At the beginning of the month at the renowned venue Merriweather Post Pavilion one of the most highly anticipated musical events in the DC area so far this year occurred. On June 4th, 2007, the artists featured in this year’s Honda Civic Tour, an annual tour generally featuring rock-genre bands, performed in Columbia, Maryland. This year’s lineup featured The Academy Is…, Cobra Starship, +44, and Paul Wall, with the headlining act of the recently famed band Fall Out Boy: a diverse artist selection that certainly attracted a diverse, not to mention large, crowd.
As would be expected, an incredible amount of fans and concert attendees arrived early, greatly anticipating that evening’s show. This excitement was somewhat forgotten when the tour buses pulled up, and gaggles of fans also predictably rushed to the gates to screech at those exiting the vans. Mark Hoppus of +44 attracted a lot of screaming and swooning as he appeared from the highly noticeable, cartoon-covered +44 tour bus, although he seemed not to notice, and ignored the excited fans. Paul Wall, however, chose not to ignore the fans as he, a few hours before the show, left the venue, being driven in a car presumably to the hotel the bands were staying at. As fans (mainly girls) surrounded his ride, he waved and, of course, flashed his Ã¢â‚¬Å“grillzÃ¢â‚¬ at those squealing to him. To the fans that were waiting expectantly at the gates where the tour buses were in view, it was a disappointment that no members of Fall Out Boy appeared, although Victoria Asher from Cobra Starship was spotted briefly. Others remained at their places in line, clearly hoping to, when the gates were to open at five, manage to snag the places with the best view. Many a fan was not only sporting band merch, but also maybe a sign or a homemade T-shirt conveying individual messages to Pete Wentz: a tribute to his birthday the following day.
Although perhaps an hour before the show, heavy rain began to soak those waiting for the show who hadn’t brought umbrellas and jackets, and Cobra Starship, who were going to see the fans before the show weren’t able to appear, no one’s spirits were dampened. Maybe that was because around this time, wristbands for the pit and seating were being handed out, and excitement was definitely building.
Finally, at approximately five (the show started early presumably because of the amount of opening artists), the gates opened, and, ignoring the mud and heavy rain, concert attendees streamed inside, racing each other for the most elite spaces. Members of Fall Out Boy’s fan club were allowed in five minutes early, so many front row spaces in the large, maximum-packed pit were already consumed when the majority of the crowd rushed in. Pushing and shoving, after the first few minutes when everyone got settled in the crowd, was not at all a problem; mostly everyone seemed to be practicing concert courtesy, and few moshed throughout the performances (those who caused a fuss being lifted out by concert security). However, crowd surfing, once the performances began, was a definite trend, and few were dropped until they reached the barrier.
It took some time, however, for the first performers to begin, due to the rainwater streaming off the canvas shielding the pit down into the pit and in front of the barrier. Cords and equipment had to be relocated, obviously so the water wouldn’t damage anything or electrocute anyone. Soon enough the rain settled, as did those located on the lawn, and the show began, each artist or band throughout the show being well received.
Opening the show was Cobra Starship, the up and coming band whose musical style has been described by frontman Gabe Saporta as Ã¢â‚¬Å“punk-rock Justin TimberlakeÃ¢â‚¬. Whatever their genre was, the performance of the unique-sounding Cobra Starship was incredibly well liked by the crowd, many of who had never heard the band prior to that evening. Gabe Saporta had great stage presence. His gift for singing and lyric-writing meshes with the unique sound of the very talented instrumentalists (Alex Suarez on bass, Victoria Asher on keytar, Ryland Blackinton on guitar, and Nate Novarro on drums) to create music that, when performed, if this show was any example, triggers a lot of excitement and an equal amount of dancing and singing. The best received and most well known song that Cobra Starship performed was Ã¢â‚¬Å“(Bring It) Snakes on a PlaneÃ¢â‚¬. Something that may have and probably contributed to this was the fact that, during this song, both frontman of The Academy IS… William Beckett (who does vocals for the chorus in this song) and Paul Wall (who filled in for Travie of Gym Class Heroes, who typically does the rapping in Ã¢â‚¬Å“(Bring It) Snakes on a PlaneÃ¢â‚¬) made appearances.
Next in the lineup was rapper Paul Wall, accompanied by another rapper and keyboarder. His performance was probably the least well-received, but that is not in any manner a strike against him, since he was performing in front of an audience with, based on the styles of the majority of the artists they chose to see this evening, more of a rock-genre taste in music. He, like Gabe Saporta, had good stage presence. Members of the audience were certainly pleased when he distributed a number of free grillz.
Paul Wall’s grillz were not the only free merchandise to be distributed. Between performances, various activities occurred onstage, including free clothing and other merchandise being shot at the audience through a large gun-like contraption.
Following Paul Wall was an uprising band from Chicago known as The Academy Is… . William Beckett followed his first brief performance with an equally crowd-satisfying one, his one of a kind voice as pleasing as the sound of the generally mellow instrumentals produced by his equally talented fellow band members. The crowd was especially interested in TAI’s performance of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Slow DownÃ¢â‚¬, Ã¢â‚¬Å“We’ve Got A Big Mess on Our HandsÃ¢â‚¬, and Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Phrase that PaysÃ¢â‚¬Ã¢â‚¬”three popular singles of theirs.
By the time +44 got onstage, the crowd, perhaps growing weary of standing, was beginning to get antsy in anticipation of Fall Out Boy’s performance. However, +44 successfully recaptured the audience’s attention for the time in which they were onstage, playing a number of songs that the crowd both knew and enjoyed. Some numbers that were particularly crowd-pleasing including Ã¢â‚¬Å“Your Heart Stops BeatingÃ¢â‚¬, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Baby Come OnÃ¢â‚¬, and Ã¢â‚¬Å“DammitÃ¢â‚¬. That particular song was not in fact by +44, but by Blink 182, the renowned former band including two of +44’s band members, drummer Travis Barker and frontman Mark Hoppus. Victoria Asher of Cobra Starship made a surprise appearance for the song Ã¢â‚¬Å“Make You SmileÃ¢â‚¬, a popular +44 song including female vocalist Carol Heller, which Asher carried out fantastically.
Although all of the acts prior to the headlining act were very much so enjoyed, many in the audience were in huge anticipation of the appearance and performance of Fall Out Boy. Fans grew impatient at the long stretch of time between +44 and Fall Out Boy’s performances, during which a large structure was being assembled. This mystery structure detailed a tall platform on which Andy Hurley’s drum set was located, and plenty of room for the other band members to stand at different points in the show, with a ramp-like addition stretching down from the platform to the stage (used most often by frontman Patrick Stump). On either side of the construction were two opaque capsule-like structures comprised of what appeared to be a glass-like material. Audience members looked for any visible sign of the band with no luck, and when they finally did appear, their entrance was to everyone’s surpriseÃ¢â‚¬”as, instead of simply walking onstage as one might think they would, Joe Trohman and Pete Wentz literally popped onstage. Patrick Stump and Andy Hurley appeared suddenly as well, although not with as big of a bang as Trohman and WentzÃ¢â‚¬”who burst out of the two capsules and onto the platform, Trohman on the left side of the stage and Wentz on the right.
It is probably needless to say that Fall Out Boy’s performance was a huge hit with the audience, as it can be assumed that a lot of those comprising the audience came to Merriweather Post Pavilion mainly for their performance. Stump’s voice matched the sound conveyed on their three full-length albumsÃ¢â‚¬”a unique voice that, while it rarely enunciates words clearly, is nonpareil in tone quality. Surprisingly, Fall Out Boy’s lead singer was not the band member that spoke and encouraged the audience, as seems to be the norm, but instead Pete Wentz tackled this role, to the enjoyment of some huge Pete Wentz fans in the crowd. If this weren’t enough to please the audience, Joe Trohman certainly contributed to captivating the audience by never failing to jump, spin, or a combination of the two, something that would be, as one might think, difficult to do while playing a guitar. Not only this, but the screen behind the stage, which, up until Fall Out Boy’s performance, had remained blank, was constantly filled, whether by FOB music videos or other clever visuals.
Fall Out Boy played a refreshing variety of all of their biggest hits and best sounding songs from all three of their albums, even their first and least well-known album, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Take this to Your GraveÃ¢â‚¬. Their performance was very unpredictable, as they proved throughout their encore, during which Joe Trohman and Pete Wentz left the main stage (through those mysterious capsules) and reappeared at the back of the audience, by the lawn (to the happiness of those further back). Andy Hurley was also relocated, but only to the front of the stage, where he continued playing the drums. In addition to these surprise relocations, pyrotechnics was part of Fall Out Boy’s show, and the appearance of fire made their encore’s quality superb.
All in all, each of the artists performed incredibly well, and each of the performances were a pleasure to watch. Those who share my opinion of the quality of those on the Honda Civic Tour will be pleased to know about some upcoming tours announced that evening. In August, The Academy Is… and Cobra Starship will be touring together in Australia and Japan, for those of you willing to travel! The Academy Is… will be following their Australian/Japanese tour with a fall tour with Armor for Sleep. And finally, Fall Out Boy has announced their own fall tour with Gym Class Heroes. I recommend that if given the chance, you attend one (or all) of these shows!
Has 2007 proven to be better then last year? That is the question and we are looking for an answer, but a full year in review will have to wait another 6 months. The second half of the year looks promising with releasing from Paramore, The Rocket Summer, Motion City Soundtrack, Jimmy Eat World and more coming in the next few months. But what has the first half of the year done for our endless music craving? Releases from Anberlin, Relient K, Sherwood, Fall Out Boy and more hit shelves with lots of fanfare, but did they live up to the hype? This year is also filled with lots of sophomore albums from bands like Sullivan, The Fold, Paramore, My American Heart, Circa Survive and many more. Did these releases fall into the sophomore slump or are they destine for greatness.
Each year there is always one stand out band that comes out of nowhere to please our ears. So far this year The Graduate has done that for me. Their Cartel style rock rings out on their debut album, Anhedonia. With 6 months left in the year they could be beat, although the challenger would have to put up a pretty good fight.
This was just a brief review that covers just a few of the releases that have come out this year. This year is shaping up to be a pretty good year for new music. Now it’s your turn to let us know which releases you have dug so far this year and which releases didn’t meet your expectations. Also let us know which releases you think will dominate the second half of 2007.
According to the latest newsletter sent out to the official Fall Out Boy fan club; “The Take Over, The Breaks Over” will be the next single off of the groups platinum selling album Infinity on High.
If you missed Fall Out Boy performing “Thnks fr the Mmrs” live on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” you can check out the video below.
In their third segment of “A Conversation with Pete and Mark” Pete Wentz interviews Mark Hoppus and they talk about The Honda Civic Tour and what to expect from both +44 and Fall Out Boy’s shows. Check out the video here.
Fall Out Boy has announced that due to personal issues beyond the bandÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s control, the first few weeks of The Honda Civic Tour have been delayed. These shows will be rescheduled to the end of the tour.
Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz says, “Just wanted to give everyone a heads up, we are planning on this being the biggest and best Fall Out Boy show that we could possibly have. Unfortunately, because of some personal issues we had to delay the tour a few weeks. We want to put on the best possible show we can and know that this extra couple of weeks will give us the time to put ourselves in the right place to put on the best show we can. The shows from the earlier part of the tour will be rescheduled to the end but all tickets will be honored for all moved shows. Again we apologize. Our fans really mean the world to us and I promise the wait will be well worth it.”
The only show that could not be rescheduled due to routing conflicts is the Sacramento show. Ticket holders for the Sacramento show can refund their tickets and can also re-buy tickets for the Concord date at point of purchase. Tickets may also be exchanged at Concord box office night of show for comparable price level, subject to availability. Refunds for all rescheduled shows will be given at point of purchase.
The Honda Civic Tour updated schedule is as follows (dates and venues subject to change):
May 11 Coors Amphitheater Denver, CO
May 12 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater Kansas City, MO
May 13 Mid America RCC Council Bluffs, IA
May 15 Mark of Quad Cities Moline, IL
May 16 Target Center Minneapolis, MN
May 17 The Bradley Center Milwaukee, WI
May 18 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater St. Louis, MO
May 20 Blossom Music Center Cleveland, OH
May 21 Riverbed Music Center Cincinnati, OH
May 22 Post-Gazette Pavilion Pittsburgh, PA
May 23 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater Virginia Beach, VA
May 25 The Bell Centre Montreal, QC
May 26 Molson Amphitheater Toronto, ON
May 27 DTE Energy Music Theatre Detroit, MI
May 28 Darien Lakes Per. Arts Center Buffalo, NY
May 30 Saratoga Per. Arts Center Saratoga, NY
May 31 Tweeter Center Boston, MA
June 1 Tweeter Center Philadelphia, PA
June 2 New England Dodge Music Center Hartford, CT
June 4 Merriweather Post Pavilion Columbia, MD
June 5 Nikon at Jones Beach Theater Wantaugh, NY
June 6 PNC Bank Arts Center Holmdel, NJ
June 8 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater Indianapolis, IN
June 10 Charter One Pavilion Chicago, IL
June 11 Charter One Pavilion Chicago, IL
June 13 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater Charlotte, NC
June 14 Hi Fi Buys Amphitheater Atlanta, GA
June 15 Ford Amphitheater Tampa, FL
June 16 Sound Advice Amphitheater West Palm Beach, FL
June 18 CWM Pavilion Houston, TX
June 19 Smirnoff Music Centre Dallas, TX
June 20 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater San Antonio, TX
June 22 Cricket Pavilion Phoenix, AZ
June 23 The Forum Los Angeles, CA
June 24 The Pearl Las Vegas, NV
June 25 The E Center Salt Lake City, UT
June 27 Tacoma Dome Tacoma, WA
June 28 Pacific Coast Coliseum Vancouver, BC
June 29 The Rose Garden Arena Portland, OR
June 30 Sleep Train Pavilion Concord, CA
July 1 Coors Amphitheater San Diego, CA
July 2 The Honda Center Anaheim, CA