This weekend (May 18-20), the annual Bamboozle festival will be making it's grand return to Asbury Park, New Jersey. Even with it's star studded line-up of acts such as Bon Jovi, Skrillex, My Chemical Romance topping the bill, these 10 acts caught our attention.
Brand New (Playing: Sunday, May 20th)
Obviously. In what world would you not watch Brand New? They are one of the most relentlessly creative alternative bands to emerge this side of the millennium and the passion they put into their live performances only adds to the already fervent and heartfelt nature of their songs. From power chord-heavy pop-punk anthems to delicate tearjerkers to blistering, discordant scream-yourself-into-a-migraine post-hardcore, Brand New touch upon every possible emotional base, and with such an extensive back catalog of widely-revered material you never know what curve balls they might throw into the mix.
Essential listening: "Jesus Christ"
The pretty motherfucker himself. With thick, woozy beats soaked in codeine and swagged to the max, A$AP Rocky's beats filter a Harlem attitude through southern vibes making his mixtape "LIVELOVEA$AP" one of the heaviest hip-hop releases of the last year. On each track, Rocky slickly slurs his way through the drugged-up dreamlike atmosphere with seductive charisma and stylistic flexibility. Though the pace may be swirling and sluggish, expect an unmatched energy and magnetism in the A$AP crew's live performance, played out (of course) under plenty of purple lighting.
Essential listening: "Wassup"
It was a long wait between the epic "Light Grenade" and Incubus’ latest offering; "If Not Now When?" An aptly titled name for a record that had some big shoes to fill, but Incubus never fails to disappoint. Like the band’s namesake their music is both seductive and powerful, but putting sex demons aside for a moment it’s easy to see Incubus’ passion for their craft. You only need to read Brandon Boyd’s explanation of the new record on Bamboozle’s website to realize just how eloquent the vocalist is, both in lyric and in speaking of the band’s lust for the creative processes that form their anthems. For fans of Skrillex and The Gaslight Anthem alike, Incubus will not fail to please; catch them on Friday night.
Essential listening: "Drive"
Emerging out of their home studio after recording a Grammy-nominated album that was arguably their career best, the Foo Fighters are blessing Bamboozle with their presence. Dave Grohl and his team of musical masters (each in their own right) have sold out stadiums around the world, and with good reason. Whether you know them for "Best Of You", "Everlong" or "Learn To Fly", the buzz around their new album and their new shows is not without cause, and just one peek at their "Live At Hyde Park" DVD will let you know just what you’ll be missing if you don’t see this band; a group that will truly need no introduction come May 19th and will with no doubt bring Saturday to life.
Essential listening: "Walk"
Despite the recent news of vocalist Rachel Taylor not being able to tour due to health issues, the second half of He Is We, Trevor Kelly, will be bringing the story and message of the indie/pop duo to Asbury Park, NJ this weekend. Backed by their stunning live band and touring vocalist Stevie Scott, you will leave with nothing but a feeling of positivity and a desire to hear more.
Essential listening: "Happily Ever After"
After her blow-up single "Gucci Gucci" successfully became one of the most irritatingly catchy opinion-dividing tunes of 2011, the rapper/director/photographer/all-round innovative Kreayshawn has been unstoppable. Her snacks, kush and cartoons inspired thrift-store image and ballsy attitude have earned her the appropriate nickname "Swag Spice" as her fame continues to ride on a mixture of controversy and blogsphere buzz over whether or not her whole career is a gimmick. Hype aside, there's something about Kreayshawn that's undeniably engaging, and regardless of whether or not bratty white girl rap is your jam, she is sure to put on one hell of a show. Is she for real? Who cares. Have fun with it. She certainly is.
Essential listening: "Gucci Gucci"
With "My Dinosaur Life", Motion City Soundtrack managed to shake off the pop-punk label they had gained from their first few albums. "Go", the band's fifth full-length release, shows no signs of slowing down. The intensity found in their lead single "True Romance" provides an infectious melody, driven by energetic power chords, that is guaranteed to be stuck in your head on a first listen and has hopes to be a new live favorite alongside classics such as, "When You're Around" and "Broken Heart".
Essential listening: "True Romance"
After the release of "Time Travel" last year, Never Shout Never became a band that no one would have expected to jump on people's radars. Christofer Drew and company, who have recently been debuting a plethora of new songs on the road from their forthcoming album, "Indigo", will definitely be turning heads this weekend. Songs such as "Good Times" and "Till The Sun Comes Up" will be guaranteed to be stuck in your head along with re-worked versions of old favorites, "On The Brightside" and "Trouble".
Essential listening: "Good Times"
On the cusp of their hotly anticipated follow up, "Handwritten", produced by Brendan O'Brien (who has been at the wheel of Bruce Springsteen's most recent albums). YouTube videos of the band's latest single "45" being performed show that The Gaslight Anthem is a lot tighter in terms of their live sound but still manage to capture the rawness they have become known for from their back catalog.
Essential listening: "45"
Although not headlining, Jimmy Eat World are an unmissable addition to the Bamboozle line-up this year.
Despite being thrown into the "emo" category, don’t expect their set to be sleepy and introspective. With their definitive 2001 record "Bleed American" being home to timeless tracks like "A Praise Chorus", "Sweetness" and "Salt Sweat Sugar", sing-a-longs are ensured.
Essential listening: "Pain"