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A Look Back at Bamboozle 2012

I arrived at The Bamboozle Festival on Friday evening, just as the sun was setting over the Jersey Shore. I’d never been to Asbury Park before, so I decided to get the lay of the land before I wandered over to see Incubus. The layout of the festival was much different than it’s been the past few years, since it moved a bit farther south from its past location at the Giants’ Stadium parking lot.

I caught the second half of Incubus’ set and continue to be amazed at how tight they are as a live band…they’re as good as their recordings, if not better. One awesome thing about having the festival at Asbury Park is having the Main Stage right on the beach. Watching Incubus play “Wish You Were Here” with my toes in the sand was pretty cool.

It’s always surprising how many more people come to Bamboozle on the second day. By the time I arrived on Saturday afternoon, the beach was packed and people were ready to party. There was a rave on the sand, The All-American Rejects were rockin’ out on the Main Stage and I was headed to the Berkeley Hotel to interview Dan Didier, drummer for The Promise Ring. He had some interesting and insightful things to say about the band’s reunion and upcoming tour. Keep an eye on OurStage Magazine for the full article!

After the interview, I ran over to the Main Stage to catch Jimmy Eat World and My Chemical Romance (original headlining act Blink-182 had to pull out last minute due to a medical emergency, so My Chem filled in). Jimmy Eat World played a full set of classics and singles like “The Middle” and “Bleed American.” They put on a fun and dynamic performance that clearly satisfied their hungry fanbase.

My Chemical Romance has been one of my favorite bands for ten years, so it was a special treat to catch them at Bamboozle and performing in their home state of New Jersey. Playing a great mix of their four albums, the guys were as energetic as ever. Unfortunately, there seemed to be a problem with the live mix, so it was almost impossible to hear them for about half of the set. Even so, the crowd was certainly happy to see them and pleased with the eclectic setlist.

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Bamboozle 2012: Back to the Beach

For the past six years, fans of all musical genres have flocked to the Bamboozle Festival at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. They endured the rain, the blistering heat, the outrageous food prices and the  pain of standing for hours on end, but”at the end of the third day”they left the stadium parking lot with ears ringing and faces grinning.

Before East Rutherford, however, Bamboozle was located in Asbury Park, New Jersey and was known as the Skate & Surf Festival. Similar to the Vans Warped Tour, Skate & Surf was a twelve-hour event featuring over forty bands. The indoor festival featured such prominent “scene” bands as Allister, The Movielife and From Autumn to Ashes. In the years that followed, the newly-named Bamboozle Festival grew larger and larger, featuring performances from some of the biggest acts in pop, rock and rap.

This year, Bamboozle creator John D’Esposito is on a mission to bring back the intimate feel of Skate & Surf, while also booking high-profile performers from all genres. Headliners like Bon Jovi, Blink-182, Foo Fighters, Skrillex, Incubus and Mac Miller appeal to a wide audience, while smaller “niche” bands like the recently-reunited The Receiving End of Sirens, The Wonder Years and Like Moths to Flames will certainly draw their own crowds. In celebration of the festival’s tenth anniversary, D’Esposito even moved Bamboozle back to Asbury Park, where concert-goers can enjoy scenic ocean views instead of a crowded parking lot. And what would a party on the Jersey Shore be without a performance from DJ Pauly D?

What else is different for 2012? Here are a few of Bamboozle’s biggest changes:

  • Get your rice ready: The Rocky Horror Picture Show…starring Bamboozle performers? Needless to say, it will be hilarious.
  • No more tickets: The Bamboozle will use electronic wristbands instead of paper tickets. The wristbands will help staff to keep track of the crowds and eliminates the need for attendees to bring cash.
  • Higher admission prices: Moving the festival to Asbury Park was not cheap. Neither was bringing on some of the biggest names in popular music today. Accordingly, admission prices are significantly higher this year (three-day passes are $81 more than last year), but the increase will still probably be worth every penny.
  • Linc’s Very Special Guest: “Linc’s Special Guest” is a performer that shows up for a surprise set during Bamboozle. Past performers have included everyone from Jack’s Mannequin to Journey. But this year, Linc’s guest is “Very Special,” and is a Sunday night headliner. Rumors have been swirling for weeks, with the most popular guesses being Bruce Springsteen and Nicki Minaj.

Bamboozle 2012 will be held May 18-20 in Asbury Park’s North Beach area. More wristband purchases and more information, check out their official Web site.

Never been to Bamboozle? This trailer from the 2011 Bamboozle Documentary gives you a taste of what this epic weekend is like. You can watch the full documentary here.

Press Shuffle: Songs To Rock Out To

I challenge you to find someone that doesn’t like rock music. You may find this task nearly impossible to do, and the reason is simple: Rock music is incredibly diverse and influential. It’s been the music of every generation since the ’50s, and it’s still as relevant as ever. Nowadays, there’s a plethora of sub-genres that have spawned throughout the years from subcultures in many regions of the world, and each of these has its own defining identity. In homage to the rock genre (much used as an umbrella term), we’ve collected many catchy songs from this super set and chosen a select few representatives to showcase the variety of rockin’ music we’ve got available here on OurStage. Don’t let these guys intimidate you; head on over to the Rock Channels and get ready to discover more future rock stars.

Water and Bodies

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Q&A: Incubus Wonders "If Not Now, When?"

Where does a band go after selling millions of albums, topping the Billboard charts, and packing stadiums worldwide?  If you’re Incubus, you go back to school.  During the band’s hiatus, guitarist Mike Einziger studied music composition at Harvard, while singer Brandon Boyd took classes at art school and recorded a solo album.  Feeling the urge to collaborate once again after their time apart, the members of Incubus recently reunited to record their newest album If Not Now, When? We spoke to Incubus singer Brandon Boyd about his approach to lyric writing, the charitable activities of the band and why the new album isn’t as different from Incubus’ past material as it might seem.

OS: Several members of the band have mentioned that the need to spend time in real life led to Incubus’ lull in activity.  What motivated the end of your hiatus?

BB: I think what motivated the end of our hiatus was a collective desire to write together again. I had just finished my first solo album and I was feeling like my songwriting muscles were primed to get into some larger ideas. I know Mike had spent the past two years in a classroom too, so I would imagine that he was itching to play hooky.

OS: If Not Now, When? represents yet another move away from the heavy rock style of past Incubus releases.  How would you characterize the band’s new sound?

BB: I wouldn’t necessarily characterize it as a “new sound” per se. But more of an intuitive shift in the unending process that we have been operating in. Even our hiatus was part of that process. But this new album is as honest a representation of us as artists right now as we could deliver. I think it adds a needed juxtaposition to what we have written thus far!

OS: The cover of the new album is a photo of a man on a high wire.  What’s the significance of this image with relation to the record?

BB: Spoiler alert! I joke. I have lots of ideas in mind about what this image represents. But I’d rather the listener muster their own version of what he represents in relation to this work. Ha! That is if they actually buy the album, and not just “borrow” it indefinitely.

OS: In your new songs, it seems like the lyrics are sparser than in previous Incubus releases.  What’s the impetus behind this shift?

BB: I have been on a slow progression towards this notion for many years. My greatest challenge as a songwriter has been to say more by saying less. I’ve always been my most communicative in ink. And apparently I have a lot to say. But the most rewarding experiences I have had while communicating this way have come when I can squeeze a Galaxy into one sentence. This album is the closest I have come to it yet! Thanks for noticing…

OS: You’ll be going on a mammoth US tour following the release of the new album.  What’s it like getting back into some of the older Incubus songs that you haven’t played in a while?

BB: Most of the older songs are a lot of fun to play! There are a few here and there that make me cringe and I try and distract the guys from them with physical humor or threat of bodily harm. But for the most part we are quite proud of our catalog.

OS: In a live setting, how will your less aggressive new material fit in with some of the mosh-inducing songs in your back catalog?

BB: There is a notion held by some people who aren’t as familiar with our band that we are and have been an exclusively “heavy rock” band. The fact of the matter is, we have always had a vast diversity of music that we write and perform. We aren’t dissimilar to the patterns of normal human behavior in that respect. Sometimes we feel heavy, sometimes we feel light. The trick is finding the balance amongst that gamut of emotions. That’s really all we have ever tried to do. But to answer your question more specifically, the new material fits in beautifully!

In truth, every one of our albums going all the way back to 1997, have had moments of calm, moments of serenity, feelings of strife (at times) and then odes to grace. One of the things I enjoy about being in this band is the freedom to express any and all of those emotions.

OS: Since 2003, the band has given a portion of its proceeds from touring and record royalties to the Make Yourself Foundation for charitable causes. What social responsibility comes with being in a famous band?

BB: For clarity’s sake, we created the MYF in 2003 as a way to donate monies to a few specific causes that we’d been working with. We started by doing a series of live recordings and selling them online then donating all of the earnings to said charities. We’ve evolved it into a way to as well meet some of our listeners every night through a series of EBay auctions and all of those proceeds have gone to help fund a now large number of charities. Since 2003 we have raised about 1.5 million dollars and brought some needed eyes to many wonderful organizations! It has been a really cool way to introduce young people to the idea of socially conscious service and, as well, meet many of our long time listeners! Win, win. You can go to themakeyourselffoundation.org to get more information and visit some of the places where the funds have gone.

Cheers! See you on the road.

Check out Incubus’ summer tour dates and watch their new video for “Promises, Promises” below!

Rock 'n' Roll Call: The Best Rock Albums of 2010

Pop artists like Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Ke$ha and Rihanna dominated the charts in 2010. For us rock fans, though, this year was equally huge. There were countless bands reuniting, going out on anniversary tours, playing massive festivals and releasing new material.

In no particular order, here are some of the best rock albums released this year!

My Chemical Romance – Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys

Those of us who are diehard My Chemical Romance fans were awaiting the band’s fifth studio album with nervous excitement and eager anticipation. We hoped it would live up to the all the hype, but we were also completely unsure of what style the band would try on this time around, as each release has been vastly different from the last. Luckily, MCR delivered a beautifully bright, energetic and well-produced record that shows a freshly polished sound that includes everything from punk to disco. Check out our full review of the record here!

Recommended track: “DESTROYA”

Pierce the Veil – Selfish Machines

San Diego post-hardcore group Pierce the Veil released their sophomore LP, Selfish Machines, back in June. In the first moments of opening track “Besitos,” this album grabs your attention with hand claps, guitar picking, layers of harmonizing vocals and a Latin-influenced beat. PTV ramped up everything on this release, from Vic Fuentes’ unmistakable tenor shrieking to heavy breakdowns and impressive guitar solos. But these rockers can pull off the ballads as well, with the slow number “Stay Away from My Friends” being one of the strongest tracks on the record.

Recommended track: “Caraphernelia” (feat. Jeremy McKinnon of A Day to Remember)

Automatic Loveletter – Truth or Dare

Charismatic singer-songwriter Juliet Simms of Automatic Loveletter has not been an overnight success story. As she recounts on the track “Story of My Life,” she moved from Florida to LA at fifteen after being offered a record deal from Epic. As the label struggled, Juliet wasn’t dropped, but wasn’t supported either. Armed with her DIY attitude, Simms sold handmade copies of her record and feather hair clips to help support her band out on tour. All the hard work paid off, and Simms became one of the most sought-after guest vocalists, having provided her instantly recognizable raspy pipes to albums from All Time Low, Secondhand Serenade, Cartel and more . On the band’s major label debut, Juliet’s simple acoustic songwriting is taken to new heights, with stadium-ready choruses and charging electric guitars mixed with soft, piano-based ballads.

Recommended track: “Let it Ride”

Envy On the Coast – Lowcountry

Long Island, NY natives Envy on the Coast released the impressive Lowcountry in March. With creative lyrics, daring and experimental musical choices and stellar vocals from frontman Ryan Hunter, this record stands out among its peers as having some of the most original songwriting of the year. Equal parts Incubus, Circa Survive and The Dear Hunter, Envy on the Coast unfortunately called it quits this year as well. Be on the lookout for Hunter’s and guitarist Brian Byrne’s  new project, North Korea, which also features Dilinger Escape Plan drummer Billy Ryan.

Recommended track: “The Great American T-Shirt Racket”

Chiodos – Illuminaudio

When post-hardcore outfit Chiodos kicked out founding member and frontman Craig Owens, many fans were outraged. With his dynamic voice and inspiring stage presence, Owens was not only the band’s most charismatic and well-known member, but also a staple in the modern rock scene. Thousands were sure that this decision was the nail in Chiodos’ coffin, but the release of Illuminaudio showed that this band could carry on, and release one hell of a record. New vocalist Brandon Bolmer not only matches Owens’ range, but he also shows a flair for the dramatic on his lyrics, which was one of Owens’ strongest facets. The band members stepped up their game as well, adding more technical parts to each instrument and keeping the orchestral touches that made 2007’s Bone Palace Ballet a masterpiece in its own right. The breakdowns are heavy, the instrumentation is tight, the vocals are spot-on, so it’s clear Chiodos aren’t going anywhere.

Recommended track: “Those Who Slay Together, Stay Together

VersaEmerge – Fixed at Zero

Due to the success of Paramore, there are now hundreds of identical young female-fronted pop bands trying to find their place in the spotlight. But make no mistake, that doesn’t include Tampa, Florida natives VersaEmerge. Fronted by the electrifying 20-year-old Sierra Kusterbeck, Versa take pop rock to a new level, adding in complex electronic arrangements (courtesy of guitarist Blake Harnage), tightly layered harmonies and wonderfully honest lyrics about Kusterbeck’s own inner conflicts. The band’s first LP, Fixed at Zero, was released this summer and has catapulted the band to buzzworthy status, aided by a full-episode on MTV’s The World of Jenks and placement on the entire 2010 Vans Warped Tour.

Recommended track: “Fixed at Zero”

The Deftones – Diamond Eyes

When The Deftones‘ bassist Chi Cheng was involved in a horrible car accident that left him in a coma, the band shelved their near-completed album, Eros. A year later, they decided to return to the studio (with Sergio Vega of Quicksand filling in for Chi) and wrote what would become Diamond Eyes. The record is mercilessly heavy, verging on metal at times, but also has some slower numbers that add depth and atmosphere to the record. Vocalist Chino Moreno keeps up with the band’s flawlessly-executed prog rock with his high-intensity screams, which can quickly morph into soft and soulful melodies. If you’re looking for a record to rock out to, Diamond Eyes is definitely a front runner this year.

Recommended track: “Rocket Skates”

Ludo – Prepare the Preparations

Few lyricists today have the incredible imagination of Ludo‘s Andrew Volpe. Anyone who needs proof need look no further than 2006’s jaw-dropping five-song rock opera, Broken Bride, which is about a man who mistakenly time travels between the Pre Historic Era and a future apocalypse to save his dead wife. Though Broken Bride is brilliant and beautifully written, it’s going to be tough for Ludo to ever top it. That being said, Prepare the Preparations is an eccentric and quirky pop record, with lyrics that cover everything from robots to dancing skeletons to leprechauns. The songwriting is creative and more experimental than in the past, as Ludo covers everything from acoustic to electronic pop to straight up showtunes.

Recommended track: “Too Tired to Wink”

Foxy Shazam – Foxy Shazam

As we learned in our Q&A with Eric Nally of Foxy Shazam, it’s very difficult to categorize this outrageous and energetic rock group….and that’s the way they like it. Pieces of punk, soul, funk and indie rock make their way into the band’s self-titled record, which dropped in April. This isn’t a record that you’ll listen to and have to wonder if the group is just as fun live, as Foxy are well known for their off-the-wall theatrical performances. They may be an acquired taste, but either way, you have to give Foxy Shazam props for being genuinely original.

Recommended track: “Count Me Out”

Isles & Glaciers-  The Hearts of Lonely People

Since Pierce the Veil and Chiodos were both on our list, it makes sense that a supergroup including PTV’s vocalist Vic Fuentes and his brother, drummer Mike Fuentes, as well as Chiodos bassist Matt Goddard would also be included. Isles & Glaciers also includes (ex-Chiodos, now D.R.U.G.S.) vocalist Craig Owens, Emarosa/Dance Gavin Dance vocalist and solo artist Jonny Craig, Underminded/D.R.U.G.S. guitarist Nick Martin and ex-Boys Night Out/The Receiving End of Sirens‘ Brian Southall on keyboard and guitar. After many months of pushing back the release, their debut EP The Hearts of Lonely People was released in 2010. Different than any of the members’ past or present bands, Hearts is a mash-up of post-hardcore, electronica and pop rock. The three vocalists here, especially Jonny Craig, really steal the show.

Recommended track: “Hills Like White Elephants”

Leave us a comment below and let us know what your favorite rock album of 2010 were…then check back next week for our list of most anticipated rock albums for 2011!

Needle in the Haystack: Misions

This week’s “needle””four-piece rock band Misions”was discovered in Henryetta, Oklahoma. The band plays soft but upbeat music all over their local scene. And with over 100 shows under their belt, they certainly aren’t rookies. Misions focus on creating music that’s melodic and emotional, and despite their young age they tend to have a mature sound”one that would appeal to fans of Incubus and Coldplay. The group themselves describe their music as asymmetrical, and they use volume-variant song structures, which is a nice change from a lot of rock music. With plans to release a full length album and a supporting tour in the mix, Misions have a lot to talk about this week. We’ll be sure to get the scoop.

In the meantime, download and listen to the free track they’re offering in the player below. The song is called Same To Me and we think you’ll dig the soothing lead vocals. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Smokeout Festival 2010: Music, Politics, Higher Learning

The San Bernardino hills were alive with the sound of music (and the smell of some serious ganja) for the eleventh annual Cypress Hill Smokeout Festival, presented by Guerilla Union, this past Saturday. Forty thousand fans turned out for a day of food, music and of course”marijuana. This marked the first year that certified medical marijuana users were able to consume pot at the show in designated smoking areas. The festival featured a Medical Marijuana Expo that included voter registration booths, product samples and speaking panels on related issues like cultivation, Prop 19 and other relevant issues.

Authors Shirley Halperin and Steve Bloom led a discussion of their new book, Reefer Movie Madness, and hosted a day of stoner movies including Dazed and Confused, Friday and Pulp Fiction. Jeff Dowd, the real-life The Dude himself was on-hand to introduce The Big Lebowski.

Despite all the Prop 19 propaganda, the real attraction of the day was the music. Over 26 acts performed on three stages including MGMT, Los Rakas, Slightly Stoopid, Paul Oakenfold and Living Legends.

Nas showed no signs of stress from his current label feud when he joined Damian Marley for a high-energy performance on the main stage, looking and sounding better than he has in years. Damian’s floor-length dreads swung behind as he commanded the crowd to light up during his set, yelling, I heard this was a smokeout¦Everybody SMOKE-OUT!!

Legendary hip hop group, and the festival’s hosts, Cypress Hill hit the stage with Travis Barker on the drums, delivering a power-packed set of their hits I Wanna Get High and Stoned Is The Way.  B-Real and Sen Dog sounded as good as they did when the group burst onto the scene almost 20 years ago. After a beat battle between Barker and DJ Muggz, the crowd went wild for a rendition of their classic, Insane In The Brain.

New Amerykah, Pt. 2: Return of the Ankh

The real showstopper of the evening was Erykah Badu. The crowd waited with baited breath as Badu hit the stage in a blonde wig and plaid poncho that covered her from neck to knees, later revealing a seventies style shift dress. She opened her stellar set with her 2008 hit The Healer, emphasizing the politically peppered evening with a raised fist and animated delivery. After introducing her band, The Cannabinoids, she followed up with her throwback hit, On And On before performing mostly new material sprinkled with fan favorites like Tyrone.

By the end of the night, throngs of mellow music lovers gathered at the main stage to watch Incubus end their 18-month hiatus. Despite a lack of fresh material, save for the track “Surface To Air,” they wowed the crowd with classics like Drive and Stellar to close out the night on a high note.

As the first festival to formally blend fans’ love of music with their love of marijuana, only ten arrests were made (all misdemeanors such as public intoxication). Show sponsors and artists begged the question: Can pot smokers be united and assemble peacefully? Furthermore, is there a chance in hell Prop 19 supporters could see success on the November ballot? The answer, written across signs and t-shirts throughout the festival, was a resounding: Yes We Cannabis.”

See fan video of Incubus, MGMT, Slightly Stoopid and Deadmau5 performances from Smokeout 2010 here.

By Cortney Wills

Cortney Wills is a pop culture journalist born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has lived in LA, Chicago and NYC and enjoys all things entertainment.