On the afternoons of Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6, thousands of teenagers and 20-somethings lined up outside the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. After its unprecedented success in New Jersey, “The Bamboozle,” a two-day music festival featuring a multitude of primarily alternative rock bands, made its way to sunny California. Cleverly named “The Bamboozle Left,” this year’s event was a huge success; several prominent band members looked out at the crowds in awe of the sheer number of people. Over a hundred bands performed, including famous acts such as Paramore, My Chemical Romance, New Found Glory, Jimmy Eat World and Story of the Year.
The Verizon Wireless venue was not big enough to support so many bands, so a large section of the parking lot was also fenced-in as a part of the concert grounds. The result was six outdoor stages surrounded by tons of tents selling band merchandise and vendors with overpriced food and beverages.
One of the bands focused on hilarious onstage antics. While booed by some audience members who were anticipating the bigger and more famous artists, Van Stone was undoubtedly very entertaining. The lead singer played the character of Randy Van Stone, a character that came onto the stage for a particular song as a paraplegic in a wheelchair, and even pulled out a novelty giant penis at one point! While obviously very ridiculous, Van Stone was a good way to wake up the audience with some humor in preparation for some of the more serious acts.
Story of the Year, a St. Louis-based post-hardcore band, made a thrilling appearance. The lead singer, Dan Marsala, effectively worked the crowd into a complete frenzy. Without even a spot to get a decent foothold, being pushed all over the place from the massive force generated by the mosh pit, audience members were still jubilantly cheering and singing along. While SOTY performed a few new songs off their upcoming album, it also played more famous ones such as the rock anthem “Until the Day I Die.” The climax of its electrifying performance was when the lead vocalist took a stage dive into the crowd, allowing certain privileged individuals to help hold him up.
Another surprisingly entertaining act was by the pop rock band Paramore. While in this genre of music, the word “pop” often has a negative connotation, the band lived up to the hype. The lead singer, Hayley Williams, was like a little animated sprite on stage: her ability to keep belting out tunes with raw energy, and moreover her vocal talent, were astounding for someone only 19-years-old.
Chiodos, another post-hardcore band, started accumulating a large fan base last year. When the band walked on stage on Sunday night, the crowds were ecstatic. No other band seemed to generate as much jumping, pushing and crowd-surfing. While the 35-minutes seemed to whiz by, Chiodos performed some of its more memorable songs including “Bulls Make Money, Bears Make Money, Pigs Get Slaughtered” and “Lexington.” Luckily, the most eagerly-anticipated band of the entire festival was up next.
On Sunday, My Chemical Romance closed The Bamboozle Left 2008. Although by this time the audience had mellowed out a little, MCR recaptured the passion and excitement after only a few seconds of being on the stage. Incredibly famous songs, such as “I’m Not Okay (I Promise),” “The Black Parade” and “Helena” were performed. Gerard Way, the lead singer, also announced that the band was working on its new album. Enough said.
If it can even be called that, the one “downside” of this festival was that it was overwhelmingly fun and crazy. Some more fragile people were passing out in the midst of the crowds from a lack of fresh air, and it was incredibly easy to get separated from friends in mere seconds. In spite of these minor inconveniences, and the aches and pains experienced by music-lovers after about 24 hours of standing up, screaming at the top of their lungs, and rocking out with favorite artists, The Bamboozle Left 2008 was a definite success.