PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh has seen one of the worst winters in history this year, but the pelting snow did not stop the city’s punk-rock kids from gathering to celebrate New Found Glory’s 10-year anniversary of its self-titled effort Friday.
In 2000, the majority of these concertgoers were angsty and impressionable. This time gave the band’s strongest supporters a chance to come together and enjoy their teenage years being portrayed through their favorite songs. But even that could not keep all the obstacles at bay. What followed was one interesting night of unexpected mishaps and occasional disorder, testing the personalities of each band on stage that night.
Fireworks opened the night with a slew of explosive songs off its latest album All I Have to Offer is My Own Confusion. The band was pleasantly surprised by the crowd’s response to its set: the pit in the front pumped its collective fist to every song with amid the echoes of chanting choruses. Having received such energetic feedback with its set, Fireworks proved that it has a formidable presence in Pittsburgh, complete with a share of devoted followers.
“You guys are so much fun. Thanks for coming out in the snow,” said vocalist David Mackinder.
Next to take the stage was Hellogoodbye, a band that tickled the crowd with its charming love songs such as “All Time Lows” and “Baby It’s Fact.” The guys brought the younger fans and the females into screams, sways and laughter with their endearing banter on stage. It has been awhile since Hellogoodbye has hit the stage with its distinctive costumes and confetti, but for the most part the crowd took well to its latest organic sounds and sparkling, snazzy instruments. Some stray members responded negatively, but Hellogoodbye took the opposition in stride.
“Some guy is saying we suck, but these ladies in the front seem to disagree,” smirked bassist Travis Head before coyly beckoning the already-enthusiastic girls in the crowd.
Even amid the critical responses, Hellogoodbye stuck to its uplifting, carefree attitude. Even in the face of slight adversity, band members kept smiles on their faces throughout the set, retaining their delightful, fun personalities.
Next to play was Saves the Day, a band that also recently saw its album Through Being Cool reach its ten-year mark. Vocalist Chris Conley and the latest lineup of members wasted no time playing hit after hit, such as “Anywhere With You,” “At Your Funeral” and “Cars and Calories.” The band also gave a nod to catchy gems off of its latest album, Under the Boards, playing “Radio” and “Get Fucked Up,” and eliciting massive singalongs and hypnotic undulating in the crowd.
But even Saves the Day had to face a few obstacles during its set. Conley clearly expressed his annoyance with the rowdy behavior of several members in the crowd who attempted to get on stage and start a skirmish. With a smug smile, he gently pushed one concertgoer off the stage after his toppling mic stand nearly hit him in the mouth.
“Let’s have fun, but I want to keep my teeth,” joked Conley.
Saves the Day is not one for starting mayhem. The guys just wanted to deliver to a supportive crowd that night, so when these unforeseen circumstances hit the stage, they responded to it with patience and charm. All told, the group’s affable personality shone through despite the disrespect of some members in the crowd.
By the time New Found Glory came to finish the night, the people in the venue that were once scattered across the club finally merged together toward the front of the stage. Immediately the guys were attacking all the tracks off of their self-titled album with the dynamo and might seemed to have been in the works for years. The stage proved to be quite small in scale when the band began to defy any sort of boundary in mobility.
Frontman Jordan Pundik shook and swung in between verses and chorus. During “Hit or Miss,” he jumped into the pit and thrashed with the animated, impassioned crowd, handing off the mic to out-of-control concertgoers who coveted a chance to sing a line of one of their favorite songs. Every now and then, the energy began to bounce off the walls, bringing along the brave few who had climbed the pillars and jumped into the pit. The crowdsufers were plentiful, and the circle pits tight and intimate. All the unified support for New Found Glory manifested itself in dynamic movements, shaking fists and loud sing-alongs to the likes of “Second to Last” and “Black and Blue.”
The energy was unrelenting during the band’s second set, in which the guys came back with songs off of Catalyst, Sticks and Stones and Not Without a Fight. It was the perfect combination of sweat and gritty guitars, not to mention the unwavering vigor of drummer Cyrus Bolooki, who had his own highlighted moment in “Something I Call Personality.”
Fans all around were extremely pleased with the band’s performance.
“I thought New Found Glory was incredibly enthusiastic, and it seemed as if it was genuinely happy to just be there and perform, as were the other bands,” said concertgoer Catherine Hong.
The band completed its set with the intro to Catalyst, which then transitioned into the anthemic “My Friends Over You.” It was the appropriate finish to a back-to-back set of sheer power plus rock and roll. Clearly, Pittsburgh was rocked by one of the strongest tours to come on the road in 2010.
For some, New Found Glory’s self-titled album was incredibly influential. For others, it was the introduction to a new genre of loud, in-your-face music. Every individual had his or her own reason for coming to Club Zoo that night, as evidenced by the conversations among fans about the love for this album. But no matter the adjective associated with this album, every member in the crowd all felt a unified passion for a record that is 10 years old. By day, many of these fans lead lives as adults with jobs and perhaps even families. But for one night, they were all able to congregate under the warmth of Club Zoo to emanate the youthful spirits of which they are reminded when they hear New Found Glory through the speakers.