Taste of Chaos Festival 2016
San Manuel Amphitheater – San Bernardino, CA – 7.16.2016
Photos by: Angelica Nicolle Abalos
Review by: Caleb Yee
Hosted by Rockstar Energy, the concluding date of the 11th Annual Taste of Chaos Music Festival finally arrived in San Bernardino, CA on a hot summer day in mid-July. The Acentric Magazine team arrived onto the scene during the later half of the day, just in time to catch The Early November warming up the stage.
The Early November
Glistening in summer sun and heat, a black sunburst Hagstrom Viking guitar shone in the center stage; the guitar strap hung around the neck of lead singer, Ace Enders, who sported traditional white t-shirt and denim jeans attire with a hip comb over. A vinyl white maple leaf covered the red colored bass of the drum set, rhythmically setting the tempo of the music derived from the instruments in the band. Eccentric drumming, thrashing guitar jams blasted through the speakers as band members jumped across the stage. With intense passion through their music, song after song, The Early November wailed out the lyrics as the crowd pumped their fists in the air; clapping to the rhythm of the beat under blue skies.
Following The Early November’s performance came the band, Senses Fail–a five-member band originating out of Ridgewood, New Jersey. Immediately, the double bass pounded through the speakers; its noise echoed across the stage and into the open air. “You’re all fucking old now!” shouted lead singer, Buddy Nielsen, as he pumped up the crowd with hands clapping in the air. Hundreds of fans stood across the green lawn witha few men boosting up their girlfriends on their shoulders as they screamed their loyalty to this raging band of guitar shredding misfits. Like nightcrawlers ready to capture the evening news special, festival goers whipped out their smartphones and Go-Pros to film the music playing to their deafening ears. Opening solos played aloud, flying beer cans travelled over the crowds, heavy riffs shrieked from guitars, and the hi-hats crashed with every beat. “What a great time to be alive!” Nielsen shouted to his audience as an hour of fanfare and sing-along continued until the next act rotated around on the stage-sized disc. The next act revealed themselves to the chaos of the crowd, ready to drown out the screaming voices within the crowd.
SAOSIN! – A California local band out of the city of Newport. Original lead singer, Anthony Green, as the prodigal son returned to his band family this year 2016; releasing new album Along the Shadows. One could sense the intense vibes and music madness that played from the speakers that stretched fifteen feet long on either side of the stage. Green sang frantically, throwing the microphone and stand across the stage and into the air. At center stage, Green dedicated the performance to the crowd, “We thank you for this beautiful summer day–this song is about you guys!” receiving shouts of “We love you Anthony!” from a loyal fan in return. Song after song, fans shook up the stage. Green handed the mic to one frenzied devotee after another, each person screaming line after line of distorted lyrics. This was the show to be at and the best kind of raging performance to witness. As the set came to a close, Green honored the crowd yet again, “Nothing makes me happier than to see everyone having a good time. Nothing compares to live music. Let’s get some music and some vitamin D!” And with a flying leap, Anthony Green left the stage and crowd surfed. The band ended their set with a final striking chord from guitar and fades into the crowd’s thunderous roar. Without a doubt, SAOSIN’s performance–and possibly the free Rockstar Energy drinks handed throughout the festival–kicked things up a notch.
The Starting Line
The crowd anticipated The Starting Line to take the stage. “Play ‘Island’!” some fans requested and screamed. To their disappointment–but was it really?–the band kicked off the performance with another one of their popular songs, “Up and Go.” Kenny Vasoli, who sported a natural wood finish four-string Bass guitar with a red pick guard, stood in front of a matted gold drum set; its deep and fast rhythms beating from the drum heads. The drum set glistened underneath the summer sun. Apart from other bands that have performed live onstage, this five member band included a keyboardist. Vasoli stood center stage. “Oh boy, am I ever out of tune. But not anymore!” Ending with their hit song, “Best of Me” received the most praise from the crowd during the band’s entire song set. Vasoli raised his hands up towards the sun as it set on his face. The band stopped playing as the audience screamed lyrics that were never more true until that moment: “We got older, but we’re still young. We never grew out of this feeling that we won’t give up.”
The Get Up Kids
A few more bands took the stage before the final two acts ended the festival in all its glory. The Get Up Kids and Quicksand played extensively as the hues over the horizon transitioned from sunny blues into a golden sunset.
Taking Back Sunday
The amber sun was almost set and the evening dusk creeped in over the mountain ranges of San Bernardino. By now, the stage had dimmed to nearly pitch black and the crowds were packed all across the fields of green. Taking Back Sunday burst forth from the stage greeting the fans with spontaneous flashes and lasers; each festival goer’s faces were painted red and blue by the stage lights. All that could be heard was an excited mob of fans roaring in hysteria. Hundreds of people sang along to the opening hits “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team)” followed by “Liar (It Takes One to Know One).” A sea of smartphones recorded the live show on Snapchat adding captions to the likes of “#GettingCray #OMG #TakingBackSunday #Childhood #Emotional.” Frontman Adam Lazzara gave a memorable speech in between songs with his preacher-like voice. The audience stood still as he has grabbed each festivalgoers’ attention with the speakers echoing his heartfelt words: “We’ve been doing this together, we’ve been growing together! I was there when you were smoking cigarettes out behind your high school. I was there when you got your driver’s license… and all that to say, ladies and gentleman, is I’m still here today.” Stage lights changed colors creating an aurora of yellow, white, and green hues. To top it all off, the traditional beach-ball-at-concerts finally made its appearance as it splashed on top of the audience and floated from one flying fist to another. Underneath a light of a purple hue, the band’s 2006 hit song “MakeDamnSure” came into play with its lyrics being screamed and spilled into the damp cool air. Just before the bridge hit, Lazzara started climbing onto the beams and ended his performance with a view of the crowd upside down singing along “I just wanna break you down so badly, I trip over everything you say, I just wanna break you down so badly, In the worst way.” Teenage angst-fueled passionate singing at its finest.
Finally, the headlining act for the night had at last come into the limelight. Dashboard Confessional was ready to finish the night off. A well-worn Fender American Vintage telecaster guitar of yellow and black appeared under the spotlight. Chris Carrabba wore the classic guitar over his shoulder; his appearance consisted of an opened denim shirt with a white T-shirt underneath and black skinny jeans. “Vindicated” played first. Everyone sang at the top of their lungs while colors of pink, blue and purple flashed from the stage in a glorious light show. One could tell when a devout fan was reflecting on a past unforgettable–childhood, college, and present nostalgic moments of the years of timeless listening to Dashboard Confessional. Vibrating guitar strings glimmered in the stage lights and flashes. The venue transformed itself into a grand show under the light of a nearly full moon. A dual set of VOX speakers can be seen taking up the center of the stage behind Carrabba, along with the flickering checkerboards of lights lined up in the background – a double bass drum set beating profusely and loudly. Suddenly, the stage went dark and a black acoustic guitar began to play. “Buried deep as you can dig inside yourself / And covered with a perfect shell, Such a charming, beautiful exterior.” Chris Carrabba relentlessly poured himself out into the crowd with his voice, “The places that you’ve come to fear the most is the place that you have come to fear the most.” Only passionate expressions and emotions of pure joy for his fans and his music were shown upon his face.
As the night came to an end, couples were seen sitting in the grass together under the dark skies. No one was talking–only the music could be heard, allowing everyone to relive what would be an ounce of the past within the present moment. Fluorescent lights and bulbs displayed on food trucks and carnival rides, the Swing ride silently operated on the back lot of the grassy field, exhausted merchants sat in their booths, and DC fans danced away to the music of the night. In the distance, Chris Carrabba led the crowd in an anthem to end the night: “Hands down this is the best day I can ever remember, I’ll always remember.”