Bamboozle Music Festival Day 1 Highlights

The line up at Bamboozle was as diverse as the weather conditions over May 3rd and 4th. Outside the temperatures went from cold to freezing at night to sunny and beautiful the next day. On stage the music was constantly changing from emo, to screamo, to rock, to pop, to rap, to somewhere in between and then back again. The crowd and the bands were so diversified and yet perfectly blended together for my taste and if something wasn’t for you, all you had to do was check out one of the other 8 stages.

If you could manage to break yourself away from all the incredible music that was constantly on from noon to 11pm, you could enjoy the free rides and sponsored games or find some time to shop for CD’s at discounted prices or for tons of clothing from up and coming alternative designers. The only downfall of the event is that no matter how many bands you see, you are inevitably missing some of the ones you wanted to or should have seen.

The set up was similar to the way it has been the last few years with four areas each with 2 stages and one indoor area (inside the Giants/Jets practice field) which had a stage for taped performance for Bamboozle TV. Within the four areas the 2 stages rotated on and off for constant music which is great since there was never a lull while waiting for sets to change. The outskirts of the event was outlined with a mixture of food stands, shopping, rides, and of course port-a-potties.

While most people, included myself, herded themselves back and forth between the two main stages, a decent portion of the day was still spent running from one stage area to the other side of the Meadowlands parking lot in hopes that you wouldn’t miss too much of the band you were darting to see. By the end of day 1 you were physically exhausted from being on your feet all day for almost 12 hours but yet so excited to endure it all again for even more great live music. I guess that is thing with going to concert like these, the energy of the crowd and your love for the music somehow works as your own version of “solar” power. And both days there were some amazing bands to keep you energized and enthralled.

Some of my favorites from Saturday included:

(the often mentioned) Metro Station – they were really really good live, they had so much energy and vocals which sounded as good as their CD. It was almost crazy to see the thousands of teenagers crowding the stage and singing along to every word. I mean a few months ago they were the opening opening band for Motion City Soundtrack and one Z100 hit later then have completely blown up. (Good scouting Jeanette).

God or Julie – these are my vote for the next up an coming band. I have seen them a few times in the NYC and they are beyond amazing live. They don’t have that youthful fun aura going for them like Metro Station but they have great stage presence with amazing lyrics and vocals. Their drummer comes from Matchbook Romance and their sound is similar to them and to an early MCR. Definitely check this band out…..

Tokio Hotel – This German group unfortunately only played 3 songs but for the short time they had the audience captivated. I had only recently heard of this band but was dying to check them out and was pleasantly surprised that their other songs were as good as their current single “Ready, Set, Go” and had amazing stage presence. There lead singer is this 18-year-old androgynous type with an electroshock hairdo stands a good six inches tall and almost looks like a lions mane. I love their look and their sound.

The Audition – I first learned of this pop punk band on my punk goes acoustic CD and fell in love with their song “Dont be so Hard” and ended up downloading the rest of their music which is upbeat, fun and as good if not better then the song that drew me to them. Parents beware a lot of their lyrics are a sexually charged but maybe that is one of the reason I like them even more. Their music is so fun and catchy that I was completely caught up in their set.

The Bravery – This band has definitely grown on me. I saw them for the first time a year ago at the Hard Rock in NYC for a Rolling Stone event and thought they were good but not amazing. I have to say that over the course of the next few months they grew on me substantially to a band I like and upon second viewing, I have to say were definitely a group to remember. I don’t know if it was the larger stage or being sober this time but I thoroughly enjoyed their set.

Paramore – As always Ms. Hayley and co. were fantastic. The sound was a little off at the beginning of the set but they still put on a very enjoyable show. I remember when I first stumbled upon them for the first time, 3 bamboozles ago, on the way look for another band and was so captivated by the stage presence and screaming vocals of this little red headed teenager that I decide to skip the band I was looking for and check out this new band. I have been a fan since and they certainly have come a long way from playing the little stage with a few hundred fans to now being one of the closing acts with all eyes on them.

The biggest highlight of day 1 for me was getting to see one of my favorite bands Jimmy Eat World who were amazing live. It was even drizzling during their performance but the thousands of people watching didn’t seem to mind, I certainly didn’t. They mostly played songs off their newest album Chase the Light but also played the hits from their older records. It was great to see how songs like “The Middle,” “Sweetness,” and “Pain” which I associate with college resonate with all of the younger set. It kind of made me feel a little old since some of these kids were singing along to songs that were hits when they were in elementary school but it is nice to know good music is ageless even a few years later. I can’t wait to see them again later this summer.

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