What’s better than Jane’s Addiction, Silversun Pickups, Garbage and The Naked and Famous on the same stage? Another two stages featuring Neon Trees, Pennywise, Grouplove, Fun., Of Monsters and Men and Angels and Airwaves, of course. That’s what the fans got at this year’s BFD. For rock enthusiasts and listeners to Northern California’s premiere rock station, Live 105, that’s exactly what it is. Thousands flooded into the Shoreline Amphitheater bright and early to claim a prime spot to watch their favorites tear down the stage.
Of Monsters and Men may be one of the most underrated bands recording music today. They were given an early time slot but gave a head lining performance. Their sound is unique and lead singer Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir, who could be found watching Garbage with a group of concert goers a few hours later, looked like she belonged front and center. Call this band indie folk or rock, it doesn’t matter. This six piece group is just plain good.
What is it about “We Are Young,” that’s so memorable? The soaring chorus, the indie rock sound or the lead singer? Whatever it is, the members of Fun. are now considered bona fide rock stars. With that comes a great responsibility to put on a good live performance. For the most part, they delivered. Singer Nate Ruess looked every bit rock star when he appeared to sign a few autographs before the show. The sight of him elicited shocked screams from young girls decked out in Dun. attire and that enthusiasm carried over to the stage. The skinny-jeans-wearing-Ray-Ban-rocking vocalist couldn’t be heard as the obligatory performance of the mega hit began. That may have been the height of the audience’s decibel level before they all trekked to the main stage for the heavy hitters.
Neon Trees were more suited for the big stage then the Silversun Pickups. Their set was solid but without much going on. Singer Brian Aubert’s odd facial expressions got old. Quickly. The rest of the set was a blur and all the songs began to sound like a broken record. The band is musically talented but isn’t much in the arena of showmanship. Garbage, on the other hand, was a different story.
The newly reunited rock band of 90’s fame is back together and going strong. Shirley Manson looked, well, she looked like Shirley. Her hair in Leah style buns and an outrageous outfit that featured the name of the band she fronts on her shorts made her the obvious target for the spotlight. There were a few miscues, a few pitchy moments, but that’s expected. The band is launching another tour this fall and they’ve proven they’re still worth the price of admission.
BFD was able to mix nostalgia with up-and-coming. And they did it perfectly. The young fans had a great view of the parking lot artists, pressed up against the metal barricade. And the older set shelled out the dough to be front row for Jane’s and Garbage. It made for a great summer day that gave the fans a lot of memories and something to look forward to in 2013 when they’ll be back for the 19th installment of the Bay Area tradition.