Self Help Festival
The Self Help Festival was sponsored and run by A Day To Remember; the name came from the concept that people listen to screamo/heavy metal music to help themselves deal with problems in life. Anything organized by a band tends to be a bit….disorganized. However, the dysfunctional-ness of this concert rose miles above my expectations. A two-hour line meandered down three or so blocks…FOR WILL CALL TICKETS! And, of course, if you hadn’t bought a ticket yet, there was no line (which basically means that they were punishing the fans). The only respite from baking in the hot sun while (im)patiently waiting for our tickets was some free Jarritos dispensed from a truck by a very smart businessman. Fortunately, we only had to wait for one and half hours before the people running will call gave up and basically handed out free tickets. Did I by any chance mention that it was disorganized? I swear to you that no words can describe the magnitude of my frustration at A Day To Remember; what exactly were they helping us with? Getting a suntan while waiting on the scorching sidewalk?
At that glorious moment when I’d been handed my wristband and could barge into the complex where the festival was being held, a surge of panic almost knocked me over…had Memphis May Fire already played? Thankfully, I arrived to hear the last two songs of A Skylit Drive’s performance (about two hours before MMF played). The only times I’d ever heard A Skylit Drive’s music was the occasional song popping up on Pandora. I definitely liked what I’d heard, but didn’t really know their music super well. This being said, usually when I see a band that I don’t know well, I don’t like it as much. But ASD seemed to be an exception to this rule; their energy and vocal power impressed me.
Next to play was The Word Alive, another band I didn’t know too well. But I can say this: WOW. These guys kicked ass to the extreme. The raw energy of music pulsated through the crowd and infected everyone nearby. Before I could even process what was happening, a huge circle pit formed next to me and I had to begin the ever-present debate of safety versus moshing. After being thrown repeatedly in ever direction, I chose to pry my way to the front and attempt to not suffocate. The audience as a whole was jumping to the music so it didn’t matter whether or not you wanted to jump because all the jumping bodies crammed in next to you basically picked you up. In the last song, a few college students around me decided I wanted to crowd surf (which, admittedly, I did) and I took a ride on the hands of the crowd all the way to the barrier where (thankfully) the security caught me and lowered me to the ground (and gave me a meaningful look that translated to “Scram!”). The performance left me with a little buzz of energy than was quickly quenched when…
Attila played next, and all I’m going to say is, that’s music? Okay, moving on…
Issues. I’d heard a lot of great things about this band and expected a relatively good performance. What I didn’t expect was a massive fan base screaming along to every line ever sung or screamed by the surprisingly fantastic vocalist. Ever member on that staged loved what they were doing and ever person in that crowd loved the music and it created this aura…that’s what A Day To Remember means by “self help.”
Now, the band I’d waited for: Memphis May Fire! Being a 5’1” tall and slight-framed individual, I was able to squeeze my way to the front without pissing off any of the angry and tattooed men in the pit. Excitement built up as the roadies put together the drum kit and tested the mikes; I simply could not wait. Finally, after what felt like the longest wait ever (but was probably only ten minutes), Matty Mullins walked on stage and began one of the most dynamic concerts I’ve ever attended. That dude is a born front man. Screaming filled the humid and hot warehouse we’d been shoved into and the applause echoed off the rusting metal walls. As Mullins leaned down towards the front row and released a scream from the back of his throat, the crowd went nuts. Everyone was so excited that I could hardly contain my own euphoria. It was time to let loose. My dad, who chose to hang back a little bit, had a better glimpse of the stage and remarked that a concert with MMF was one that he’d never want to miss (I happen to agree with this assessment 100%). I had extremely high expectations and definitely wasn’t disappointed.
Next to play was Bring Me The Horizon. I own their album Sempiternal which is actually pretty good, but definitely not review-worthy material. I would have had a few compliments, but Oli Sykes, the lead singer, turned me off completely. He kept yelling at the people in the pit, “Kill each other! Kill yourselves! You suck! You suck! Fuck you! I love you guys.” Like….what? I was really confused. What an idiot!
Zoe Adler is a music journalist from Long Beach, California. Besides her website, which is her pride and joy, she works with the GRAMMY Foundation and the Long Beach Independent. Additionally, Ms. Adler is a musician, spending half of her time playing the flute, piccolo, trombone, and marching baritone. She has been with TeenView Music since the very start and hopes to make something of it in the future.