Self Help Fest 2016 Review + Photos

Author: Elizabeth Porch

A Day To Remember

A Day To Remember knows how to throw one hell of a party and Self Help Festival was no exception. According to the festival’s official website, this was the biggest year for the festival, and with a lineup like this year’s, it’s no surprise. With a turn out of 17,000 people, the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, CA was so packed that it seemed the venue was bursting at the seams.

The show started off on the right foot with Japan’s ONE OK ROCK taking the stage shortly after doors. Despite some technical difficulties, the band got the crowd started on what looked to be an enjoyable (and sweaty) day of music. People continued to filter in throughout their thirty minute set, followed by the shifting of people as others tried to make it to the back of the events center for the indoor performances.

Thy Art Is Murder

Thy Art Is Murder

Between the indoor and outdoor stages, along with the shockingly long lines that snaked their way through people for the food trucks, there was a lot of commotion.

Thy Art Is Murder took the stage after ONE OK ROCK, and they quickly drew people in. The side of the stage was packed for the Australian band’s set, and the crowd in front of the stage during They Art Is Murder was expansive. Their set had been one heavily mentioned just in passing, but it was definitely impressive. The excitement from their set was met with even more energy when Crown The Empire followed.

The music scene has started to see more of Crown The Empire, and with good reason. The band opened with “The Fallout” and was met with a crowd that knew every word, which earned countless grins from frontmen Andy Leo and Dave Escamilla. The band also played a new song, titled “Zero” that was met with nothing but praise.

It was a mad dash to make it out of the pit and back to the Black Stage to be on time for Tonight Alive’s set, but the rush was well worth it when the Sydney-based rockers took the stage, opening their set with “To Be Free”, the first track on their newest album Limitless. The song has a bit of a new sound for the band that could be considered a bit of an acquired taste to some, but the excitement on everyone’s faces was enough to sell the new album to this writer.

The Black Stage was a great location to go to attempt to cool down and take a chance to get out of the sun, but no spot in the events center was safe from the party atmosphere.

issues6

Issues

With another trip back out into the crowd, Issues took the Red Stage by storm, busting out first with “Love, Sex, Riot”, a song from their first EP that originally featured Fronz from Attila. Self Help was one of the first few dates on the band’s current tour roster, and they sure managed to show what everyone had been missing in the four months since they last toured. They played two songs from their upcoming album, one titled “The Realest” that they also played while on tour last October with Bring Me The Horizon. The newest one, “Blue Wall”, was welcomed when it was introduced as a song speaking out against police brutality. In the two years since the band released their self-titled album, it was proven that all parties had definitely been working hard in their time away.

Letlive.

Letlive.

There was another mad dash to get back to the Black Stage for Letlive. and at that point, the repurposed airplane hangar was packed. The moment the lights dimmed, the crowd went crazy, matched with the never-ending energy from Jason Butler. In just the first verse from “Banshee”, Jason had rocketed off the stage and into the crowd, still holding on tight to that Letlive.’s stage presence that everyone knows so well.

After the Black Stage was closed out, it was time to head back out into the rest of the festival. At that point in the day, it was hot, so many people were obviously exhausted and sunburned, and it was also obvious that fans were starting to get antsy for the two biggest acts of the night.

August Burns Red Self Help

August Burns Red

This year’s Grammy nominees August Burns Red took to the stage soon after, putting on one of the most energetic sets of the day. You don’t have to be a fan of them to know that they love what they do, and that was incredibly obvious throughout the entirety of their performance. Not having seen them before, it’s pretty straightforward now as to why there is so much well-deserved hype surrounding them.

The Story So Far and The Wonder Years played as the sun set, and it was nice to listen to while trying to navigate through the crowd to the massive lines for water.

Underoath Self Help

Underoath

Everything seemed to fall tense during the wait after The Wonder Years finished their set, mainly because everyone knew what was up next. It almost seemed as if the entire crowd took one collective breath and held it in anticipation once the stage was finally set up for Underoath.

When Underoath hit the stage, they were met with a thunderous enthusiasm, and the band embraced every bit of it. With this being the band’s first performance since their split in 2013, it was remarkable to witness. Had someone not known about their breakup, it would’ve seemed
like any normal show for a band with lifelong fans. Their performance was one this writer will never forget, right down to the goosebumps that rose when Spencer held the microphone out to the crowd for the group vocals in the bridge of “It’s Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door”.  They were, hands down, the best performance of the day.

A Day to Remember

A Day to Remember

The excitement from Underoath carried over into A Day To Remember’s set when they began with “The Downfall Of Us All”, complete with pyrotechnics. (It’s not a party if something isn’t on fire, right?) The Florida rockers put on an amazing show that went through a sixteen song set list was composed of a comfortable mix of both old and new songs, and included the fun of beach balls, toilet paper, fire, and (of course) explosives. They even covered Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy”, which was a gift in itself.

The end of Self Help Fest was one that came all too soon, and this Midwesterner will be thinking about it for a long time.

See the rest of Elizabeth Porch’s photo gallery HERE.

Keep it on Bythebarricade.com for tons of punk rock interviews, reviews, articles, and photos! Also, “Like” By the Barricade on Facebook to never miss a post. If you liked this article check out:

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Elizabeth Porch

Author: Elizabeth Porch

With a passion for living life through the camera lens, Elizabeth is ready to share the joys of the Midwestern music scene with as many eys as possible. Now, with an outlet to share words and images, she is ready to tackle whatever is thrown her way.

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