Taste of Chaos Tour At Nikon at Jones Beach Theater With Motion City Soundtrack

Long Island’s stop on the Rockstar Energy Drink Taste of Chaos Tour was at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater on June 18th with special guest Motion City Soundtrack. The tour included Dashboard Confessional, Saosin (featuring original vocalist Anthony Green), The Early November, and Long Island’s very own, Taking Back Sunday. Starting well before the sunset, many 20-somethings filled Jones Beach parking lot, tailgating and blasting old school emo tunes from the car radios. I hadn’t been this excited for a concert in a long time.

The Early November played to a relatively empty arena, but the band still showed appreciation and love for each person listening. Vocalist Ace Enders kept the audience involved and the mood upbeat. “I say ‘fantastic’ a lot. Get used to it!” The crowd cheered as he mentioned their album The Room’s Too Cold and asked the crowd if they wanted to hear “Ever so Sweet” or “Baby Blue.” Going with ‘Baby Blue’, there was a group in the seats Ace shouted out to and wished them a happy birthday. “Let’s go back in time for a little bit,” Enders teased, mentioning I Want to Hear You Sad and playing “I Don’t Care.” The band closed their set with a song called “Narrow Mouth”, which they recently released music video for.

Following The Early November was Saosin. Having been a fan of Circa Survive and Anthony Green’s solo music, I was especially excited to see Anthony Green perform. Not only was his performance excellent, the connection he had with the crowd made the large arena show feel intimate. He shouted to two fans, “These two guys front and center. I’ve watched them grow up. Every band I’ve been in they’ve come to see and brought all the passion. Thank you for the support.” Then he invited the two on stage to watch the rest of their set. The song I loved to see the most live was “I Can Tell There was an Accident Here Earlier.” For the final song, Green jumped into the general admission pit, and the crowd gathered in around him to scream and dance.

The part that is the hardest to write about is the first and only time I will ever see Motion City Soundtrack play. This set was special compared to the rest of their farewell tour because it wasn’t a headlining set, so they didn’t play as many songs as they did for their shows at Irving Plaza and the Gramercy in New York. Not once did they mention they were on their farewell tour nor that they would never play Long Island again- which made it a little easier to swallow, but not much. They opened the set with their anthem “Everything is Alright.” The crowd was up on their feet- dancing and screaming their heads off right away. One thing I especially loved about their performance during “Her Words Destroy My Planet” was synthesizer player Jesse Johnson. He was full of excitement and energy- hitting the cowbell and then throwing the drumstick across the stage, losing himself in the music. Then they played “Makeout Kids” during which the front and center security guard sang along as he watched the crowd. You can tell the long-lasting impression this band has left on the audience in attendance. “This one is about life, I guess,” Justin Pierre said as he started to strum for “L.G. F.U.A.D.” As the words “You’ve been such a positive influence on my mental frame, if I could thank you I would…” scratched the inside of my throat, I had a difficult time holding back tears. Having been afflicted by mental illness in my own life, Motion City Soundtrack is a band that helped me feel like I wasn’t alone- struggling through days where I didn’t know what I was going to do about the stress I couldn’t handle. Knowing that I would most likely never have the opportunity to hear a song that meant so much to me again, I was so overwhelmed with both sadness and happiness in a way that could only be defined by their music. They continued the set with “My Favorite Accident,” “Broken Heart,” “Attractive Today,” and finished off with “The Future Freaks Me Out.”

The arena was filled with all kinds of excitement for Taking Back Sunday. Throughout the evening, you could spot the dads walking around with their children- clad with oversized earphones- getting to be a part of what their fathers do for a living on a beach all of their families had called home at some time. So it was endearing to see their families standing on the stage by their sides- the children dancing and kicking along to every song. “I’m more interested in all the rockstar babies that are here than all the actual rock stars,” says Sarah of Manhattan (@srazzzle). Compared with all the other bands playing that evening, this was one band I have seen several times- the last time being a secret set at Chicago’s Riot Fest. The stage was decorated with a gigantic American flag. They opened with “Cute without the E” and the entire crowd was on their feet. They followed with “Liar” and “Flicker, Fade.” “It wasn’t too long ago we were playing the VFW Hall in Farmingdale,” Adam Lazzara says to the crowd before playing “What’s It Feel Like to Be a Ghost?” In introduction to a new song, Lazzara says, “You’re all here for nostalgic purposes. I feel that. That means we are growing together. When you got your driver’s license, we were here... I was there, I am here now, and I’m not going anywhere.” They played their new song “Holy Water.” It reminded me of Kings of Leon as the chorus went “You’ve got people who love you.” Following a story about Billy Joel entering the Jones Beach Theater by boat and their plans to enter by boat with Billy Joel next time they return to Jones Beach, they played another new song called “Tidal Wave.” It was excitingly punk- seemingly influenced by bassist Shaun Cooper’s favorite band, The Menzingers. Their new record already seems to be as good as Happiness Is in its rock appeal.

Before the evening began, there was a meet and greet with Chris Carraba and Dashboard Confessional. When meeting, Chris Carraba, Long Islander and guitarist/vocalist of The Cavalry is Us, crouched down low. When Carraba asked, “Why are you crouching?” she replied, “Did you know your song was in the Spider-Man movie?” Starting off the set with images of a fast moving New York City in the background, it felt like being 8th grade again hearing “Vindicated” on the Spider-Man soundtrack. For the song “Saints and Sailors,” it reminded me even more so of the 90s than the early 2000s with the guitar tone and melodies. “This might be my favorite night ever,” says Carraba as the set switched over to acoustic. As he played “Swiss Army Romance” I felt surrounded by the sea of girls screaming who were once 16 year olds watching Dashboard Confessional that are now Millennials remembering the feelings of hearing the songs from someone who really got them. The thing is, we've gotten older but the feelings of being betrayed, breaking up, making out, and meeting someone new are still relevant. Gen Y is out and looking and not settling down wondering what that first kiss will mean- making 2003 easy to relive. “These bands were the soundtrack of my high school, of every breakup, and of every bad day,” says Sarah (@tinybats3) from Manhattan, NY.

One thing that left a bad taste in my mouth for the Taste of Chaos tour was how the crowd was somewhat hostile about the bands playing new music. Motion City Soundtrack didn’t play any songs from their latest release Panic Stations. Adam Lazzara consistently mentioned that he understood the crowd was there for nostalgia. Chris Carraba of Dashboard Confessional pleaded with the crowd to play new music. His new song was called “Heartbeat Here” and before it started Chris said "the song is about finding someone to love and supporting them." The idea reminded me of the crowd of Taking Back Sunday's family standing on the stage and dancing. Some really hardcore Dashboard Confessional fans were excited to hear something new from them for the first time in almost 7 years when they announced they are making a new record. I am personally looking forward to hearing new albums from Dashboard Confessional and Taking Back Sunday. There’s only so many times you can listen to Tell All Your Friends and A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar. Hands down the experience was one of the best concerts I have had the honor of attending, even if I was 13 years older than I thought I would be seeing Dashboard Confessional for the first time.

Check out galleries of Motion City SoundtrackDashboard Confessional, and Taking Back Sunday by clicking on the links.