Show Review: The Bamboozle Festival 2012- Featuring My Chemical Romance and The Story So Far
The Story So Far, Picture credit: Alyson Coletta
This weekend the Bamboozle Festival tore through Asbury Park, New Jersey. May 18th, 19th, and 20th had thousands of people flocking to Jersey, to see anyone from a rap group called Overdoz, Buckcherry, We Came as Romans, the most recent electronic musings of Sonny Moore, The Wonder Years, The Bouncing Souls, or local bands looking for their big break. With such a diverse line-up comes a very eclectic group of people. Throw in the already-quirky personality of Asbury Park and you’ve got one of the most unique music festivals out there.
Waiting in line to get into Bamboozle was one of the most opportune times to catch a glimpse of Asbury. On the boardwalk, concertgoers saw locals running and riding their bikes, a man with his parakeet and dog, a crepe stand and a Korean Taco cart, and a man in a trench coat with signs saying “Guilt Free Sex” and “2+2=7, 4 = Propaganda.” The energy in line was palpable, with many sporadic sing-alongs and high fives going around. Upon entering the festival, one is assaulted with music, the smell of food, and excited people, coming from all directions. Well-known companies and vendors, such as Glamour Kills, To Write Love On Her Arms, and Merch Now, are intermingled with small, local companies, all vying for attention. Musicians walk among fans, enjoying themselves just as much.
Over the course of three days, I saw over ten different sets, each bringing something different to the festival. However, there were a few standouts in my mind. The Story So Far, a pop-punk band from California that has blown up with the release of their album ‘Under Soil and Dirt’, played all three days of Bamboozle on the Zumiez Stage. They pulled a large crowd each day, as if everyone from the New Jersey pop-punk scene had come out to see The Story So Far, and with good reason. By the second song into their set, I found myself bumping along with leader singer Parker Cannon, as he moved across the stage. TSSF played about an eight song set each day, including “Placeholder,” which they played live for the first time on Friday. The Story So Far has an infectious energy that drives a crowd crazy. They appeared to be having a genuinely good time, and they killed their set each day.
When it was announced that Blink182 was not playing Bamboozle, and My Chemical Romance was taking their place, many fans were disgruntled. This was made evident by the massive amounts of Blink-182 t-shirts I saw this weekend. This sense of doubt did not seem to affect MCR at all, who played an absolutely amazing fourteen song set. Satisfying old and new fans, MCR played songs from each of their records, including “Mama,” “Vampires Will Never Hurt You,” “Vampire Money,” and “Helena,” among many others. MCR played with such passion that you completely forgot they were a “replacement.” The band has a certain swagger and stage presence that it makes it hard to look away. No matter how big of a Blink-182 fan you are, you have to admit that My Chemical Romance put on a fantastic show.
Although, the frequent weather changes, expensive food and drink, and drunken teenagers sometimes pushed me to my wits end, I still wouldn’t have changed a thing about my Bamboozle experience. I did not encounter one rude employee, vendor, or band member the whole time I was there. The atmosphere was a caring one and everyone looked out for each other, whether it was in the pit or when water was needed. Bamboozle is truly a unique festival, and every music-lover’s dream.