As Aftermath made our way into Verizon Wireless for Bamboozle 2010 Friday night, we were greeted by Cady Groves' voice coupled with melodic guitar and salsa shakers. We knew Good Charlotte, Cartel, All Time Low, Forever the Sickest Kids and a few others from the tour's lineup, but Groves' punkish whine came as a surprise, because we didn't know any female-fronted bands would be in attendance. (At first, we thought the group was a Paramore cover band.) And according to an interview with Spinner in March, we weren't far off as far as influences go. When asked to describe her vocal sound in her own words, Groves told Spinner, "I would say if Miranda Lambert, Paramore, Dixie Chicks and Taylor Swift all had a less talented baby, that would be me." The next five hours were filled with upbeat, rhythmic pop-punk that both entertained and enraged us. One minute, we were reminded of middle school; the next we wanted to strangle all the kids who were singing along to songs about how parents just don't understand while they spent their parents' hard-earned cash on merch. Cartel (above) took the stage after Groves, and while Aftermath is only familiar with two of the band's songs, the adolescent crowd began to dance and cheer, so they must have performed on par with what they sound like on their albums. We were bobbing our head to the beat, too. Texas' own Forever the Sickest Kids, a guilty pleasure of sorts for Aftermath, came next, and the band's don't-take-ourselves-too-seriously attitude along with its witty, Panic! at the Disco-esque lyrics had us smiling. But who can resist these lyrics? "I'm in love with a girl I hate... she's a backseat driver, a drama provider, a first-class liar, a constant forgetter, attractive but bitter." The band may be from Dallas, but we'll let that slide because of their fun factor. FTSK's lead singer was especially charismatic, jumping around the stage, interacting with the crowd between songs, and he even handed his microphone stand to his fans and declared, "Look, it's crowd surfing!" Good Charlotte (above), the oldest band on the lineup, reminded us of an Avenged Sevenfold for the young, and although the band's original fans are now young adults (and weren't there), kids who were probably in diapers when the band released its first album have caught on to the tail end of their career. The band played a bevy of its old and new material. Hanson was up next, and Aftermath began to get excited. We had heard the former Mmm-boppers were hoping to redefine themselves and change their image, and we hoped for a death-metal cover of "Mmm Bop," a la Ricky Martin. But a total revamp of the trio's music wasn't what we heard. Instead, we heard three young, talented individuals, one on piano, one on guitar and one on drums, and while the music isn't our preferred genre, we developed a newfound respect for the guys. We even felt a little bad for them, because had they not been so successful at such a young age, they most certainly would be a force to be reckoned with now. All Time Low and Boys Like Girls (above) hit the stage next, respectively. The two Bamboozle co-headliners switch off who ends the show each night. Their sounds are similar, but All Time Low's set list was much more bass-heavy, and Boys Like Girls is a little more radio-friendly with fewer guitar and drum solos. By the end of the show, we wanted to scream at our parents without reason and text mean things to every ex-girlfriend still unlucky enough to be in our phone book.
We guess five hours of pop-punk will do that to you. As Rocks Off walked around, we saw almost as many parents as we did kids. We even saw one grandmother, proving you're never too old to rock. And we even stuck around to get Hanson's autograph after the show. While we were standing in line, we saw the girl in front of us open her phone and begin frantically texting. Curiosity got the best of us, and we peeked over her shoulder to see what she was typing. "Oh my god mom it was beautiful," the text read. "I cried. Am now standing in line for an autograph and meet. EEEEK!!!" We weren't quite that stoked, but hey, apparently the trio still has a strong (and very passionate) fan base. Upon meeting the band, the girl broke out into tears. Nervously, we looked at Hanson, who nervously looked back at us. Without saying a word, we handed them our ticket, and they signed it. We tried to well up some tears, but it just didn't happen. Next time.
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