy.
A cooler world awaits the hysterical tweens in the future. And maybe for the Brothers. Kevin, let me introduce you to Madonna. Girls, let me introduce you to cousin Jerry Lee.
Actually the girls squealing are not that different from geriatric women standing propped on walkers in the audience for aging Frankie, Bobby and Fabian. Swaying and croaking beloved lyrics, they yearn to be tweens again.
In the movie there is a scene of the Jonases watching the Beatles on TV appearing on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ in 1964. The movie tries to suggest a connection between the Jonas Brothers and the Beatles. But their lineage is The Monkees, The Cowsills and The Partridge Family.
Like The Monkees, the Jonases have somewhat engaging personalities, but they are more bland than The Monkees. They are safe as soda laced with sugar. A generic pubescent high.
It’s probably true that the lyrics of some of the early Beatles’ songs were as vapid as some of the Jonases’: “I wanna hold your, hand, I wanna hold your hand, I wanna hold your hand.” Hold her goddamn hand.
These eternal lyrics can be compared to those from the Jonas Brothers’ “Hold On “So hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on.” Goddamn it, hold on.
The Jonas Brothers are akin to Pat Boonedoggle. He was the jester of pop. As we all know, there was only one king. Elvis and Madonna probably had the most affect on modern women.
Elvis was not wholesome. He was threatening. As were the Beatles (especially John) with their long hair. Elvis, with his curled lip and curled crotch and Janis, with her bottle of Southern Comfort, were shocking. They led an army of potential anarchists. They all threatened the status quo. The Jonas Brothers are the status quo. They do not threaten.
I understand zealous infatuation. I almost got into a fight with one of my grade school teachers when he mocked Johnny Ray. But Johnny Ray was not wholesome. To a callow youth, he embodied raw emotion. BTW, I’m still callow.
My claim to fame in high school was signing Billy Haley and the Comets to play at one of our dances. Bill Haley was not exactly wholesome.
I interviewed Fabian for my college newspaper. That was my introduction with fangirl tsunami. I escaped shaken. I don’t ever want to mess with a mob of young tweens. They’d tear your heart out if you got in their way. Wholesomely, of course.
The director of “Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience” is Bruce Hendricks. He’s a long way from Richard Lester who made the classic Beatles’ film “A Hard Day’s Night” (1964).
The 3D experience is a lot of reaching hands, jerking microphones and foam. In one scene the Brothers use hoses that spew white foam over the audience. Calling Dr. Freud.
In a sense, foam is a good symbol for “Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience.” The Brothers are as substantial as foam. There’s an ocean out there, but there is only foam on the shore of their experience. When and if they face the ocean, they may drown, since their rings won’t float.
After I saw “Jonas Brothers: 3D Concert Experience,” I went to my car and put in a CD of Bob Seger and Silver Bullet Band. “Old Time Rock & Roll” blared out of my speakers. Now that’s an experience. Music should be risky business.