The Bamboozle Roadshow 2008
Saves the Day, Armor for Sleep, Set Your Goals, Metro Station, Lydia
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Better Than: Trading a flash of boobs and a blow job for concert tickets on Craigslist.
If partially-bleached bangs cover half your face, chances are, you were at this show. If a flatiron is as essential to you as oxygen, and wearing Vans and anything neon is your perfect getup—then you were at this show. While style originality may not have been necessary to attend this gig, having read the emo handbook Everybody Hurts and not having a regular day job certainly would have helped, especially considering that doors opened at 5:30 p.m. and everyone in sight was underage. But then again, when there are five bands on a bill, starting early is probably the only way to get things done—at least before bedtime on a school night.
Although I’m not entirely certain whether it was that the bands got progressively worse, or that we had all been at the venue for about five hours by the end of it all, the performances grew more tiresome and bland as the evening wore on. The redeeming factor of this tour is that the groups are actually all quite unique, playing ambient indie rock, ’80s synth dance sounds, aggressive hardcore, or whiney, er, dreadfully boring punk pop.
The night’s surprise show-stealers were opening act Lydia—a sextet from Arizona who use poignant male and female harmonies to backup massive, cathartic melodies. The whole barefoot band moved around the stage like a well-choreographed dance troupe, delicately tip-toeing about and gracefully swooping in a waltz fashion. The blond-headed lanky front man Leighton Antelman looks more like a surfer dude than a brooding rocker in his relaxed-fit jeans and loose white t-shirt. The audience was captivated—pausing from their Sidekick chats and scene prowling to gaze at the stage. It was obvious that most of the crowd didn’t know who this group was, but they were definitely into it.
Up next was the electric dance rock outfit Metro Station, who were just recently in South Florida on tour with Cobra Starship. This time around the fashion-conscious Los Angeles quartet seemed less obnoxious with their over-zealous audience involvement antics and cheesy attempts at sex appeal. Front man Mason Musso sported his usual over-sized sunglasses and rock star attitude, while his counterpart Trace Cyrus did everything he could to entice the audience with ridiculously high jumps and animated facial expressions like a true Mickey Mouse Club wannabe. Fans were eating it up. The front half of the venue was now dominated by screaming females, but most of the males in the back were also chanting along with every lyric. This audience was clearly well-versed in Metro Station’s 2007 self-titled debut, from which the band performed favorites “Seventeen Forever,” “Shake It” and “Kelsey.”
From here, the fan scene on the lower-level became increasingly more fierce and aggressive. By the time San Francisco sextet Set Your Goals began, the male portion of the crowd was in a rowdy, kick-major-ass mode, violently swinging their arms in the pit and crowd diving. I’m sure Band-Aid or the American Dental Association might benefit from sponsoring a tour like this. Guys ran up to their girlfriends or buddies to make sure their last blow to the face didn’t cause a tooth to dislodge or a bloody gash somewhere. It was hard to decide what was more entertaining—the hardcore sounds made by the two male vocalists and their band (who, by the way, looked more like preps and frat boys than punk rock screamers), or the kaleidoscope of bodies being plummeted onto the floor or slammed into the stage security guards. While singer Jordan Brown tossed his mic into the crowd and encouraged the kids to get crazy, it was obvious that this audience needed no further persuasion to cause disorder.
Judging from the canned punk-pop sounds from Jersey boys Armor for Sleep, the band might as well have been renamed the Most Boring Music You Will Ever Hear Live. Theirs was definitely the weakest performance of the night. While the band blazed through what seemed like an endless set list of generic Hills background tunes, the most pit rage took a hiatus. Armor for Sleep continued their snooze fest with selections from their 2007 album Smile For Them, which included cliché titles “Smile for the Camera” and “Chemicals,” a song about doing drugs in Fort Lauderdale. The mention of drugs was all it took to get the moshing maniacs back on cue, and the chaos continued until the set ended. This mosh session, however, seemed fueled entirely by general boredom with the performance itself.
Saves the Day revived the audience within the first seconds of the opening song, “Lonely Nights” from their 2007 album Under the Boards. Although they stayed partial to their newer stuff, the band played a mix of hits from their seven major releases, even digging back to “Always Ten Feet Tall,” a favorite from their 1998 debut, Can’t Slow Down—an album that was released when half of this crowd was just five years old.
Despite the fact that the crowd’s enthusiasm only intensified as the show went on, Saves the Day put on a pretty lackluster act—the expressionless guitarist and bassist seemed detached and more like hired musicians, while the nasally lead man Chris Conley mostly stood in one place, singing like he’s done this way too many times to put in any added effort.
After the first four songs the band might as well have started repeating their tunes because the music seemed to homogenize into a mess of emo cries and shouting fans. Once again, the mosh pit took front and center as the main attraction, but this time it was sparked by the music. Bodies were hurled like never before—getting more girls involved in the debauchery. Even the support bands were in the wings singing along to every word. One dude appeared out of nowhere and did a dangerous forward flip from the stage into the audience. It seemed like a stupid and near show-stopping move.
Saves the Day closed the show with a welcomed encore of “At Your Funeral” from 2001’s Stay What You Are. Not yet sated, this audience wanted more—but that they never got. Judging from the comments by the kids around me, what they wanted wasn’t just more, it was more of the old stuff. “I wish I hadn’t seen them live again,” said one girl. Her friend replied: “I wish I didn’t hate their new stuff so much.” They both laughed. At least these fans seemed to have some good ears. Maybe the rest of the audience just needed an excuse to get rowdy and have some bragging bruises at school tomorrow—and that they would certainly have.
– Monica Cady
Personal Bias: Watching what was happening in the raging mosh pit became far more interesting than anything going on onstage.
Random Detail: Circa Survive lead man Anthony Green credits Saves the Day as a favorite band.
By the Way: Look for live recordings by Saves the Day that are sold exclusively on the Bamboozle Roadshow.