You know those days when you’re just waiting for something to go wrong? You try to make sure everything is running smoothly, but there’s only so much you can do. Well, Four Chord Music Festival 6 seemed to go exactly that way. From the issues with the ground covering and having to move the entire show to the Highmark Stadium parking lot, to the threatening rain, to the main act cancelling 5 minutes before doors, things started to feel like they were falling apart on the inside. Yet, as always, Rishi Bahl, the creator of the festival, still never gave up. The show went on, as the saying goes, and it turned out to be an incredible show. From the merch tents, the pro-wrestling, the tattoo parlor tent, and the music, it felt like the biggest Four Chord I’ve been to for the last 4 years. The rain nor the cancellation seemed to stop anyone from showing up.
Being that the festival was moved from Xtaza, where it has been held for the last 4 festivals, to Highmark Stadium, another difference this year was that it was produced by local promoting company, Drusky Entertainment.
With a large lineup of fairly well known bands, Four Chord 6 turned out to be incredible. So, let’s dive in and talk about the bands that played.
First off, we had pop/punk locals, Atlantic Wasteland. If you’re familiar with my blog, that name may ring a bell. They’re good friends of mine and I shoot their shows on a regular basis. They’ve got a great mix of pop and punk influences in their music and it’s very refreshing. I’ve seen so many of their shows, but I find myself enjoying each one better than the last. Ausinette (lead vocals), is like the hype woman because she’s everywhere and gets the crowd going. Sam (lead vocals, guitar) puts so much of himself in each performance. You can always tell from my photos cause I capture all his different facial expressions. They’re incredible. If you went to the festival and enjoyed them, they have another show coming up at Club Cafe on November 8th. They put their all into every performance and it’s great to watch.
Next up, and on the second stage, we had pop/punk Pittsburghers, Look Out Loretta. They are a very underrated band. They don ’t play very often, but when they do, it’s almost as if no time has passed since their last performance. Despite them being a small band, the crowd didn’t seem to care. Their energy during the performance was electric. The next time Look Out Loretta hits up a show, I strongly recommend you not missing it. These guys are excellent.
Back on the main stage, we had Fortune Cove, formerly known as Harbour, from Toronto, Canada. They have a sort of fast pop/punk style, which really got the crowd going, thus starting what would be a long evening of mosh pits and crowd surfing. They were a great compliment to the (new) headliners as well. They kind of reminded me of a more punk version of Fall Out Boy. Fortune Cove has played Four Chord in previous years, but under the name Harbour, so they were no stranger to the festival crowd.
Now we are headed back to stage 2, to talk about Keep Flying, an alternative pop punk band from Northeastern US. They’re unique for their inclusion of different and unconventional instruments, such as the saxophone and the trumpet, which were used during their performance. They blend the instruments together, almost as if they’re meant to be used. The crowd kept the moshing going, the drizzling rain not deterring them. Like Fortune Cove, they too have been seen at a few Four Chord Festivals.
If you’re a Four Chord regular, this next band will be very familiar to you, as they’ve played every year of it, since I’ve even been going. Patent Pending, from Long Island, NY, is the band who took the main stage next. They classify as rock/pop punk, and I really enjoy them. Joe Ragosta, the lead singer, is one of the most active and interactive lead singers I’ve ever shot. Every single photo I take of him is different from the last. Plus, he’s constantly moving, so he poses a challenge too. He crowd surfed during this set, which I proudly got some nice photos of. He also talked about being obsessed with the Pittsburgh accent and talked a lot about it, haha. Two of their catchiest, and most popular, songs are, “Douchebag” and “Hey Mario”. The crowd always responds so well to them; from crowd surfing, moshing, throwing their hands in the air, and screaming along lyrics, the audience was no different this year. They’re a bigger band, but they’re the example of a band stuck in their roots, enjoying and treating every performance like it’s their biggest yet, which was the case at Four Chord for sure.
Ping-ponging back to the second stage, we have another band from Ontario, Seaway. No surprise, but they are also classified as pop punk. I can tell you, with certainty, that the rain didn’t get the crowd’s energy down, quite in fact the opposite effect. They were moshing so much I couldn’t get a great spot for my photos, in the front, haha. They were a great adrenaline booster and addition to the festival.
Next up on the main stage, we have the man of the hour, Rishi Bahl and his band, Eternal Boy, local to Pittsburgh.
Let me side track for a minute and just talk about Rishi. This man puts his all into the festival each and every year. This show was no exception, and although it had its issues, it turned out to be incredible. So if you attended, be sure to give him a shout out on Twitter or something because he deserves some major recognition for his dedication and passion for this pop punk festival he created.
Okay, anyway, Eternal Boy. Although Rishi has a festival to put his focus on, his band doesn’t end up coming second. Their performances are always on par — festival or not. They played all the favorites, like “Katie” and “Awkward Phase”, of course. The crowd went wild for them and kept the moshing going. Joe, from Patent Pending, came in for a guest appearance, and to just mess around with the crowd and the band. They always put on an incredible performance, and they definitely didn’t disappoint for this show.
Up next, for the final time on the secondary stage, we had Grayscale, a pop punk band from Philadelphia, PA. I’d first heard them in the VIP event, with Atlantic Wasteland, playing acoustic and I really enjoyed them. They have some heavier vibes, but they aren’t hardcore, which is nice for casual pop punk listeners, like myself. I enjoyed their set during the acoustic session, and enjoyed it just as much when they played the full band set later on in the day. The crowd was insane for them. I was in the pit for about half a song before I gave up and went to photograph from other angles. It started to rain a little bit harder too. But the rain never stopped the audience from enjoying the day.
And now we bring it back to the main stag for the rest of the evening. Now we have Chicago based pop punk band, Knuckle Puck. If you’re an avid pop punk listener, you’ve likely listened to it already love them. If not, you may have at least heard of them. From a photographer perspective, they’re extremely fun. They’re all over the place. The audience was too, with crowd surfer after crowd surfer came through, sometimes two at a time. Knuckle Puck is exactly what you expect when you think of pop punk. They’re just on the cusp of being heavier punk, but are still a tad bit into the pop part of the genre. They’re heavier and definitely embrace their genre and have fun with it, which keeps the crowd on their feet.
Real Friends took the stage next, to continue our trend of heavier pop punk. Real Friends is originally from Illinois and are considered emo/pop punk. Like, Knuckle Puck, they’re a little insane too. But also very fun to watch. By this point it started to get dark and it really added to the effect of the genre. Real Friends have everything you’d ever want in pop punk music. Crowd surfers, yet again, cam multiple at a time. Crazy cool band to watch.
The next band on stage, hasn’t been active since 2014. Anberlin, a rock/alternative band from Florida hit the Four Chord stage next. I personally had never heard of them prior to the show announcement, but the attendees were extremely excited about their reunion show in Pittsburgh. They’d toured over the summer elsewhere, but hadn’t been to Pittsburgh in a good while. By this point in the night, it was pitch black out, but the energy of the crowd was still at an all time high. I barely was able to be in the pit shooting because the crowd was crazy. It was very fun to watch them perform, barely skipping a beat.
And last, but not least, we had our (new) headliners, Simple Plan, a pop punk band from Montreal, Canada. You know, in case you haven’t heard of them, which I don’t know how that’d be possible. They were incredible. They played a decent mix of fan favorites, oldies, and more recent releases. The audience was hyped up for the Four Chord headliners and had the time of their lives. You could see they were in a different world. There were a bit less crowd surfers, but they showed their love and appreciation by dancing and screaming along to every lyric. Since Four Chord, Simple Plan has released a single with State Champs and We The Kings, called “Where I Belong” and will be touring the country as well.
Four Chord Music Festival 6 was a success, despite all of the ups and downs throughout the process. I couldn’t be prouder of Rishi and how much work he puts into his festivals. I can’t wait to see what he’s got up his sleeve for Four Chord 7.