Rock and roll has been saved!
Or so Fall Out Boy declared Friday when the band's co-headlining tour with fellow pop-punk rockers and Grammy nominees Paramore came to Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden.
There were turbulent lights and triumphant pyrotechnics. When not displaying riot scenes, the above-stage monitors displayed the words "Save Rock And Roll" - the title of Fall Out Boy's 2013 fifth album, their first since 2008. The concert started, as does the album, with "The Phoenix," a song about rising from the ashes and battling for rock.
Rock has continued to slip off the radio and down the charts. Hip-hop dethroned it long ago, and, led by AVICII and Skrillex, electronic dance music, or EDM, has broken through the gates. Fall Out Boy and Paramore are among the few rock bands able to make hits nowadays, so the "Monumentour" pairing is a formidable statement and a strategic rallying of fans.
"This is a testament to live rock music," proclaimed Fall Out Boy's bassist, Pete Wentz, following a bellicose performance of "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race." Singer Patrick Stump, after joyously dancing with his guitar slung over his shoulder during the mid-00s hit "Sugar, We're Going Down," manned a drum kit for a two-person drum solo accompanied by a medley of Jay-Z and Kanye West songs interspersed with EDM tropes. The mighty rock drumming prevailed in the mix over its sonic foes.
No doubt about it: Fall Out Boy rocks. The 20-song set (including a brief take on Queen's "We Are the Champions") was extremely effective and earned fervent shout-alongs. But the band lacks nuance.
Paramore, who delivered a superior performance, did not have this problem.
Frontwoman Hayley Williams kept running during most of the nearly 80-minute set. She leapt in the air as confetti blasted into the crowd. She whipped her teal-dyed hair around like a heavy-metal head-banger, stopping only to bounce huge beach balls to fans. She sprinted back and forth and up and down ramps on either side of the stage. Her lunatic energy was contagious.
Chest-thumping, high-energy songs from Paramore's early discography, including "Pressure" and "Let the Flames Begin," were audience favorites. But, unlike Fall Out Boy, Paramore successfully slowed things down, with beautiful renderings of "The Only Exception" and "Last Hope." Some in the crowd waved lighters, others waved cellphones.
Williams reminisced about Paramore's past Philadelphia shows at much smaller venues, such as North Star Bar and Pontiac Grille. Over the last 10 years, the band's popularity has grown exponentially. And its music, evident on last year's fantastic album, Paramore, has morphed into a uniquely forceful blend of power-pop and rock. The exuberant 14-song set concluded with "Ain't It Fun," Paramore's new single, which currently owns the number one position on a few Billboard pop and rock charts.
Earlier in the night, during "Misery Business," Williams brought a young woman from the audience on stage to sing with her. Like Williams, her hair was dyed. She was nervous at first - it was almost certainly her first time singing for thousands of screaming fans - but she quickly settled in and tried to match Williams' enthusiasm. Perhaps for a moment, she was saved.
If you're looking for a little more than a fireworks show for your 4th of July celebration this year, the city of Camden has got you covered with their second annual Camden Waterfront Freedom Festival.
Sponsored by Coca-Cola, the Camden Waterfront Freedom Festival features the region's largest fireworks display, live music, military displays and demonstrations, amusements, contests, food concessions. The Freedom Festival Beer Garden will be open during regular festival hours from July 3-5, featuring local New Jersey beer.
The festival will kick off on Thursday, July 3 with the pre-celebration for 102.9 FM WMGK's 13th Annual Let Freedom Rock Fest. The festival will feature family-focused attractions, games and amusements, and a performance by WMGK's former house band, the Sofa Kings. All events will lead up to the 6 p.m. concert at Live Nation's Susquehanna Bank Center featuring Foreigner, Styx and former Eagles guitarist Don Felder.
The festivities continue Friday, July 4, with live bands, military vehicles and armed forces displays visiting the Camden Waterfront with patriotic music and activities from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The Adventure Aquarium Waterfront Fireworks Celebration features the region's largest fireworks display and takes place Saturday night, July 5, after the Camden County Freedom Concert beginning at 3 p.m.
The festival will come to a close Sunday, July 6, with special discounts for active military and veterans and their families at both Adventure Aquarium and the Battleship New Jersey Memorial & Museum.
Looking for some laughs? Well, Look no further than the "Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival 2014."
This summer's Funny Or Die Presents "Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival 2014" will feature performances by comedians Amy Schumer, Brent Morin, Dave Attell, DJ Trauma, Hannibal Buress, Louis C.K., Sarah Silverman and Chris D'Elia, with a Second Stage Hosted by Brody Stevens and more.
This year's festivities include 21 dates in all, including a stop at Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden on Saturday, Aug. 16. Like last year, "Oddball 2014" will include two stages, the return of the Cut Throat Freak Show, a roaming troupe of misfit performers, tasty treats, libations, and more, for a full afternoon and evening of fun and entertainment.
Tickets for the general public go on sale this Saturday, June 28 at 10 a.m. and will be available at Ticketmaster.com, Susquehanna Bank Center Box Office, Live Nation Box Office, Ticketmaster Locations, or at 800-745-3000.
Last year's inaugural "Oddball Comedy Festival" encompassed 15 dates and was the largest outdoor comedy festival ever produced by Live Nation. Anchored by the return of Dave Chappelle to the comedy stage and New Zealand duo Flight of the Conchords, Oddball 2013 garnered intense media coverage for the duration of the tour and was a critical and commercial success.