Back in the day I remember Taste of Chaos being the fall/indoor version of Warped Tour. Instead of a handful of stages, there were a mere two, and it was inside the air conditioned safe haven that is the Long Beach Arena. Then somewhere between then and last year, things went and changed. Last year it was still in the fall but it was not a tour but a one off show that featured bands from when I was in high school – so yeah, bands that first made a name for themselves a decade or so ago. The success of that (and nostalgia) allowed Taste of Chaos to return in 2016 but they went and moved it outside for good and made it a full on tour once more. Now, I appreciate live music as much as the next kidult (thank you Julie Klausner for my new favorite word), but outside in the blazing heat watching bands from when I was a mere adolescent? My body was not ready, my body was not ready!
First off, I want to say that I took pictures of this show BUT I thought it’d be cool to do them on a disposable camera for a true, blue throwback feel. What I didn’t know is that 1% of stores still develop them and if they do – it takes a week. So yeah, those pictures are tentative right now as it’s 2016 and not even 2006. Anyways, the sun was out and ready to destroy anything that walked the earth in San Bernardino that Saturday. Hoards of people in their 20’s and 30’s who once sang “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team)” at the top of their lungs like it was their after school job got checked at the gates with ease to then embark on a quick walk to the grounds. A handful of tents with merch, pot products and some art were bunched together like a tiny swap meet, while the food sat what seemed like miles away lined against the back fence. I can’t stress enough how hot it was outside, and with that you can imagine girls in very little and guys in shorts and tees – but um, there were one too many decked out in pants. What were they thinking? Possibly that they wanted to die of a heatstroke.
Enough of the backdrop because I feel like you already feel like you were there, so now I’ll talk about the music. Reggie And The Fill Effect was more comical than anything else with James Dewees insisting on lamenting on his weight and age, “I’m fat and 40,” seemed to be his tagline for the day – which he didn’t even utter once when he returned later that evening with The Get Up Kids. His hilarious set was enjoyed most by the group of what one can only assume were former frat boys who had enough energy for everyone as they started their own circle pit, over and over again. Hot Rod Circuit came and went, and The Anniversary hit the stage like a band straight out of Coachella. Not my cup of tea, I was starting to think about making my boyfriend order an Uber to escape. Then came The Early November. There was the energy I was waiting for. Not even a fan, I appreciated their tenacity throughout their set and they really turned the day around. Happy to be there, they made me abandon my Uber dreams. As did Senses Fail who delivered all their hits, and Saosin.
Anthony Green appeared like a one-man show and it was sort of a high and low. I love with lead singers interact with the rest of the band, but Green – nah, he knew he was the star on the stage and while watching – it was apparent that no one in the crowd would argue with him. On the other hand, I couldn’t hate on him because while I want to be bias and say Taking Back Sunday were the best of the bunch, I can’t lie. Anthony Green owned not only his time on stage, but the entire day. Which sucked for The Starting Line who had to follow and fell flat because of it. Hey, Kenny Vasoli tried with all his might, but it’d be like watching Kelly Rowland after Beyonce. They’re both talented as fuck BUT it’s clear which one going to edge out the other.
After The Starting Line came and gave me a little something, something I thought about sitting down because come on – I’d been standing at the barricade since 2:30pm or so and it was now after 7pm. My mind and heart started to argue. My heart was like, “Only two more bands until TBS,” but my mind was like, “Your body is now ready to die.” My heart won and through The Get Up Kids and Quicksand I stood, in agony. Mainly because of two of the rudest Get Up Kids fans in the world who thought it was funny to be more annoying than a hangnail while trying to do your hair. When those two bands were over, I’m not sure if I was more relieved that Taking Back Sunday was about to start, or that after them I was going to go sit in the car. Nevertheless, they came and my heart was happy she’d won over my mind. Playing all the songs you’d expect of them and a couple of new, Adam Lazzara caused quite the drama when he brought some beef to the stage. No, he didn’t chow down on some In & Out, but he did call out the guys and gal behind the Emo Night phenomenon. I’d typed out what could be compared to senior thesis about that, but thought I’d just end with this – Taste of Chaos, you’re a blast from the past and much appreciated BUT head back to the fall and back inside. Only because that heat on an almost-30-year-old body is damaging. Seriously, I had to nap the next day.