March is usually not the time of the year to think about festival shows. It is nearly not sunny, nor hot enough for artists and bands to play to thousands of fans outdoors. A Day to Remember (ADTR) had different ideas though. They decided to host the Self Help Festival at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino on Saturday, March 22.
ADTR and the stellar lineup are known for festival showings, especially for the summertime Warped Tour. Premature to the summertime festivities, the event brought the bands and thousands of fans out in the cool, 70-degree Southern California weather.
One outdoor and one indoor stage paved the way for those playing and those in attendance.
A Day to Remember
Playing last, of course, was host of the event, ADTR. They helped put together this inaugural event to the masses and did not disappoint.
They led off their set with full force, playing “All I Want” to those who anticipated their arrival. Explosions of confetti filled the crowd towards the end of the song and the band seemed just as excited as the fans were for the rest of the set. “Wax Larry” followed by two more songs off previous albums.
Their fifth song brought in songs off their latest album, “Common Courtesy.” “Right Back at it Again,” “The Document Speaks for Itself” and “City of Ocala” followed consecutively.
After these songs were two slower songs with “I’m Already Gone,” which a lot of the crowd did not really know, yet the band tried to get fans to sing for them but failed. But the band regained momentum immediately with fan-favorite, “If it Means a lot to You,” which the entire crowd sang and know much better than the previous song.
The band brought along an orb ball that lead singer Jeremy McKinnon rode along the audience for a few minutes of the next song. The clear ball had him running atop the crowd and had him have his balance for much of the time he was in the ball. This was a pretty cool moment for both fans and the singer.
One of the band’s heavier songs in “Mr. Highway’s Thinking About the End” showed the band’s aggression with McKinnon’s growling vocals and a powerful breakdown after the lyrics, “Disrespect your surroundings.”
“The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle” concluded ADTR’s main set. But like all headlining artists, the encore was a must. And for the five-piece band out of Ocala, Florida, not one, not two but three songs were enough of an encore to send fans home happy.
“Violence (Enough is Enough)” and “All Signs Point to Lauderdale” had fans and band jumping and singing together in unison. Finally, the night was about to end when the catchy into to “The Downfall of Us All” began. Confetti and streams filled the sky and stage at the conclusion of the song and sent everyone home happy.
Bring Me the Horizon
The “Self Helpians” were explosive from start to finish for Bring Me the Horizon‘s (BMTH) set. The band’s new album, “Sempiternal,” has had rave reviews all around and those in attendance sang to each of their songs off the album. Clear and recognizable vocals from Oliver Sykes helped the fans sing along for the entirety of their set.
“Can You Feel My Heart” and “Shadow Moses” opened the band’s affair with the So Cal crowd.
Six of the band’s nine songs were off their latest album. “Diamonds aren’t Forever,” “It Never Ends” and “Chelsea Smile” were the only songs off previous albums, but that did not take away from the performance.
Even though their set seemed short and sped by rather quickly, the band solidified their dominance for the evening.
Of Mice & Men
Make no mistake about it, Of Mice & Men (OM&M) sound different than previous albums. A new singer, clean vocalist Aaron Pauley, and having the band move slowly from post-hardcore into the nu metal realm will make any band sound different. But, that is not always a bad thing. The transition may have disappointed some fans, but many have stuck around and are here to stay.
“Bones Exposed” lead off the evening with eight songs to follow. The Southern California natives played many of their popular songs such as: “O.G. Loko,” “Still YDG’n” and “Let Live.” “The Depths” closed the band’s set and excited the fans for what was to follow.
Lead singer and unclean vocalist Austin Carlile seems as though he can not scream on the mic like he used to. It did always sound painful when listening to the band’s first two albums and live and it seems as though it is now catching up with him. Many of the songs did sound slightly different than they did previous shows.
Memphis May Fire
Playing last on the indoor stage was Memphis May Fire (MMF). Unfortunately, MMF was only able to fit seven songs into their set. The entire set was extremely loud for all band members’ instruments.
The band played seven songs spanning from their new album, “Unconditional,” released only a few days after this show, to their EP, “Between the Lies.” “The Sinner,” “Alive in the Lights” and “The Deceived” were among some of the band’s songs.
“Miles Away” saw guest vocals from Michael Jagmin from A Skylit Drive. This excited the band and fans.
The crowd did seem very much into the band’s set but some were not as impressed as others. Lead singer Matty Mullins vocals overpowered the rest of the band. This was a bit of a disappointment and did not shine light on the rest of the band.
With some of the members of the now deceased Woe, is Me, this six-piece band Issues have quickly made a name for themselves in a few short years. Led by Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn on clean and unclean vocals, respectively, these guys played the now very humid hanger of the indoor stage.
“Stingray Affliction” kicked off the band’s set followed by “Love Sex Riot.” With the band’s mixture of screaming vocals by Bohn and smooth R&B sounding vocals from Carter, this band is here to stay for awhile. They just released their full-length album in February and have their on-stage performance is top notch.
“The Settlement” followed by “Hooligans” ended the band’s extra humid set for the evening.
Said many times by the band’s lead singer Chris “Fronz” Godzilla, the guys in Attila flew all the way out from Atlanta, Georgia just to play this show. The band showed their dedication to the fans by playing a set that filled the air with breakdowns, screams, growls and vulgarity.
Keep the kiddies away as Attila’s lyrics are not going to be showcased on the Disney Channel anytime soon. Sex, drugs and rock and roll are all the rage with these rockers lyrics and it show why they are at the top of their game.
Songs ranged from all of the bands albums including: “Rage,” “Party with the Devil,” “Callout,” and “Middle Fingers Up.” The band rounded out their set with “Payback” and “About That Life.”
Stick to Your Guns
Hailing from the Orange County, the hardcore quintet in Stick to Your Guns (STYG) did not slow down once during their set; neither did their fans. This was technically the second date of their final tour (“Fuck the Message” Tour) in support of their last album, “Diamond.” Following the tour they will begin their next album.
A lot of the band’s songs include fan encouragement with chants and sing-alongs by the fans. “Against Them All” is a song where fans can easily get involved. And they did just that during the set. Other songs that were played were “Such Pain,” “Bring You Down” and “We Still Believe.”
The whole crowd was rowdy from the first song until the last for the entire set. Crowd surfing, stage dives and moshing were aplenty for the band’s set.
“Amber” closed the set and riled up fans even more as pits grew larger by the peak of the song.
Terror, much like their good friends in STYG, have plenty of hardcore running through their veins. Bands were blown away by the loud and fast rhythms by the band from Los Angeles. Just like STYG, stage dives, crowd surfing and moshing were almost mandatory and had the fans wanting more.
Terror had one of the better and most explosive sets from the band and fans alike. The crowd never slowed down. The pit increased in size minute after minute. At one point, three pits merged into one.
“Live by the Code,” “Always the Hard Way” and “Stick Tight” were among the band’s songs.
“Keepers of the Faith” concluded their set and sent the fans into a frenzy when it began. This was a great band to have on this festival.
Playing early on the indoor stage was letlive. These guys brought the craziness with them from down the freeway in Los Angeles. Their tenacity and wild antics of lead singer Jason Butler helped lead the five man team to a road many would not dare cross because it is too wild.
Butler spoke for the intermissions to his friends and family to the side of the stage with his loving and caring words of sympathy. That seemed to be the only thing that slowed these guys down but it made up for the wild show that the band brought.
Rotting Out was scheduled to play early on the indoor stage but unfortunately had to cancel due to a lot of their equipment being stolen the night before in Oakland.
The wait for the will call line was ridiculous. It was unorganized and very slow. Only four windows (two for last names A-L and two for M-Z) were open for the thousands of fans who paid $47 per ticket. Some had to wait more than three hours just to get their ticket. No barricades were separating the distraught fans eager to get in. “We don’t deserve to be treated like this for the amount of money we paid.” said one fan. There needs to be a lot more organization for future Self Help Festivals.