There have been many memories made at the Palladium’s outdoor summer site over the past few years, but you may find it hard to remember a time that unfolded so refreshingly and chocolate that Sticks & Stones Fest this weekend.
Celebrating the two-decade reign of titanic pop punk quartet New Found Glory’s seminal album “Sticks & Stones,” stage kids from generations past and present flooded the parking lot behind the venue on June 4 for a full seven hours of nonstop nostalgia, captained by the Florida-based band itself, with more than a few fresh gems revealing themselves along the way.
Volleying between stages at separate ends of the space for most of the day, what you’d think was supposed to feel like a festival in 2022 exuded something much closer to the late ’90s Warped Tour spirit. 2000 that so many have been waiting for since the cross – the country summer tradition’s final tour of 2018, as bands like Bayside, The Movielife and, of course, New Found Glory took to the stage with a feverishly infectious energy that indicated can -maybe they felt the same.
And though it was largely a local gathering on the main stage with Piebald, from Andover, A Loss For Words from Abington and the almost usual magic touch of Four Year Strong from Worcester, the second stage of the show was home to some of its own local charm with colorful Boston-area band 5ever kicking off in the early afternoon, as well as a handful of unbeatable out-of-town talent with Buffalo’s hardcore band Spaced, Chicago’s Action/Adventure and multi-city supergroup Be Well, they also take the stage with their own respective infectious presence throughout the day. While each band brought something of their own to the table that made them stand out, one of those bands that really stormed the stage with juggernaut strength from the jump was Tulsa, Cliffdiver of the Oklahoma, whose powerful songs and positive messages could stand on their own, as was proven time and time again during their 25 minutes on stage, but they also have a saxophonist in the band and there’s practically no no way it could be bad – especially when mixed with their dangerously vibrant onstage chemistry.
On the main stage, where Piebald opened things up with the same powerful, youthful energy and fun they’ve given off for years, while A Loss For Words arguably sounded better since reuniting in 2018 following their hiatus from three years, and The Movielife showed they still have what it takes to tear up a set after 25 years in the game, it was the last three sets of the night that were real sights to behold.
Bayside, touting a renewed sense of intensity, went hard in the paint for their entire 40-minute set, with a career-spanning offering that not only captured why their fans are some of the game’s most dedicated , but also showed off their artistic versatility in a way that made the 20-something veterans feel like a new band on the scene.
Things were already moving fast in the pit as Bayside burned through their final songs, but as has happened countless times before, chaos was pushed to 11 as Four Year Strong found their way back to the stage in their hometown. native for the first. time in 2022.
With another display of creative agility, the bearded hometown quartet turned everything upside down from the start with the resounding opening riff of “Wasting Time (Eternal Summer),” which has generally been reserved as their usual finale since its release. born more than a decade ago. , kicked things into high gear. From there, it was a handful of fan-favorite selections that kept the crowd surfers on a constant wave towards the barricade for the rest of the 40-minute screening, as the band found another way no only to sound as good as they did. in recent years, but also consistently maintaining the same kind of intensity which further explains, at least for those not yet in the know, why they continue to be a staple of local hardcore and pop punk shows. Having them at home more than once during the year is surely something we can get used to.
After six hours in the sun and 10 groups of happy audio assaults, the stage was set for the main event. While the anticipation that preceded and supported Four Year Strong felt like they were the headliner, an explosion of color and nostalgia quickly reminded the crowd that New Found Glory was just around the corner. street with a full celebration that was meant to take us for a ride in your old time machine.
Wasting no time getting things done, there was no such thing as “cooling down” as the band ripped through a two-sided list of “Sticks & Stones” that had fans singing at a shattering volume of the second leader Jordan Pundik raised his mic skyward. Although it may not have been as chaotic as for other bands during the day, there was still a palpable energy and an embrace of the milestone at hand, and New Found Glory reminded everyone the world why they were there in the first place and how the album of the evening has stood the test of time amongst a sea of other influential albums in the genre, as the band maintained a bewildering amount of energy and flair. cheered up with the crowd long after he had finished playing his 2002 album in its entirety and had moved on to their “normal” set of tracks to end the night on a high.
The star power of each band that graced the main stage had very little impact when it came to getting stuffed or overcrowded as you tried to enjoy each band’s set, and the transition between scenes was near perfect, even though the set times were stacked almost end-to-end. Another stark similarity to the Warped Tour days was how fans weren’t shy not only to check every band on the bill, but also to get involved with more than a few circular pits taking shape for more than just the latest. bands at the top of the show’s bill.
So in conclusion a few things that we learned this weekend are that, for starters, whoever makes deals with the underworld on behalf of the Palladium for all the good weather they seem to be having for these super fun outdoor shows needs a raise. Second, the Warped Tour ghost is still alive, well, and fully embraced. And finally, any pop punk band hitting town has to keep Four Year Strong on speed dial, because they never fail to add just the right amount of beautiful mayhem to the mix.