Summer is on its way and with it comes late nights down at the Jersey shore, free time that you will most likely make the least of and one other thing: really good music.
The weather isn’t the only thing that heats up from May to August.
The concert scene catches fire as well, so here are your best bets to rock out, trip out or mellow out during the coming months.
From the brutal hardcore and thrash genres to the slick-backed space-rock, there’s something here for just about everyone.
The Bamboozle – May 6 and 7
Meadowlands Sports Complex
(East Rutherford, N.J.)
The summer music explosion kicks off just one day after we finish up with finals here at the College.
Bamboozle is like a localized version of the Vans’ Warped Tour, and a virtual haven for any fans of emo, punk or hardcore.
With 70-plus bands playing, and the headliners split between the Saturday and Sunday bills, Bamboozle is an exhausting festival with a number of different stages that almost requires you to stay both days if you want to come away satisfied.
The standouts on Saturday’s bill include Chicago-born juggernaut Fall Out Boy, pop-rock goliaths All-American Rejects and Jersey’s own emo hotshot Armor For Sleep. Motion City Soundtrack, who played here at the College, will also be performing.
However, unless you already have tickets, you might have a hard time going, since Saturday’s show is already sold out.
Of all the potential headliners, I suggest seeing Armor For Sleep.
They pull out all the stops during a live show, incorporating fog machines, props and laser lights as a backdrop for vocalist Ben Jorgensen’s on-stage antics.
Plenty of other seminal emo acts such as The Spill Canvas, The Rocket Summer, Halifax, From First To Last, Hawthorne Heights, Hidden In Plain View and Bayside will be split between stages on Saturday.
However, if you don’t feel like screaming your heart out with the aforementioned acts, there are plenty of other options on the Saturday bill.
Streetlight Manifesto and hellogoodbye will bring their respective ska and power-pop talents to the stage for any of you who feel like dancing, frolicking and doing whatever else it is you happy people do.
Fans of hardcore and screamo won’t be slighted either when New Jersey natives Thursday comes to town, sporting tracks off their brand new album “A City By The Light Divided.”
Vocalist Geoff Rickly’s live performances are borderline legendary by now, so I won’t bother describing or praising him. Just go. Trust me.
With up-and-coming howlers Chiodos and The Sleeping playing, as well as Victory Records screamo egret Silverstein, fans of a louder, more aggressive rock sound will not be displeased.
One more thing: you have to promise me you won’t pass out in your hotel room on Saturday without seeing these two dark horse acts. South Jersey hardcore quintet Veda Skyes defeated over 20 other bands to win a spot on the bill and are definitely worth their merit.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the musical spectrum, indie-rockers Minus The Bear will be making their second straight appearance at Bamboozle.
The Seattle-based band is about a year removed from the release of their delightful “Menos El Oso” LP, and holds the title of “Most Underrated Live Performers.”
Sunday is headed up by Taking Back Sunday, AFI, Panic! At The Disco, Say Anything, Saves The Day, From Autumn To Ashes, underOATH and many more.
The bill has nearly 15 bands that are worthy of headlining, so picking and choosing where to be on Sunday is going to be a hellacious task.
Whatever you do, don’t miss Taking Back Sunday’s set. They release a new CD, “Louder Now,” on April 25. Also, with the rumored reunion of emo/rock legends The Movielife, just about anything could happen.
Circa Survive, fresh off their 2005 release “Juturna,” is one of the best bands on the Equal Vision label. The single off that disc, “Act Appalled,” reminds me of My Chemical Romance . you know . when they were good, before mainstream rock and MTV neutered them, but hey, that’s a whole other rant.
Experimental rockers The Receiving End Of Sirens will be there to serenade you with their hypnotic and artful sound. Describing them is a daunting task, so I’ll let their music do the talking for them. In 2005 this band released a CD titled “Between The Heart and The Synapse.” Find it, listen to the track titled “This Armistice” and try to tell me you’re not impressed.
“Sweat The Small Stuff” – Trocadero, (Philadelphia); TLA, (Philadelphia); Starland Ballroom (Sayreville, N.J.)
Of course, for those of you not attracted to the myriad bands playing Bamboozle, there are plenty of smaller shows nearby that are more than worth the price of admission.
Trocadero has an excellent back to back to back stretch of concerts starting on June 8, when the delightfully abnormal Aquabats take the stage with Whole Wheat Bread and the Aggrolites. For a measly 13 bucks, this show is a steal.
Gatsby’s American Dream comes to town on June 9, and the Bouncing Souls will bring their irresistible brand of punk to town on June 10.
TLA (The Theatre of Living Arts) will feature Pretty Girls Make Graves, who topped the WTSR charts in mid-April, on May 14.
Elefant, an indie act fresh off the release of their second album “The Black Magic Show,” will play the following day.
Starland Ballroom has a surprisingly sparse list of summer concerts, although E. Town Concrete will be playing on May 20. The Jersey-born metal band will be hanging it up after 10 years, so if you’re a fan you should definitely catch them on this summer’s “End Of The Rainbow” tour.