Common Ground Music Festival | Friday Recap

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Imagine being shoved around a crowd of adoring fans that all know that one song from that one artist you remember from middle school – that was the pinnacle of my Friday night.

Friday at the Common Ground Music Festival was centered around the more punk rock tunes of my younger years. Some of the highlights of the day were All that Remains, Finger Eleven and Three Days Grace.

The night started out strong with Finger Eleven. Of course, being the punctual person I am, I arrived as Finger Eleven shut down the show with “Paralyzer”. It seemed to be the best choice of song to end their hour-long set. After Finger Eleven closed down the set, crowds of people with mohawks and dark colored clothing cleared the space quickly as the new crowd rolled in to watch P.O.D.

I had never really listened to P.O.D as a child and I was completely awestruck with the amount of devoted fans that waited for almost an hour for the band to come on stage. Once P.O.D arrived, the crowd went wild, and for a good reason. Sonny  Sandoval is the typical hype man of a band: super jittery and absorbing all of the emotions and attitude of the crowd. Having never seen P.O.D in my life, Sandoval created an atmosphere that would almost make me want to see them again. His smaller stature, but larger than life attitude played well on stage as he commanded the crowd to participate in a lot of headbanging. The best part about P.O.D was that the band created a connection with its audience rather than just performing on a stage.

After enjoying a little bit of P.O.D,  I headed to the GM Pavilion where All That Remains would be performing. I remember listening to All That Remains years back, but I could barely remember the grungy guitars and deep bellowing vocals. Once I stepped into the tent, the atmosphere changed drastically. The crowd captured a wide variety of age groups and people, most of them in their mid-20s. The band seemed a lot more edgier than I remember. The bellowing vocals became shrill screams and the grungy guitars became thicker and more significant with each song. Between the small circle of moshers and front row head bangers, Philip Labonte commanded his army to hold onto every single word. What really struck me during this performance was the ability of the guitarists to pull my attention away from Labonte and onto themselves. Jeanne Sagan was mesmerizing on bass, not only was her performance impressive, but she captured the audience by playing into the songs and creating a body language that would draw attention to her. Sagan also gave off a little bit of a “bite me” attitude that the crowd seemed to love. The lead guitarist, Oli Herbert, was one of the most interesting aspects of the night. Herbert seemed to become so infused into his music that his constant headbanging seemed to be a part of the act. Occasionally his theatrics would entice the crowd as well, a lot of the times he would point menacingly into the sky, as if he were shooting his music into the heavens. Needless to say, the crowd loved it.

The final act of the festival was probably the best act all day. Crowds of thousands spanned an entire field just to hear just to hear Matt Walst sing out a few tunes from Three Days Grace’s earlier releases. The show opened up with Walst storming out onto stage with “Break”, which pumped the crowd up to 200%. Walst couldn’t stop moving, between jamming to the music and with the crowd, he was all over the place. Walst became so involved in the music that the sweat began to drip all over his face which made him spit and snarl into the crowd; the crowd loved it. Fan participation was on point, every single person out there held onto every last word. They never even flinched when the set became sprinkled with the newer material from Three Days Grace even though I had no idea what was going on (I came for the classic hits like “Animal I Have Become,” “Riot,” and “Lost in You.”) The band continued their set list with  “Animal I Have Become”, “I Hate Everything About You” and “Never Too Late” which filled the TDG void of the fans in the early 2000’s. Every old song they played sounded just like it did on CD. The band closed their set with “Riot” and that immediately ignited the crowd.

Overall, Friday night was a success for Common Ground as crowds of old and new fans enjoyed music that was flawlessly executed, bringing back some memories of earlier years.

To see the rest of our photos from Common Ground 2015, visit our Facebook album.

Tweet us your own CGMF pictures @WDBM!

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