What a weekend down in central Florida it was! A buddy and I made the long 7 1/2 hour drive from Greenville, South Carolina (he actually came from Virginia to meet me) to Orlando, Florida for Self Help Fest. Weather was a concern all week leading up to the event as rain was in the forecast but more on that later. Of the 13 bands playing, I missed 3 due to interviews we had slated for the day so unfortunately Moose Blood who was on my list of bands to see that day was missed.
The Plot In You
Certainly did not disappoint or lack any energy due to playing first. They opened up the smaller stage and knocked it out of the park. The mix of older heavy jams with some of the later work and of course the new song, left the crowd pleased. The pit was also open for business. Check our interview with them from the fest when it is released!
The opening band for the main stage right after Plot played also brought the heat early. Despite it being early, Bad Omens had a crowd going and the size as if it was a later band. If you still haven’t seen this band, the movement and interaction they have with the crowd is always fun and gets people jumping. Check our interview with them from the fest when it is released!
The home state band Wage War played for one of the biggest crowds I’d ever seen them play for. That’s saying something because Carolina Rebellion was pumping! This was a huge reason I wanted to attend and I was not let down. The crowd was proud of their home state heroes as well as they were proud to be on the stage in front of their home state. The pit was massive and crowd surfing constant. They played bangers from both releases and did not let up the energy at all.
Dance Gavin Dance
My first time seeing this band and experience their fan base in action was a treat. The stage play off Jon Mess and Tilian Pearson was entertaining and fun. From the opening note of the set they did not miss a beat. Being up close and shooting their set also showed why they’re as popular as they are and have such a passionate following. Definitely a band I have to see a couple more times.
After my interview with Bad Omens it was time to go see the scene’s kings of partying known as Attila. Seeing this band many times you know what you’re going to get, but it is always just as entertaining. They also had one of THE biggest circle pits of the entire day! The band gets a bad rep for being obnoxious or vulgar, writing empty lyrics about nothing, but there is more than meets the eye to this. The band seems to have a message of just being who you are, enjoying your life, and don’t let anyone tell you what you should be or do. There is nothing wrong with that in my book whatsoever.
The posi sad boys in Real Friends brought their boney knees pop punk to the main stage to a mass of people ready to sing along. They aren’t a band known for their energy which somehow works for them. Frontman Dan Lambton has a unique stage presence in the way he stands and holds the mic tilted up, eyes closed, head tilted up also. They’re a special band that means a ton to a lot of people so just hearing the songs that many relate including myself is all that was needed.
Caught the end of their set when I wrapped up my interview with The Plot In You. They are another band that never lets me down when they play. For a pop punk band they get the crowd hype and a pit going. Everyone I saw getting out of the barricade after being crowd surfed had the biggest smiles throwing hands up singing the words to every song. Certainly a fun and energetic band to see live whether you’re in a club or at a fest!
The Story So Far
If A Day To Remember didn’t claim the title then I’d say these guys are the heaviest pop punk band for sure. The hard hitting fast riffs and Parker Cannon’s yell/singing styled vocals gives the PUNK in pop punk the emphasis. Crowd Surfing, circle pits, and sing alongs were found throughout the set. They also had the challenge of playing right before Underoath and A Day To Remember as well, which was met with ease. The sun began to set as they played which opened up the skies and the rain began to come down.
My favorite band. My favorite set. This band shows time and time again that they are the best ever no matter how long they have been around. People who do not know their name do when they play and don’f forget it. The rain did not hinder their set as they carried through it and nailed it all. I counted I believe 3 pits during their performance. Spencer Chamberlain has gotten so good at commanding a crowd as in the years past it was more of a ‘it’s Underoath, you just go nuts’ mentality where as younger crowds like being told to put their hands up or to jump up and down. Us oldies (27 years old for me) still know what it means when they take the stage, that’ll always remain.
A Day To Remember
The band responsible for it the entire Self Help Fest takes the stage. A Day To Remember took the stage while the rain continued to fall, though let up during their set. Jeremy Mckinnon tells the crowd ‘If you stood in the rain waiting for us then I’ll stand in the rain with you and play’. That they did! Every song they played pleased the crowd and even did a three song encore! When it comes to antics and theatrics, they are the most fun live band to go see. Flying roles of toilet paper, inflatable beach balls and other toys, co2 canisters, and of course the confetti that makes every clean up crew’s head spin. Like seriously, hope whoever cleans up after they get done gets paid REALLY well!
All in all it was good weekend. Self Help is a festival that I hope only gets bigger every year. During the interviews I missed Moose Blood, Less Than Jake, and Streetlight Manifesto. I also scored some sick Vinyl from the guys at Smartpunk so if this makes it to them then thanks for the awesome selection! They definitely made picking a few to buy challenging!
Author: Trenton Worsham
Since 2014, Trenton has been a journalist for Soundlink Magazine. He specializes in interviewing bands for both video and podcasting formats while writing various pieces. As of 2017, he also works with record label We Are Triumphant