I’ve been going to The Bamboozle ever since the festival started back in 2005, and in the years since, I’ve witnessed some stellar live performances and total backstage debauchery. I’ve heard Jared Leto descend from a helicopter and witnessed The Jonas Brothers play an outdoor stage to a near-empty field. I’ve seen Fall Out Boy cause a stampede and Jeffree Star walk around with a parasol. Ah, the ‘Boozle: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
This year’s Bamboozle was no different. In addition to Lil Wayne and Mötley Crüe making their first appearances on the bill, alumni like Thrice, Circa Survive and Dashboard Confessional all returned to the stage. Plus, fans were treated to a reunion of Long Island emo legends The Movielife. Oh, and Taking Back Sunday — with the semi-new addition of original members John Nolan and Shaun Cooper — performing Tell All Your Friends in its entirety. NBD.
So for this week’s column, I’d like start a virtual circle pit to celebrate all of my favorite Bamboozle bands. Please remove any spiked wristbands and get ready for music by Taking Back Sunday, New Years Day, Against Me! and Say Anything.
1.) Taking Back Sunday’s “Liar”: In terms of weather, you can usually count on one of two scenarios at Bamboozle: blistering hot or rainy cold. Two years ago, when Taking Back Sunday was headlining, it happened to be fuh-reezing. I watched most of their set on the side of the stage, and while they sounded AMAZING and I didn’t want to miss a second, I was worried my bladder might explode. So I quietly excused myself to go to the bathroom. Unfortunately the metal stairs were still slick from the afternoon downpour, which caused my feet to go in two different directions and my bum to bang down hard on the cement. Not my finest moment — but at least it had a killer soundtrack!
2.) New Years Day’s “Ready, Aim, Misfire”: I first learned about New Years Day back when The Bamboozle was held at Asbury Park in New Jersey (and was then known as Skate And Surf Fest). Someone on the boardwalk handed me their CD, and when I got back into my car, I popped it in and instantly fell in love. Fronted by Ashley Costello, a zombie-loving girl singer with a booming voice, the band would often get compared with Paramore, but I always thought they were totally different. I mean, would Hayley Williams ever sing a line like, “Your love is my heart disease”? I think not.
3.) Against Me!’s “Thrash Unreal”: When I went to the ‘Boozle last year, I was really stoked to see Against Me! I’d watched them a million times on Warped Tour, but hadn’t seen them in ages. When they launched into “Thrash Unreal,” these two girls in front of me started losing their s***. Here I am, trying to enjoy my favorite politi-punk band and these two drunks keep bumping into me because they’re flailing around like one of those inflatable air dancer balloons, serenading each other with the chorus at the top of their lungs: “No mother ever dreams that her daughter’s gonna be a junkie.” Their parents would’ve been proud.
4.) Say Anything’s “Admit It!!!”: In my not-so-humble opinion, I think Say Anything’s debut album …Is A Real Boy is one of the best albums of the past 10 years, and I will stop at nothing to hear the band play live. At Bamboozle a couple years ago, the band must’ve played three times on three different stages, and I was stage right for each show, stomping my feet, pumping my fists and singing along to every word. Thankfully, a large guitar cabinet hid me and my embarrassing antics from the audience. Whew!