IRVINE, California — The second-annual Bamboozle Left rolled into Southern California over the weekend, bringing some big names and fresh new talent with it.
One of the biggest draws of the two-day fest was Paramore, who attracted throngs of fans to their stage on Saturday. Just before the lights went up, a low rumble of "Par-a-more" arose from the crowd and dissolved into screams as the lights went up and Hayley Williams bounced onstage. The pint-size rock star with the larger-than-life voice rambunctiously jumped around the stage, with her fire-engine-red hair flailing around her. Fans ate up the performance, singing along and duplicating her moves.
Seconds after Paramore finished their set, current tourmates Jimmy Eat World took to the stage. As the guys burst into their hit "Sweetness" from the 2001 album Bleed American, the crowd joined in with every cry of "Are you listening? Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh." The group boasted the biggest and most age-diverse crowd of the festival by far.
The All-American Rejects and their ever-so-animated frontman, Tyson Ritter, closed out Saturday night by calling the Bamboozle fans "the hoodie generation." He then commanded that the crowd put their hoods up. Almost instantly, the crowd transformed from an endless array of hairstyles into a sea of black, white and grey dots. Ritter then debuted a new acoustic song called "Mona Lisa," which the guys joked before the set would be leaked onto YouTube by Sunday. The song will be part of their new album, which they are hoping to debut in September. The album has not yet been named, but the band assures that it will not be called Remember Us, as was reported in the Bamboozle program.
Pop-punk band the Audition were a crowd-pleasing favorite on Saturday too, as their soulful undertones and on-point performance transformed the audience's typical mosh-pit moves into the writhing body movements of lead singer Danny Stevens.
Hawthorne Heights took the stage Sunday afternoon for their first show since the accidental death of guitarist Casey Calvert in November. Calvert died due to a mixture of prescribed antidepressants and anxiety and pain medications. Fans wore "In Loving Memory of Casey Calvert" T-shirts in support of Hawthorne Heights, who thanked them for their well-wishes and played a song in Casey's memory. After the set, fans lined up to meet the band and expressed their condolences and encouragement in person.
While Bamboozle Left marked the first show back for Hawthorne Heights, it marked the last for My Chemical Romance. After spending the past two years on tour promoting The Black Parade, MCR are overdue for a break and a new album. They played the final set of the festival and gave concertgoers something to remember. As the band began to play the title track from Parade, the stage went black with a spotlight on lead singer Gerard Way, who acted as a conductor of the audience. The crowd sang the entire first verse without missing a beat.
With tens of thousands of people and a handful of rock bands playing, there was rarely a quiet moment, but Escape the Fate frontman Craig Mabbitt definitely silenced the crowd Sunday afternoon. In the middle of the set, Mabbitt dropped his mic, climbed the light tower 20 feet in the air and threw himself backward into the crowd. The crowd gasped, then going silent with confusion, shock and worry. Mabbitt's bandmates continued to play as the fans awaited his fate. After what seemed like several minutes, Mabbitt finally emerged from the crowd seemingly uninjured and finished the set as two stripper-esque dancers joined him onstage.
Jeffree Star transformed his stage into a West Hollywood rave on Sunday night. The audience watched wide-eyed and completely transfixed as the 6-foot-tall, pink-haired cross-dresser pranced around the stage in black booty shorts and 5-inch stilettos. Star definitely had the most controversial and original performance of the festival.
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