8123 Fest - The #MakeAmericaEmoAgain Party

The Offical 8123 Fest After Party

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, January 21, 2017 - 10:30:00 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, The Maine, 8123)
Instagram ImageIt's no surprise that DJ parties are neither my thing, nor my scene. But this was a whole hell of a lot of fun. We were pretty lucky to score Gold Bundle Tickets to 8123, and equally lucky to get tickets to the after party before they sold out.

To whatever degree, it was also nice to grab a beer and chill out a bit while the kids partied to the DJ sets. The night really kicked it up after John took over the DJ duties, and the guys from the band came out. A lot of fun, ridiculous ensued and was really cool to get to be there for.

Towards the end of the night we headed out to the Crescent patio for a smoke and a sit. Before long 2am approached, marking the 12th hour of being at the Crescent for this event. It's been getting easier to feel old these days, so it's nice to know that we can still pull of that sort of stamina. And I can't say that a certain song didn't come to mind in the wee hours of the morning, summing up this whole weekend as the patio lights came on, security announced last call and people started exiting the venue into the night...

We may not be gettin' younger
Our days might be slippin' away
Yeah we're still so fucking young
So we'll party like it's our last day

-- We'll All Be

8123 Fest - Day Two

The Main Event

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosSaturday, January 21, 2017 - 02:00:00 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, The Maine, 8123)
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Or The Maine event? Get it? Yeah.

And what an event it was.

Given how long of a day it was going to be, we planned to show up at 2pm when the first act was starting. Considering the incredibly long merch lines even when we first walked in, we probably should have taken advantage of the Gold Ticket early entry.

John The Ghost

Photobox ImageWe talking in right as their set was beginning. This is what I can only assume is a quite rare performance of John's solo project from last year, with Jared & Brennan on guitars, Halvo on bass and Andrew Destefano on drums.

Obviously it was a short set of 5 out of the 6 songs from the EP, which was very cool to get to see performed live.

With their set over, it was time to get our bearings. Tents lined the perimeter of the parking lot behind Crescent Ballroom. Blow up cactus' were everywhere, there was some sort of bouncy house in the far corner, the Maine's graffiti-ed van was parked inside the gates. Lines of people zig-zagged through the crowd of people watching the music. It actually wasn't obvious what line was going to where. Yeah, we should have gotten here earlier.

After some wandering around, we checked out what merch there was, and got in line. A line which streamed front the merch tent, out almost to the middle of the parking lot by the sound board, curved and went right back to the merch tent and ended somewhere near the entrance. Crazy. You would think that with the ridiculous amount of money we'd spent on Thursday night there couldn't be anything else we needed to buy, but of course there was no shortage of different stuff including an 8123 Fest t-shirt only at this show.


Photobox ImageWe were standing the sed merch line for the duration of Brighten's set, who were great. One of the bands I know the least about, they were notably jangly, which makes me regret not paying much attention in the past. I know we've seen them on tour with The Maine years and years ago, but do not remember anything about it.

At some point, Garrett walked past and stopped to say hi, much to the surprise of the girls behind us.

By the end of Brighten's set we were not that much closer to securing any merchandise.

Beach Weather

Photobox ImageBy the time Beach Weather were ready to start their set, we were at least in a better position to see the band, now at least somewhere behind the sound board. Katie held the spot in line, which I went up a little closer to watch the band.

After their set, I eventually found Katie, who'd finally made it to the merch table. Unfortunately by which time a lot of what we had wanted had sold out.

We then set out to get a drink, and find out what the deal was with the Maine cups we'd seen people carrying around. More lines - but thankfully that went a lot quicker. Turns out there was a Maine signature cocktail in a souviner cup. Of course, when we got to the bar, those too were sold out. Stuff was sold out like 2 hours into the festival - which puts into perspective what a big shing dig this whole thing was.

The Technicolors

Photobox ImageIt was about time to venture more into the crowd and find a good spot to watch The Technicolors. Obviously great as always. And it was cool to see Bob Hoag up there with them, beating the hell out of a tambourine for their first song.

Notable for their set was their opener Lilies For My Lily, which is such a great song and was oddly so familiar. I spent most of the song trying to work out if it was a cover, though it's entirely possible it's an original that I'm familiar with from other performances. Certainly if it is an original, I'm really looking forward to it being on record.

Great set, with ended with an impressively frenzied attack of the keyboard at the end of Hollywood.

A Rocket To The Moon

Photobox ImageARTTM were the defunct band that everyone wanted on this bill, and were the "secret" billing hold out until late last week. As the crowd around us tightened in, it was hard to miss the general excitement for their performance.

While I have technically seen the band before (opening for the Forever Halloween CD release - which I also remember very little about), we really got into them post humorously via Nick's involvement in Beach Weather. So it was pretty cool to get the opportunity to see them play and this time know all the songs.t

During The Summer Set it was a good chance for us to find a spot on the fringes and rest our aching feet. It had already been such a long day. It's rare for me to go to a music festival to see more than that one band I want to see. 8123 Fest was a completely different animal, with a line up of so many of your favorite bands. And as weird as it may be to say, getting to see all these bands together, and everything going on throughout the day, it was easy to forget the real reason why you were here, why this was all happening. It had already been such a great day with all the other bands.

However, once The Summer Set finished, and the stage was set up for the headliner - you started to remember again. We wandered out into the crowd to assume our spots. And as the intro music began to ring out, the rest of the day started to melt away. John, Jared, Kennedy, Garrett & Pat walked out and the night turned into something else.

Appropriately, they kicked off with We All Roll Along, with no doubt that they were the reason everyone showed up. 3,000 people crammed into the parking lot behind the Crescent Ballroom screaming "eighty one twenty three means everything to me" was quite the thing to be part of. It's always been a favorite of mine - 9 years ago the opening power quartet of tracks from Can't Stop Won't Stop defined my daily commute to work - but the song took on a whole new level of poignancy tonight in this parking lot.

The next hour and a half was a high energy show spanning the band's 10 year history. Midway through they broke out Bad Behavior which just like last night received a huge crowd response, and every word sung back to the stage.

Take Me Dancing was very welcomed surprise to the setlist.

Funnily enough, I think we'd posed the question some time this week on whether they would close out Another Night On Mars or We'll All Be. The answer was both as they were the final two songs of the night. Just like their opener, We'll All Be was incredibly poignant tonight. Throughout the set, I'll admit that we both had some emo moments. And We'll All Be was definitely one of them. Y'know, just doing a part in Making America Emo Again. [wink]

Really great night and an amazing show put on by the boys. As the lights came up and the crowd started dispersing from the car park, we took a quick stop off to the car to drop of the stuff we were carrying (cameras, t-shirts) before walking back to Crescent Ballroom to find our way in to the official after party.

8123 Fest - Day One

The Pioneer Show

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, January 20, 2017 - 08:00:00 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, The Maine, 8123)
It was the afternoon of September 19, 2016. Tickets went on sale for this 8123 Fest shingdig. I had a feeling that the more expensive "Gold Ticket Bundles" were going to sell fast, and was kind of militant about being ready to secure two. To an extent where Katie thought I was a little crazy. Yet I was not. It was 2 minutes past 5 o'clock when I managed to get 2 tickets in my cart. And within 30 seconds later, it was all over - all 300 tickets were sold. That's right, in less than 3 minutes gold bundles were sold out.

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While there were several perks of gold tickets over the other 2,700 general admissions ones, the huge one was happening tonight - the opportunity to see the band perform Pioneer in it's entirety, in the intimate setting of the Rebel Lounge. If there is ever a good reason to be quick on the refresh button, this was it.

Tonight's show started with a Q&A session with the band, before a performance by Gorgeous War, Joel Kanitz's latest project.

Around 9pm, The Maine came back out on stage, this time with instruments in hand. If were to pick an album to play in it's entirety it would likely be another one (can you say "Forever Halloween"?), but it was really amazing to see Pioneer played from start to finish. I don't by default play this record as much as some of the others, but whenever I do I'm reminded of how great it actually is. Tonight was the same sort of experience and definitely felt like the perfect option.

Funniest part of the night was John commenting that Thinking Of You was nobodies favorite song - and then proceeding to play it 4 times. A normal version, a reprise version, a ska version then a Limp Bizkit version. Oh the silliness.

A close second was the short rendition of Superman, aptly mocking that terrible band's very recent return to public consciousness for all the wrong reasons. "Speaking of politics, and speaking of Trump, this song is called Misery". On point.

The Pioneer portion of the show closed on Waiting For My Sun To Shine, but not without (thankfully) the crowd immediately chanting for One Pack Of Smokes. It might be the hidden track, but it's a crowd favorite, including mine. Despite announcing they hadn't practiced it, the band obliged with John reading the lyrics from a not so reputable internet source. [wink] This was quite entertaining, and hardly an issue since the rest of the room knew and recited the actual words loudly. So good, it wouldn't have been Pioneer in it's entirety without One Pack Of Smokes.

Surely they were going to give us more than just Pioneer, and One Pack Of Smokes went right into a 7 song run of hits focused on largely on American Candy and a few Forever Halloween tracks. Oh, and three songs in, Bad Behavior.

We had hopes we'd hear that this weekend, and indeed it received it's debut performance on the Rebel Lounge stage tonight. And it sounded great. But what was really amazing, was being in a room of 300 people that already knew and were screaming every word of the song. New songs are often the less enthused part of live shows, but that was anything but the case tonight. Amazing. Did I mention this song only came out 24 hours ago?

Appropriately, the night ended with the Pioneer era Ice Cave. Although it wound up on Forever Halloween Deluxe, it'll always be associated with those pre Pioneer live shows, so that was a nice touch.

A really amazing show and I'm so thankful we were able to score the tickets for it. Tomorrow is sure to be great, but I can't imagine the experience being the same without being at this show.

8123 Fest - And It Begins

8123 Popup Store, Bad Behavior & Lovely Little Lonely

(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 04:00:00 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, The Maine, 8123)
The weekend we've been looking forward to since September kicked off a little early, with early access to the 8123 Pop-up Store at Cityscape in Downtown Phoenix this afternoon.

A bit of a wait in line to get in. Once inside, it was pretty cool. Custom art of several albums (Good Love, Forever Halloween portraits - which I would have totally dropped cash for if they were for sale an not just for ambience). Inflated saguaros, couches, a turntable and 8-track. You can trust these guys to not half ass things. The phrase Lovely Little Lonely adorning one wall. New album title? Based on the line of t-shirts with the same phase, likely.

Of high importance was picking up the vinyl re-issue of Stay Up Get Down - the EP I illegally* downloaded 8 years ago that started this crazy ride. Very cool to finally have a own physical copy of it, especially since we weren't hip enough to get a copy of the very limited CD pressing in 2011. Very cool that there were reprints of the Wild West tees, and 8123 ball caps that actually fit my weird shaped head perfectly. (Thanks guys!)

(* Admittedly not actually very illegally given the way this EP back in the day, but suspend the belief. [smile] )

I have a credit card, and I'm not afraid to use it
That's been our running joke this week, and we definitely lived up to it. I think even Katie was surprised to the degree I was embracing it. I can think of many items I regret not just buying in the past, so not this time. Which definitely showed once we did make it up to the checkout counter, with two bags chocked full of t-shirts, sweat pants, flags & vinyl. YOLO is my mantra right now. The dude ringing us was probably thinking "these two are looking to make a killing selling this stuff on eBay". There would probably be less shame in that, if that's what our intention was. [wink] Alas, no, this ridiculous plunder of merchandise is actually for us.

There was little time between getting home from that shopping spree before tuning in to AltAZ to hear the band debut the new song. And of course, to further overload our senses mere hours after spending an obscene and undisclosed amount of money at the pop-up store, the announcement of pre-order bundles for Lovely Little Lonely on the air. This was unexpected, and had us scrambling for laptops to secure the deluxe bundle, determined not to have an American Candy pre-order repeat where we missed out (in only 16 minutes) the very limited vinyl. Listening to the new single really got lost in the frenzy of dropping a second large sum of money into the 8123 / Maine fund.

We did circle back on the song after we got done with pre-ordering. Sounds great, very Third Eye Blind / Out Of The Vein inspired. That record has been on high rotation in our house since recently picking it up (thanks actually to John), so we're looking forward to the new album even more. Early signs indicate a combination of American Candy and Out Of The Vein which sounds pretty good to me.

What an afternoon! I need a nap... [wink]

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