Even the mere threat of rain in Southern California is enough to keep people huddled indoors, so when the line for Self Help Fest was snaked around itself, you know that those in attendance were truly hardcore fans. Boasting a killer lineup, Self Help Fest was not to be missed.
The bands performing at Self Help really knew how to keep the energy up despite the looming clouds and the dropping temperature, and by the time The Devil Wears Prada came on the crowd was pumped. TDWP never ceases to put on an amazing show, and this weekend was no exception. Mike Hranica ran onto the stage shirtless, hair flowing wildly in the wind, and he was the perfect embodiment of the chaos that the crowd was soon to become.
Following TDWP on the main stage was August Burns Red. I can’t count how many times I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them live, and there’s no way I would miss the chance to see them again. Their energy is infectious, and Jake Luhrs is an absolute beast on stage. Properly bundled up like most of us wish we were, he moved about the stage with ease, shaking the ground with his growls. Beard and beanie in place, it was almost as if he was the thunder coming from the dark clouds overhead.
Falling in Reverse and frontman Ronnie Radke have an extremely loyal fanbase, and those fans were not about to be contained. As Radke called for the crowd to go nuts, the audience did just that, pushing the limits of the barricades in the front. By the end of the set, security guards were physically holding the barricades in place, fighting against the force of thousands of people pushing to get closer to the stage and trying to get a glimpse of the performance. By this time, it had begun to rain a bit, and there was something incredibly surreal about the experience. Standing between the surging crowd and the band providing the energy that the crowd was feeding off of, with only the security guards in place holding the barricades together while rain began to fall from the sky, It can hardly be described in words. So many forces coming together in a single moment — the opposing forces of the crowd and security, the force of nature with the cold and rain, and the sheer power of the music coming from the stage — it was magical, if not slightly terrifying. If there was ever a “you had to be there” moment, it was that one.
Papa Roach took the stage next, and they were fantastic. With albums spanning nearly 20 years, Papa Roach took the audience down memory lane. ‘Infest‘ was one of my first CDs, rarely leaving my Discman for the good chunk of 3 years, when they asked if there were any old school PR fans in the audience, I was brimming with anticipation to find out which song they would be playing. I was stoked when I heard the first riffs and Coby begin to sing “There’s no money, there’s no possessions~” the first line to their song “Between Angels and Insects”. The entire crowd was singing along, and they continued to when the band began to play “Scars”, one of their hits from the mid-2000s.
Up next was A Day To Remember. They were scheduled to go on at 9 pm, but due to needing to prepare for the final set (fixing the barricades, perhaps?), the start of the set was delayed. It began to sprinkle again during this time, and it grew colder and colder. The crowd began to thin since there was no indication of when ADTR might be going on. Those that stuck around were greatly rewarded once A Day To Remember took the stage at 9:45. Confetti, streamers, huge screens with graphics throwing it back to their video game-themed “2nd Sucks” video, and pyrotechnics were all part of their set. While the crowd may have thinned a little bit due to the cold and the delay, there was still a huge audience, and it was a challenge to see the stage from in the crowd. Nevertheless, ADTR put on an amazing show, and their fan loyalty was evident. What a fantastic way to close out the night!
Luckily for me, my night ended on a high note, getting to see ADTR perform. Not everyone was quite so fortunate, as the parking lot was littered with broken glass from smashed windows of cars that had been broken into. The cars on either side of mine had their windows smashed in, and there was more window glass throughout the lot. I wish I could say this was the first time this has happened, but so far it’s 3 for 3 in attending events at this location. Perhaps a security presence in the parking lot might help in the future.
A DAY TO REMEMBER
AUGUST BURNS RED