MONUMENTOUR: Fall Out Boy & Paramore | Red Rocks | August 12

Built for two fan bases that have melted into one over the past decade, Fall Out Boy and Paramore’s aptly named “Monumentour” hit Colorado last night with excitement and insane amounts of confetti to match. The lineup of New Politics, Paramore and Fall Out Boy seemed to be a dream combination for fans both new and old, since both headliners have seen a reboot in their bands and fan bases over the past few years. Oddly enough, it felt to me that only one of these bands is still winning the battle to achieve full-fandom happiness. Fall Out Boy may have a song called “The Phoenix”, but the only person I saw truly rise from the ashes on Tuesday night at Red Rocks was Miss Hayley Williams.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a Fall Out Boy diehard, which is why I think this realization presented itself to me quickly last night. I’ve seen the band countless times, from an acoustic set at Northfield Stapleton when “Sugar, We’re Going Down” first began it’s radio takeover, to going out of my way to attend one of their “surprise” sets at SXSW in 2013 just after they announced their return. Out of the dozen FOB shows i’ve attended in the past decade, last night was the first time I felt out of place in the crowd. The band played a 20-song set, but it was heavily dominated by songs from the bands new album “Save Rock & Roll”. The set was broken up by a drum “battle” between Andy and Patrick, and a quite awesome cover of Queens’ “We Are The Champions”, but that left room for maybe seven songs to be split between their four older albums, not accounting for the required play of their radio singles. In my opinion, concerts are for the fans and should be taken as chances to play the deep cuts, the “fan favorites” off of each record. FOB’s Monumentour set list left little room for that. 

forgive the iPhone picture, but here's Fall Out Boy rocking the stage at Red Rocks.

forgive the iPhone picture, but here's Fall Out Boy rocking the stage at Red Rocks.

Halfway through the set, Pete Wentz asked the crowd to cheer if this was their first Fall Out Boy concert and the audience roared. Suddenly their set list made sense. Their new fan base has become their primary fan base. It appears that the twelve shows i've seen doesn't garner the same weight it used to, but their choice to focus on their new music and new fans has left us “oldies” a bit out in the cold. Checking my Twitter feed after the show last night I saw that I wasn’t alone in feeling like this, with most of my friends sharing similar sentiments. Rumor has it there were even kids in the audience trying to use the Shazam* app to identify “Saturday”, the last song of their set, truly their only “deep cut” of the night. I’m excited that Fall Out Boy has returned with a second wind, but their choice to ignore their own history on such a “monumental” tour left me sad. Bands need to continue to move and grow, but it’d be nice to see them tip their hat to the past every once in awhile.

To pull a complete 360º, last night was my first time seeing Paramore live. I’m not sure how, but over the past decade I’ve managed to miss seeing the one female I consistently refer to as “the girl who gave women a chance in rock-n-roll”. I was quite anxious about what their show held in store. Had I missed my chance to hear my old favorite songs? Would the new band be half as good as it was with the Farro brothers? Would Hayley be dismissive of their past? Or as energetic as i’d heard? The minute the band took stage, I knew I had nothing to worry about.

again, sorry for the iPhone shot. Here's Paramore covering their crowd in endless confetti. 

Hayley’s energy exuded from her before the music even started. Kicking things off with “Still Into You”, the band then promptly broke out four tracks from their other three albums. High kicks, backflips, huge LED lighting displays and confetti galore, Paramore truly owned the stage. It was clear off the bat that this Paramore is new, this Paramore is different, but this Paramore has taken time to understand their past, and they’re better because of it. Hayley took time out of the set to mention to fans that this summer marks the bands tenth anniversary. Emotionally speaking about the challenges they’ve faced in this decade, she acknowledged that despite their ups and downs, she believes there is still work to be done. She pointed out how many familiar faces she saw in the crowd, and how amazing it was to see people still here despite the changes of the last few years. Before charging into “Last Hope” (which she dedicated to Robin Williams), she told the audience “we’re all a part of something bigger, you are a part of something bigger. Remember that.”

Last night was the first time all summer I found myself understanding Hayley’s strange stage outfit for this tour. Dressed in oversized boxing shorts and knee pads, her outfit is a metaphor: she’s dressed like the fighter she is. Paramore has certainly changed, but they’ve grown with their fan base without entirely uprooting themselves. Ms. Williams has stayed committed to the people who’ve helped them rise to the top, and has both literally and metaphorically kept swinging. Cheers to another ten years, Hayley. You’ve got it in you, and you’ve got us all at your back cheering you on. - Maddie



*Public Service Announcement that the App Shazam doesn’t work on live music. Soundhound sometimes does. But STILL. Don't do that at shows. Facepalm.

Northern Nights | The Redwoods' Finest (Boutique) Festival

To say the second annual Northern Nights was a colorful festival would be a sore understatement. To even remark that it was brilliant would also be slightly unfair. I've attended festivals since I was a wee lad, so I've long been immersed in festival culture—its colors and characters and sounds. And growing up in southern Ohio, the first festivals I attended were tucked away in the hills, void of corporate injection, and had a far more prevalent sense of freedom than the (still fun) bigger and more renown festivals. Northern Nights reminded me of all the reasons I fell in love with fest culture to begin with. 

Northern Nights takes place at Cook's Valley Campground—a private property off Highway 101 in northern California, nestled along the Humboldt/Mendocino County line, bordering the Eel River, and in the midst of what's known as the "Redwood Curtain." Camping is available along the river—or, the preferred option—in a redwood grove not far from the main stage, the Silent Frisco tent, or the river stage. The proximity between the camping area and the stages make visiting your campsite throughout the day and night painless. We ventured back multiple times each day and night to change, refuel, rehydrate, and regroup. 

Featuring local brews and wines and affordable food, the festival has no hint of corporate fingerprints. Pizza went for $2.50 a slice and local wine just $6 a cup. The festival grounds were also heavily adorned with colorful touches. Dreamcatchers hung from ancient tree branches, sofas were scattered throughout the redwood grove, covered in throw pillows and surrounded an area used for daily yoga, explorative workshops, and late night events like calming Spanish guitar and wild burlesque.

Sustainability is a huge focus of Northern Nights, with a committed focus to remaining traceless. Bins are conveniently located in every direction, including bins for recycling and composting. It's vital to return the landscape to her former glory, and these cats make sure it gets done.

A beautiful landscape, affordability, sustainability, and an art-centric set-up—what more could you want? Badass music, of course. Northern Nights' lineup this year included a perfect mix of well-known EDM and hip hop artists as well as an amazing roster of up-and-coming artists. Zion I closed out the first night of the festival, leaving a crowd wildly dancing and heading directly to the Silent Frisco to continue a till-sunrise silent disco set. Saturday and Sunday included amazing shows by Fort Knox Five, Dimond Saints, Beats Antique, Little People, The Floozies, Giraffage, Odesza, and Mr. Carmack (among many others). 

Between sets, artists roamed the grounds. David Satori, of Beats Antique, joined the river patrons for a float while electronic acts rocked the river stage. Meanwhile, Zoe Jakes, the face of Beats Antique, grabbed vegetarian fare alongside festival-goers while Fort Knox Five raged in the background. Dimond Saints performed their mix of Dirtwire's Taïga and the party continued till sunrise Monday morning, following the last Silent Frisco. The festival closing after Odesza, where its founders, his parents, and all its employees joined the stage for a giant thank you to the crowd, was one of the most beautiful festival moments I've experienced. And by the sounds of it, the festival is on par to continue being an incredible scape for music lovers for many years. Northern Nights 2015 is already in the planning phase. And, I've already decided I'll be there again.

By Ashley M. Halligan