SHOW REVIEW: Y100 Festival
May 29, 1998 -- Camden, New Jersey (Sony-Blockbuster Entertainment Center)
By: Jen Brown
On May 29, I attended the Y-100 Fez-tival at the Sony-Blockbuster Entertainment Center in Camden, NJ. This was a day long festival of bands sponsored by a Philadelphia, PA radio station, Y-100. I arrived around noon and hung around the parking lot, joining in on a lot of the tailgating that took place. The doors did not open until about one o'clock. Ten minutes after the doors opened, the side stage acts began playing their sets, about an hour after that was when the main stage acts were set to begin.
I spent most of my day near the side stage. I managed to talk to members of a few of the bands playing the side stage, including fathead, Marah, Black Lab, and The Specials (featured in this issue of IMWT is my interview with Bass Player, Horace Panter). Other bands playing the side stage included Samiam, Fuel, Atheneum, Cornershop, and God Lives Underwater. The side stage featured two local Philadelphia bands, fathead and Marah. I managed to get a few words in with the boys of these bands. Pete Keenan, of Philadelphia's own fathead, was more than happy to share little of his time with me. fathead has an interesting style of music, one with out a label. We talked about that for a bit and it turns out that each of the members of the group is influenced by different genres of music, ranging from heavy metal, to Latin, to jazz, to hip hop, and with a bit of the sounds of the Greatful Dead and Phish. More or less, there is something for everyone. Next, Samiam took the stage, playing only a good, punky-pop set. It was not quite time for the main stage to start so basically everyone was over at the side stage, listening to the hardcore sounds of Samiam.
Around 2:30 in the afternoon, the main stage acts began playing, I managed to catch Green Day, the Cherry Poppin Daddies, Everclear, and a bit of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones sets. Other bands that played throughout the day on the main stage included Ben Folds Five, marcy playground, fastball, and Jeffrey Gaines. Wyclef Jean was set to play at the show. I was informed by someone working for Y100 that his tour bus basically got lost on the way to Camden and did not make it in time for his set.
Around 4:45 the Specials, a British ska band, took the stage. They played a upbeat set featuring songs from a variety of their albums including their most recent release, GUILTY 'TILL PROVED INNOCENT, The set featured such classic Specials songs as "RatRace," and "Concrete Jungle and A Message to You Rudy." The boys of the band also introduced the crowd to some of their newer material, such as Call Me Names, Fearful, their current single, It's You, and also their next release, Bonediggin'. Dickie Barrett, lead singer of another legendary ska band, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones was hanging around near the side of the stage, watching his friends preform, and also watching the kids in the crowd skanking it up.
Next I raced over to the main stage area to try to catch some of Everclear's set. I was amazed. Like the Specials, Everclear played a variety of songs ranging from their first album, World of Noise, to their major record label debut, Sparkle and Fade, to their most recent release, So Much For The Afterglow. Not only has their sound changed in the past years since the release of World Of Noise, but also their live shows. In the early days it was simply Greg on drums, Art on lead guitar and vocals and Craig on bass and some vocals. However now, there are many more instruments involved in the live shows, from horns, to keyboards, to various percussion instruments. In my opinion, this is a change for the better. Some of the songs played during the set included Santa Monica, I Will Buy You a New Life, Everything to Everyone, and their next release, Father of Mine.
After watching Everclear for a while, I hoped back over to the side stage to try and catch another local Philadelphia band, Marah. I chatted with them for a while prior to their set also. The rock band seemed pretty excited about playing the festival, however they seemed more excited about playing that evening at a local bar. Most of the festival go-ers were ska, punk and rock fans, but Marah managed to get the crowds pretty excited by playing their mix of country rock at an electric pace.
Next up on the side stage was another British band, Cornershop. At first I was skeptical about the ability of Cornershop to really bring a crowd to its feet. Less than two songs into their set, all my skepticism was gone. The band that brought Brim Full of Asha to America had people dancing on the lawn and more impressively, crowd surfing. The mellow sounds of the Cornershop was just what the crowd needed after the loud high energy Marah set.
By this time, I was pretty tired, so I took a break from all the music and decided to head towards the front area of the entertainment-center to look around at all the vendors. As at many large festivals such as this and the Vans' Warped Tour, there were various booths set up selling stickers and T-shirts. Not to mention all of the food, hot dogs, pretzels, water, soda, anything you could possibly want, was on sale.
After taking a little break, I headed back to the main stage to check out Green Day. I must say, Green Day put on the absolute best performance of the day. It was very obvious to me that many of the people at the festival were there to see Tre Cool, Mike Dirnt and Billie Joe. The band played upbeat, rock songs from their various albums. The entire show was excellent, however the highlight of their set did not come until the end. The band attempted to end the evening with a song from their major record label debut, DOOKIE, When I Come Around. After finishing the song, a horn and a trombone player came out and played their rendition of the Star Spangled Banner while Tre lit his drums on fire. As the drums burned and the horns played, the crowd swayed and cheered. Finally Billie Joe took the stage again, simply to break into "Time of Your Life." This seemed to me to be the perfect ending to a perfect day, but it was not the end, their was still one more band to see.
Around 10:15 the Cherry Poppin' Daddies took to the stage. To all the swingers in the crowd, this was the highlight of their day. It wasn't the ska sounds of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, the punk of Green Day, or even the rocking piano of Ben Folds Five, it was the high energy combination ska, punk, swing, pop, rockabilly sound of The Cherry Poppin' Daddies. The small mosh pit area in front of the stage became alive with couples swing dancing to such songs as Dr. Bones and Brown Derby Jump. Even if you were not lucky enough to be in the pit area, it was ok, you could still swing in the isles.
Overall, I would have to say that it was a great day. The only problem was that there were so many great bands, and it seemed that their wasn't enough time in the day to see everyone. I would definitely recommend attending at least one of these big festival type shows. There is a festival for every type of music. If its rock or ska that you like, head to the Van's Warped Tour. If you are into a more classic rock sound, try the H.O.R.D.E tour. Maybe girl power is your thing, try Lilith. Whatever you sound is a festival is always a sure way to have a good time.