The Sunday Night Folk Festival
Song - Artist - Album
31. The Ditchling Carol - Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer - American Noel
The Vans Warped Tour 2012 came to the state's capital this year at the Comcast Theater, for the fourth year in a row to give CT a taste of punk, indie, alternative and everything in between. It's not only a place to listen to great music, but to hang out with thousands of kids of the same age and interests (okay, minus the group wearing shirts that said "i hate everything" and the kid with dinner plate-sized gauges BUT an interesting crowd nonetheless)
The layout of the event changed slightly this year, which many said was more confusing and I'd have to agree. The two main stages were at opposite ends of the property, making it difficult for fans to run inbetween to catch their favorite acts. There was also the unfortunate placement of the Acoustic Tent next to the Monster Stage, which resulted in some frustrated acoustic artists trying to hear themselves over the hardcore and metal music.
Before seeing any of the artists play, I passed a tent that contained about twenty kids, all with headphones, all dancing wildly in front of a DJ at the back of the tent. Yet, inside the tent was completely silent. I was intrigued so I went in, put on the headphones they handed me, and entered the silent dance party. Since the music was so loud in your headphones and it's synced with everyone else inside the tent, you forget that you look like a fool to everyone outside the tent because you're too busy dancing everytime the bass dropped. While you're dancing with everyone else in the tent there's this acknowledgment that you look ridiculous but you love it at the same time as you see people mouth to each other "This is SICK". Leaving the tent was a little bizarre because you feel like you were just in a different place entirely and not at a massive music festival. Very cool experience though.
I was able to make my way through the maze of teenagers over to the House of Marley Stage, where I caught the performance by Tomorrow's Bad Seeds. They're an American Reggae-Rock band made up of several musicians from Hermosa Beach, California. The bands line-up consists of Moises Juarez (lead vocals), Sean Chapman (vocals/guitar), Matthew McEwan (vocals/guitar), Pat Salmon (drums), and Andre Davis (bass). They have three full-length albums out, as well as a few singles that all have a style heavily influenced by reggae, ska-punk, and surf-rock that makes their sound unique to them. Their set was about half an hour and included some of their hits like "Nice and Slow" and "Only For You". I had expected the crowd around their stage to be a bit bigger because of how fun their sound is, but when these smaller bands compete with headliners such as Taking Back Sunday and All Time Low playing at the same time, it's to be expected. Yet, the crowd that did show up was full of energy, including a trio of hula-hooping hippies dancing around in circles to the music. The band was also full of energy and you could tell they were happy to be there. This show in Hartford was the 30th concert stop along the tour so it is incredible to me that the artists can maintain the same level of energy and put on a great show time after time.
Tomorrow's Bad Seeds
After another navigation through the maze of kids and stages, I made it to half of the All Time Low set, which was one of the more popular bands playing. The crowd was huge, pushing back into the vendors lining the area, and full of energy tossing kids over their heads to crowd surf. Even the lead singer, Alex Gaskarth, commented on the number of people surfing their way towards the stage. ATL played a good mix of their newer songs and some of the older classics ranging from "Weightless" to "Dear Maria Count Me In". These songs got the entire crowd involved singing along and jumping, managing to drop a few kids on their heads as their surf turned into more of a dive.
The fesitval ended with the reggae-rock band Ballyhoo! playing at the House of Marley stage. Even before they started playing there was a large crowd already gathered there. Ballyhoo! is a band out of Baltimore and described as "A rock band with punk energy and pop, reggae grooves, fun, fan-loving powerhouse". The band consists of Lead singer and guitarist, Howi Spangler, Drummer, Donald “Big D” Spangler, and Bassist, JR Gregory’s. They're also joined by Scott Vandrey (aka DJ Blaze) on the turntables and keys. They've performed in the past with 311, Slightly Stoopid, SOJA, the Dirty Heads, Matisyahu and several others, bringing them to the attention of reggae fans all over the county. They played their more well-known songs including "Say I'm Wrong" and "Close to Me". Again, lots of energy was felt through the audience, which was shown by the slow back and forth sway that the entire crowd adopted. It seemed that this was the perfect way to end a full and exhausting day of music.