Bringin’ It Back For The Kids Fest – (5/14/11)
May 14th, 2011 - Bringin It Back For The Kids Fest at Rocketown in Pompano Beach, Florida
There is and will always be an on going debate as to what hardcore is. Regardless if someone considers it to be bands who’s music contains one relentless breakdown after another or bands such as Refused, Madball, Sick of it All, and Terror the music created will always bring people together. Back in late December rumors were circulating about a two day festival dedicated to having fun and hardcore, as those rumors were confirmed and an official lineup was announced the amount of anticipation and hype began to build. With over a thousand RSVPs on the event’s facebook page and wall posts ranging from excited to violent jokes it was apparent that the fest’s rare and diverse lineup attracted fans of hardcore from all over Florida, the east coast, and evenCanada. With that said I was very interested to see how the show would play out.
The show was comprised of two stages: the 1981 Main stage and the Royal Family side stage. At the time of my arrival I caught the last of the California based band Harbinger’s set. The band was barely visible amidst a sea of tattooed patrons adorned with t shirts with varsity lettering, flash happy photographers, and most importantly the gaping pit in the center of what normally is the venue’s pass through area to get to the main stage. After Harbinger wrapped up their set, the crowd piled into the room that contained the main stage to catch Florida locals Grenade Face. After Grenade Face’s set just like clock work, the room filled with patrons would empty as quickly as it filled, as fans flocked to the side stage to catch the next act,
As the festival started to progress, larger and more well know bands began to take the main and side stages causing more and more fans to show up at the doors of the venue. Playing the main stage after the UK based metal/punk outfit Warfare wrapped up their set on the side stage, was Lions Lions a Pop-Punk/Hardcore hybrid band from Boston, Massachusetts. Upon the band’s first song the crowd didn’t appear to be all that active, but that soon changed when lead vocalist Danny Poulin jumped over the barricade, that Rocketown had tactfully set up for the event, and into the crowd during the band’s second song and into a sea of ravenous hands. Poulin’s antics did not stop there, after jumping into the crowd on multiple occasions, he began to position himself on top of amps while singing and dramatically jump down during instrumental parts of the band’s songs.
After Lions Lions’ high energy performance on the 1981 main stage, the vast majority of the festival’s patrons excited the room as quickly as possible to catch Atlanta natives Foundation play the side stage. During the last five minutes of Foundation’s set patrons began to enter the main room in order to get an up close and personal view of the well known hardcore band from the United Kingdom, Your Demise. Again, just like clock work the band began to play right after Foundation ended their set and the sea of patrons would pile into the room with the main stage inside. The band came out to the beat of rapper Wiz Khalifa’s hit “Black and Yellow” and then immediately began to play “MMX” off the band’s most recent release The Kids We Used To Be. Which sent the gaping hole in the center of the room into a frenzy of windmill kicks, two steps, cherry picking, and other various hardcore moves. During the ban’s third, fourth and fifth songs the band’s lead vocalist Ed McRae repeatedly jumped into the and shared his mic with fans in the front three rows of the audience. The band wrapped up their set with an older song off their second album Ignorance Never Dies “Burnt Tongues”.
After the eight o clock mark it became apparent whom everyone had stuck around all day to see. With bands such as Trapped Under Ice, Stick To Your Guns, Shai Hulud, and Terror all about to take the stage, the frantic swarm of patrons moving from stage to stage died down, and became a mass of people by the main stage all watching the same band and waiting in the next one. After a memorable performance by the Maryland based hardcore band Trapped Under Ice, all the Bringin’ It Back For The Kids Fest patrons flocked to the side stage one last time to catch the Floridian hardcore outfit Shai Hulud slay the side stage for 45 unrelenting minutes.
After Shai Hulud wrapped up their set on the side stage, the patrons of festival didn’t appear to be moving toward the main stage at the same pace they normally would, but either walking around or sitting down. At this point confusion began to start about what stage and what time the night’s final act the legendary Los Angeles based hardcore band Terror were going to play.
After 15 minutes of confusion the Terror, originally booked to play the main stage of the festival, began to play the side stage which was completely surrounded by over 800 loyal fans of hardcore. “I’m just that asshole that has to get in everyone’s face and push everyone’s buttons” remarked the band’s vocalist Scott Vogel about how he convinced the Rocketown staff into letting the band play the smaller stage rather than the main stage.
The band put on a memorable set to say the least. With close to a thousand people packed into a room half the size of the size of the room of the main stage and a gaping hole filled with over 20 dancers in the center of it the band’s set was completely out of control. Lead vocalist of the band Scott Vogel asked fans to take it easy on the stage, but that was quickly ignored after the band’s third song “Overcome”. Pile on after pile on and stage dive after stage dive after stage dive all used the stage as their base of operation. During the band’s sixth song the Vogel demanded to that everyone in the room get moving by yelling “I want you to push the pussy next to you!” and “Crawl on each others heads!” which with out a doubt sent the entire room into utter pandemonium. In between the crowds absolute destruction of one another and the total disarray of the stage, Vogel preached keeping the faith by supporting the local hardcore, how Terror is against any type of discrimination in the hardcore scene, as well as giving multiple shout outs to bands such as Mad Ball, Stick to Your Guns, and Title Fight. By the end of the band’s sent the entire room full of patrons appeared to be both out of breath and ready to get into the fresher and much cooler air outside.
Overall Bringin’ It Back For The Kids Fest was exactly what it set out to be which was “A celebration of unity, hardcore, and having fun” everyone regardless of gender, race, age, or appearance all attended to see the same bands and have fun watching them. Each band that played the festival where actually happy to be there and were all earnestly thankful for every patron that watched their set. Bringin’ It Back For The Kids Fest was definitely a memorable show, and I am certain that the festival will have an even high attendance rate next year as it slowly makes it’s way to notoriety.
Recommended for fans of: Warped tour and old school hardcore
Would I pay to attend again?: Yes, but I’d make sure I got there early enough to see each and every band.