Oct 23, 2009

AFI / Paramore - Merriweather Post

By Bob Suehs

www.rocknrollexperience.com MTV's ULALUME FESTIVAL

Featuring: Dead By Sunrise / AFI / Paramore

October 23, 2009

Columbia, MD

"Ulalume" is an Edgar Allen Poe story, just incase you didn't know, & it's more than likely the reason that MTV chose to have their first ever, Halloween related, "Ulalume Festival" which was filmed for broadcast on the MTV Networks the actual week of Halloween 2009.

Upon arriving at the concert, a DJ on a local rock station said something that was so true...he stated that "If you don't see any 16 year old girls tonight, it's because they are all here at the Ulalume Festival!" & it was actually a very true statement, because the average age range was definitely teenaged & you could distinctly see which band the bulk of this crowd was there to see! In my mind, I thought that Chester from Linkin Park was a huge draw, I mean, in terms of sales & overall radio airplay, Linkin Park are a massive band, BUT, Dead By Sunrise, Chester's new side project were playing & NOT Linkin Park, so Chester's star didn't shine as bright on this night as the nights headliners, Paramore did! I'll be honest with you, I thought AFI were going to headline the show, because in my mind, AFI seemed to be a bigger band, BUT, that was definitely NOT the case this night! When I walked past the merch booths it was obvious too, there was 1 or 2 shirts from AFI for sale, while there was a slew o' Paramore merch available & selling quite well I might add!

www.rocknrollexperience.com The crowd was clearly a Paramore crowd & the overall setting for the show was quite unique...there was a side area that had carnival attractions, rides, there was ski-ball, you could buy funnel cake, play games, & my personal favorite of the "extra" added attractions was the 3-D Clown Asylum Haunted House...it was trippy as hell & in all honesty, when you entered the haunt, it felt EXACTLY like a hang over...no lie! The sad part of the day though was that it rained most of the day & into part of the evening, so if you had lawn tickets you needed a rain coat & had to deal with the mud!

Asher Roth was supposed to start the night off as opening act, BUT, they were a no-show, so the show started about an hour late with Kid Cudi opening the night & I guess if you like Kanye West you might have dug this set, but, I thought it was crap, it was hip hop in the middle of a rock show...it just didn't work & that's the bottom line! The show didn't really begin in my opinion until a little after 7 PM when Dead by Sunrise took the stage! There's an interesting story regarding Dead By Sunrise too...I was set up for this show through the band & I was told that I would not be allowed to photo the band since it was an MTV show that was being filmed, BUT, when I got to the venue, to my surprise, I was given a photo pass to photo the band, so, lucky you, the Rock N Roll Experience reader, because I got a photo pass, so you get to see exclusive, up close & personal photo's from the show!

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Initially, I was only covered to shoot Dead By Sunrise, but MTV's publicist asked me if I'd like to shoot AFI as well & she covered me for the AFI set, but Paramore was not allowing any photographer's in the photo area for their set, so that's why I have no up-close pics of Paramore!

Dead By Sunrise is Chester from Linkin Park's new side project & the music is less rap-inspired & more straight up modern rock. When you see the band, you might notice that some faces are recognizable....the band features 2 guys from Orgy & Kill Hannah's old drummer incase you didn't know! Dead By Sunrise played a strong set that was a little under an hour & the closer of their set was a cover of The Misfit's "20 Eyes" & to be honest with you, I was expecting some of the AFI guys to come out & jam with Dead By Sunrise on this Misfit's classic since I know Davey Havok & some of the AFI guys are huge Misfit's fans, but the downer of the night was that there was NO onstage jamming between bands! Each band stuck to their set, there was no special guests onstage for the MTV taping, & if you looked to the right side of the stage you could have seen Kat Von D doing her hosting segments for the night. The weird thing was that Kat Von D NEVER got on the main stage & addressed the crowd, so it was very easy to totally miss her & not even know she was there!

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Dead By Sunrise were a great opening band & to be honest with you, I think Dead By Sunrise would be a great band to tour with AFI, because the "new" version of AFI, & when I say "new", what I mean is, the band's new record & Davey's "new" looks....they are quite different than the bands previous material & look! For AFI, the dark gloom is gone & it's all about the glitter & gold! Davey stormed the stage sporting a suit that looked like something Elvis Presley had worn...it was all gold with a glittery look, his sneakers had gold & glitter all over them & Davey's ear monitors were diamond encrusted & looked like something Rihanna or The Pussycat Dolls might wear rather than ANYONE from a hard rock band, but that's the beauty of Davey Havok...he's flamboyant & he doesn't care!

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This was the 2nd time I'd seen AFI play live & the band, the actual players, really did impress me! Jade doesn't play is all drop-D like so many other guitarist's from the current era...Jade plays in tuned down standard tuning & his style is pretty damn unique, while the rhythm section is tight as hell, BUT, there's no way you can deny that the live show IS Davey Havok...the man is jumping off the drum riser, galavanting about the stage like a 12 year old girl, he's flashy, he's very show oriented, he gives it his all, & for a man wearing lip gloss onstage who's NOT in a hair band, I'll give it to him, he's got alot of energy for a man his age!

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AFI's 2nd to last song "Miss Murder", was definitely the bands biggest crowd pleaser & what actually amazed me was, when AFI was done, Paramore was next...I just had no idea that Paramore had that large of a fan base, but when Hayley took the stage, the crowd erupted & by that point, the venue looked totally sold out, the crowd was singing along to every word & it made me realize, "Wow, Paramore are alot bigger than I realized!".

Hayley really pulled her looks together over the past few years...she's transformed herself from a young girl who constantly dyed her choppy locks various funky colors, to a sultry, almost Britney Spears inspired, looks wise, sleep pop vixen! Hayley IS the star of Paramore....there's no disrespect to the male members of the band, they play their hearts out, BUT, Hayley IS Paramore...she owns that stage, she commands respect from the crowd & she's the girl that all the little girls in that crowd wanted to be & she's the girl that all the little boys in that crowd wanted to be with!

"Misery Business" was the closer for Paramore & I have to give it to MTV, I had my doubts about the Ulalume Festival, but overall, it was a unique night....I felt like they could have had a bigger band to headline, BUT, what I didn't realize was, Paramore IS a big band, they attracted the EXACT crowd they wanted for this show...a very young, very modern, very hip crowd