Check out my full review in Pittsburgh Music Magazine here!
2019. The end of an era. The end of a music festival that provided many with an escape each summer. With the end of the Vans Warped Tour came the start of Sad Summer Festival, with the hopes of providing that same escape. With a lineup of highly followed and admirable bands in each city, let us see how well Sad Summer Festival will fill the vacant emo sneakers left behind by Warped Tour.
Jetty Bones hit the stage first. Jetty Bones, also known as Kelc Galluzzo and her friends, is from a small town in Ohio called Urbana. The official name for the genre they/she fall into is Alternative/Indie and I could definitely agree with that, although I’d also say she’s got a bit of funky pop in the mix as well. I really loved her set.
Next on the roster we had California natives, Just Friends. They are considered “sparklepunk”, which essentially is a style that takes pieces of emo-style pop paired with rock guitar chords. Quite the interesting band to continue the show, but the fans were in the zone, while also trying to stay hydrated and alive from the dangerously hot weather.
Continuing on on this unruly hot day, we had Stand Atlantic, from Sydney Australia. They kind of had a heavier Paramore vibe to them. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that they’re female-fronted, I don’t know. I definitely think they threw in a good bit of punk into their sound, especially with the powerful vocals of lead singer, Bonnie Fraser. They put on a fun set and kept the crowd on their toes.
Up next, we had rock/indie/emo band, Mom Jeans, from Berkeley, California. They added a cool acoustic vibe that complimented their lyrics quite well. Not having been familiar with at least the first half of the day’s lineup, each band was a surprise to me. Mom Jeans really was because a majority of the people who came out for Just Friends, came out for them, which had me so confused. But the crowd never skipped a beat.
The Wonder Years played next, thus beginning the ‘headliner’ portion of the night. The beginning acts were all of various genres with a hint or so of punk inter-mixed into their sound. Starting now, we begin the pop/punk heavy part of the festival. Despite being early evening and it being a really hot day, the first chords of their set kept the crowd going, releasing their adrenaline.
Up next on set we had The Maine. In case you don’t know who they are, The Maine is an alternative band originating from Tempe, Arizona. Their pink and black aesthetic was so cool. I personally admire and like to listen to The Maine and it was fun to watch their set. Along with their colorful aesthetic, they also had a consistent theme of “Are You Ok?” And “You Are Ok”, with focus on depression and suicide. Lead singer, John O’Callaghan, even did a gender reveal for a couple they’d talked to before the show started. It was a girl! Later on in their set whenever they played their 2008 hit, “Girls Do What They Want”, they brought up a local band lead singer (and personal friend of mine), Shane Turner, to sing the bridge with them. Like the couple, Shane had talked to John prior to the show and it ended up working out. Shane has a great voice and it was really cool of them to be so interactive with the crowd, which of course they ate up.
Our second to last act of the night was Mayday Parade. They are another very popular rock/emo/indie band. I’ve seen them 3 times now and they’re entertaining to watch. They bring such an energy to their shows, and that goes for each member of the band. I’ve had such a good time shooting them the numerous times that I have. They tend to have a semi-mild sound, but that doesn’t keep the crowd surfers away.
Last but certainly not least, we had State Champs to close out the show. Whatever energy the audience had left from the day, they let it all out for State Champs. They brought the pop/punk sound and crowd surfing was in full force. The SC fans are so passionate and get deep into it and it’s as enjoyable to watch as it is scary, haha. They provided the perfect ending to what was a long, hot, fun, and music filled day.
I’ve never personally attended Warped Tour, but from hearing reviews from many of my friends and through the internet, it seems as though Sad Summer has great potential to take its place and be a fun summer music festival for many years to come!
For more on each band, check out my full-length review at the link at the top of this post, and check out photos below from the day, as well as on my Flickr page!