With 9 stages there was enough music at Bamboozle for any enthusiast to get their fill. The two-day festival held in the parking lot outside Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ featured a slew of bands; both well-known and up-and-comers.
This being my first Bamboozle I wasn’t sure what to expect, however, I knew I wanted to see a lot of bands. I was bummed the weatherman was calling for rain, but it turned out that only one of the two days was a washout.
By the end of the weekend I was sore, sunburned, and felt like I’ve developed an addiction to the sugar laden Wonka candy, Kazoozle. It was all worth it though! Here are my highlights:
· Wicker Hallow: the winners of the break contest prove to be a really good live band. They have an up-temp punk rock sound. They also engaged well with the audience. They seemed really excited to be at the festival and were having fun.
· Danger Radio: I saw this band last month and they rocked again on the Zumiez stage. I really like their R&B infused rock beats. It’s entertaining and the music is good to dance to.
· Patent Pending: I enjoyed the cover of “Every Time We Touch.” I liked their enthusiasm and stage presence. The circle pits were great.
· Gavin Rossdale: It took me back to 1990’s when he played “Machinehead.” Loved it!
· “Journey:” Despite being a cover band, the special guest sounded identical to the real thing. It was fun singing along to all the hits.
· Third Eye Blind: The antics of Stephan Jenkins were funny. They played a pretty good set. I liked the combination of new and old stuff.
· Family Force 5: This Christian Crunk band was one of the best performances I saw all day. With their matching outfits and break dancing moves they really entertained.
· White Tie Affair: I think this band has come a long way from The Hills. They sounded so much better than the last time I saw them.
· There for Tomorrow: They had a good rock sound and were smart by having a banner up with their name on it.
· Lights Resolve: I was thrown off by the bassist’s dyed black hair. Lead vocalist Matt Reich sounded great!
· The Bride Wore Black: I caught a snippet of this NY band and really liked their music!
· Taking Back Sunday: Adam Lazzara got tired of spinning the microphone cord and came up with a new trick; singing while hanging upside down from the rafter. It was pretty cool. I enjoyed all the old hits like “Cute without the E” and “You’re So Last Summer” along with new songs. I’m looking forward to the new album!
· No Doubt: The band is as good as they were five years ago. Gwen still has all the energy and I love how she sang “Just a Girl” while hanging from the rafter. They are a great live band and give the best performance!
There were a lot of bands that I wanted to get to see but had no time because of scheduling conflicts. The set up of the festival kind of sucked because if you were at the Wonka or Imagination stage and wanted to see someone at the MLB or the State Farm Stage you had to run across the entire parking lot. It was a little too spread out.
There were only a few other things that bothered me: the lame peformance of Fall Out Boy, the gross food, and the fact that I almost got trampled during 3oh!3 even though I was like 200 feet from the stage.
FOB spent way too much time with shenanigans and wardrobe changes. It would be one thing if this was their own show, but it was a festival with an allotted amount of time and they just wasted a bit too much. Pete Wentz is always mumbling and using the stage as his own personal soapbox. I really like their music, but they are just not an entertaining live band. The encore was the only thing that rocked.
During the performance of 3oh!3, the pit had engulfed a large mass of the audience reaching back far to where I was standing. It was the scariest thing. Everyone just kept pushing back. I felt like I was going to get trampled and die. It was one thing if you’re on the outskirts of the pit and know to hold your ground if people are pushing but who would have thought that it would have been so massive to reach so far back. Just crazy!
The food at the place was blah and expensive. I know this is the theme at festivals, but they didn’t even have any burgers. The pita and mexican station claiming to have “gyros” was a random selection of mexican toppings and some meat. It was a good alternative for vegetarians but not very tasty and hard to eat on the small paper plate that was soggy from the rain. I guess crappy overpriced food is to be expected.
Overall, I enjoyed my first Bamboozle experience and am looking forward to next year.