Although I had heard New Found Glory before, it was 2002's Sticks and Stones that cemented their spot as one of my favorite bands, where they have remained for the last decade. I've lost track of how many times I've seen them live - probably more than any other act - and they have never disappointed. While their self-titled 10th anniversary tour was memorable, the small club really brought the Sticks and Stones tour to the next level. Of the many times I've seen them, their performance at The Met in Pawtucket, RI on December 5th may very well be my favorite.
Opening the show was Candy Hearts, a band with a direct connection to New Found Glory. Guitarist Chad Gilbert produced their new EP, The Best Ways to Disappear, and released it on his Bridge Nine imprint, Violently Happy Records. It was their first show on the tour (replacing Seahaven, who opened the first leg), and they were visibly excited to be there.
While New Found Glory would later bring the audience back to 2002, Candy Hearts transported audiences to the '90s with their brand of female-fronted indie rock (think Lemuria). Although vocalist/guitarist Mariel Loveland was front and center, it was drummer Matthew Ferraro whose performance stood out the most. The crowd of enthusiastic pop punk defenders were unsure of how to react, but the band seemed to win many of them over by the time their 25-minute set concluded with "Flashers Flashing."
When I saw The Story So Far on the Glamour Kills Tour earlier this year, the audience was so rambunctious that the barricade literally couldn't hold them back. At this small venue with no barricade to speak of, the crowd lost all inhibition. The reaction to The Story So Far was nearly as big as that of New Found Glory (the band from whom their name originates, interestingly enough), with countless fans stage diving and piling on throughout their performance.
The band opened with fan favorite "Daughters" and went on to play about a half hour's worth of material from their full-length debut, Under Soil and Dirt. Highlights included "Roam," "Mt. Diablo" and set closer "Quicksand." The set seemed short, but they made their sparse time count. They sounded good, vocalist Parker Cannon in particular, but the real highlight was watching the crowd go hard. As young, hardworking musicians with a rapidly growing fanbase (and a coveted spot secured on the 2013 Warped Tour), I believe The Story So Far are on their way to being a big part of the future of pop punk.
New Found Glory came onto the stage, appropriately, to the Back to the Future theme before kicking up the power to 1.21 gigawatts for "Understatement." They blew through Sticks and Stones in about 40 minutes, without much talking between songs. The album is the perfect mix of tempos, allowing fans to relax (relatively, at least) between the fast-paced songs. The sold out, 600-capacity crowd sang along at the top of their lungs with every word of the 12 tracks between stage diving, crowd surfing and moshing. It was particularly neat to hear the songs the band doesn't get the opportunity to play as often.
Upon completing the album, they returned to the stage for an encore that represented the rest of their formidable discography, including such fan favorites as "All Downhill from Here," "Better Off Dead" and an old song, "2's and 3's." The set was relatively short by headlining standards - in total, it was just over an hour - but it's hard to complain when that time was put to such good use. It was truly a treat to see New Found Glory in such an intimate setting with no separation between the band and their fans. Both parties had nostalgic fun, soaked in sweat and singing along. (Gilbert commended the rare high volume of female stage divers and remarked that the venue smelled like a stinkbomb.)
Gilbert prefaced closer "Hit or Miss" by addressing the recent "hiatus" confusion. He assured the crowd that he and his four bandmates love New Found Glory more than anything and stated, "We plan on being a band forever!" This comment received one of the loudest reactions of the night, and it's no doubt that the band is serious. With the same line-up for 15 years and counting, and the members only in their early- to mid-30s, New Found Glory shows no intention of slowing down anytime soon. I'm already looking forward to the 20th anniversary in Sticks and Stones in 2022.
With alumni like Blink-182, Fall Out Boy, and Dashboard Confessional, Paramore has some big shoes to fill by headlinging the Honda Civic Tour this summer. Raising the stakes even more is the fact that last year's incarnation of tour was canceled. With support from New Found Glory, Teagan and Sara (on most dates), and newcomers Kadawatha, the tour has a little something for everyone. I caught a show early on in the tour on July 28th in Mansfield, MA.
Kadawatha kicked off the night with a five-song set. The band was originally formed as a solo project by Sri Lankian Daniel Kadawatha in 2008 before rounding up some of his Swedish brethren to fill out the band. The tour marked not only the group's first time in America but also their first real tour, making their 25-minute appearance all the more impressive. Their brand of alternative rock fit perfectly in the stadium setting, even if the crowd had yet to fill in. It's their loss, however, as the band has the potential to go places. While most of the attendees were unfamiliar with Kadawatha prior to the concert, it was evident by the time the members collapsed to the ground during their set's conclusion that they will not remain unknown for long.
A pleasant surprise for this date was that Relient K was filling in for the absent Teagan and Sara. I was a little disappointed that their setlist only contained material from the last three albums. They did throw in a cover of Toto's "Africa", but most of the young audience was unfamiliar with it. The crowed cheered loudly for "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been", which would have been a great closer, but the band instead followed it with "Devastation and Reform" to end the set. Despite these minor gripes, they sounded tight and put on a good show.
This was my fourth time seeing New Found Glory in less than a year, and they never disappoint. Despite being the elders of the tour, they have energy like no other. Their 45-minute set was more accessible than usual, busting out audience-friendly songs like "It's Not Your Fault" and their cover of "Kiss Me". They still played some fast-paced tunes, including "Something I Call Personality" and "Don't Let Her Pull You Down". During the latter, people came on stage with signs to prompt the audience to participate in the "Don't" "Let" "Her" gang vocals during the chorus, and at one point they held up alternative signs that said "Buy" "Our" "Merch". The band had no trouble getting the audience to sing along when they ended their set with their biggest hit, "My Friends Over You".
Paramore came out to the piercing screams of the thousands of fans in attendance. Light bulbs swayed from the rafters while the band kicked in with "Ignorance". Living up to her vivid red hair, vocalist Hayley Williams ran out onstage like a little fireball while she sang. About halfway through the set, a couch and lamp were brought onto the stage, making the large venue feel like a cozy home. The band proceeded to play four acoustic songs, including a cover of Loretta Lynn's "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)", which the band dedicated to their hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.
Paramore's set included a couple of cuts from their debut ("Emergency", "Pressure"), their latest single ("Careful"), and bit of everything in between. As the band played "The Only Exception", Williams ceased singing to alert security of a crowd member who was fighting. She was met with cheers and seamlessly went back to crooning. At the end of the song, a barrage of sparks rained from the ceiling before the arena went dark. The band came back out a moment later to conclude their set with an encore of "Brick By Boring Brick" and "Misery Business". During the latter, confetti was blasted from a canon to cap off a top-notch show with a bang.
There are few bands that I've consistently enjoyed over the years more than New Found Glory and few albums that I've sung along to more than their 2000 breakthrough, New Found Glory. When it was announced that the band would be playing the entire album from front to back in celebration of its ten year anniversary and that fellow pop-punk upstarts Saves the Day would also be on the tour, I knew that I couldn't miss the nostalgic show when the tour rolled through the House of Blues in Boston on February 21st.
Kicking the night off was Michigan's Fireworks. The quintet were a fitting choice for openers, seeing as how they probably wouldn't exist if it wasn't for New Found Glory's self-titled effort. They played their blend of pop and punk with plenty of energy, even though they seemed a bit awkward on such a big stage. The band was unknown to the majority of the crowd but still had a few people singing along, especially during their catchy closer, "Detroit". It's no wonder that this is the second time that New Found Glory has taken them out on tour.
Hellogoodbye were the oddballs of the tour. After the success of their debut EP back in 2004, the band had a fairly big following, but they've since been plagued with record label woes and, as a result, lost a lot of momentum. The crowd was largely uninterested, many of them talking over the band or yelling directly at them, especially when they played new material. The two old songs that they did play, "Shimmy Shimmy Quarter Turn" and "Dear Jamie... Sincerely Me", received warm reactions. After imitating an exaggerated Bostonian accent, to get in good with the crowd keyboardist Joseph Marro joked that all of their songs were actually slowed, unrecognizable versions of songs by hardcore legends American Nightmare and Converge. For a group once known for zany stage antics such as playing in costumes, they've really come into their own as musicians without losing that sense of fun, regardless of the lack of crowd enthusiasm.
The show really got going when Saves the Day hit the stage. They toured with New Found Glory a decade prior, and both bands are still going strong as if no time had passed. Save for vocalist/guitarist Chris Conley, the rest of the band members were replaced last year, but the new line-up sounds as tight as ever. Their set contained a good mix of material spanning their career, but old favorites such as "At Your Funeral" and "Rocks Tonic Juice Magic" received the biggest reactions from the audience.
With anticipation growing for the arrival of New Found Glory, the house lights finally went down and Miley Cirus' "Party in the USA" blared through the sound system. The Floridians took the stage and immediately set it off with "Better Off Dead". As promised, they played their self-titled effort from beginning to end. Even though you knew what was coming next, each song was exciting. It was particularly cool to hear songs that the group rarely plays live, such as "Second to Last" and "Eyesore", and get some insight on the songs (for example, "Black and Blue" was the first song written for the album). The band's energy was reciprocated by the audience, with plenty of singing, crowd surfing and lighthearted moshing. For album closer "Ballad for the Lost Romantics", guitarist Chad Gilbert went on the barricade with a microphone so the crowd could partake in the anthemic singalong.
After the completion of their rendition of the record, the band came back for an encore containing popular singles and fan favorites, including "All Downhill From Here" and "Head On Collision". Following a quick cover of Gorilla Biscuits' "No Reason Why", the band concluded the night with "My Friends Over You", which had the entire sold out crowd singing along so loud that they nearly drowned out the performers.
I've had the pleasure of seeing New Found Glory so many times that I've lost count, but they never disappoint. This was perhaps the best show I've ever seen them play. The band was having a good time not for themselves nor the mainstream audience, but rather, as Gilbert pointed out, the the entire tour was for the old school fans. The band proved that the album is just as sentimental to them as it is to their fans. It's great to see that they still has as much passion as they did ten years ago.
Also be sure to check out all of my photos from the show here.
I go to a few shows each month, and although I'm always excited to attend (or else I wouldn't), it's rare that I actually get giddy to see a concert. One such occasion was seeing Dashboard Confessional and New Found Glory on their recent acoustic tour. I hadn't been this excited for a show since the Blink 182 reunion. New Found Glory is one of my all-time favorite bands, and they never disappoint live. Although I'm a fan of Dashboard, I had never seen them in concert, but I had heard good things about their shows. Plus the whole tour was acoustic, for which I am a sucker. To add to the appeal -- as if it needed anything else -- the bands were playing small venues. On December 10, 2009, the bands came through The Middle East in Cambridge, MA, and it lived up to high expectations.
Considering New Found Glory concerts are usually high-energy engagements, the band's show translated surprisingly well to an acoustic environment. Their 50-minute set spanned from their early days (busting out "Broken Sound" from their debut album) to their band's latest, Not Without a Fight (surprisingly only one cut, "47"). Some of the songs selected were the slower tempo ones you would expect, but the band also reworked some of their faster songs to fit into the show, such as "Something I Call Personality" and "My Friends Over You." At the end of the latter, the band segued into a cover of Ben Folds Five's "Brick". This lead the band to a conversation about falsetto singing, following which they broke into an impromptu cover of a few bars The Darkness' "I Believe in a Thing Called Love". Their set concluded with the band's rendition of "The Christmas Song".
I thought the band might be a little awkward deviating from their norm, but they had the hang of it at this point on the tour. The guys was their typical fun selves, joking about everything from how they couldn't cover up all of their mistakes when playing acoustic to how drummer Cyrus Bolooki was only allowed in the band because he can play so many instruments. (Bolooki alternated between guitar, keyboard, and various percussion instruments throughout the set.) The band also quipped that they were going by their old monicker, A New Found Glory, with the A standing for acoustic.
While New Found Glory's set was as fun and energetic as always, Dashboard Confessional made it obvious why it was their tour. For these shows, it was frontman Chris Carraba, for whom the ladies swooned, along with guitarist/pianist John Lefler, but the whole crowd sang along to every word of each song (as opposed to NFG, where most people only knew the words to the singles). The crowd-pleasing set was fairly low on dialogue, instead utilizing the (roughly) 75-minute set to play as much material as possible, including some requests. Carraba did mention a few things, including how much he enjoyed playing the smaller venues and the fact that many of his family members were watching from the side of the small stage.
The band opened with a nostalgia-inducing trio of "Brilliant Dance", "Again I Go Unnoticed", and "The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most". They went on to play a near-perfect mix of all of their material, including plenty of older songs that aren't often heard. Lefler also played one of his own songs, "Up My Sleeve", and the band covered Ingrid Michaelson's "Breakable." The duo left the stage after playing "Stolen," but the crowd knew they weren't done. They came back out and Carraba announced, "This song's about the best day I've ever had in my whole life." Fans erupted as he strummed the opening notes to the band's biggest hit, "Hands Down". It was fitting, because this intimate show was surely one of the best I've been to in quite some time.
Also be sure to check out all of my photos from the show here.