Words & Photos by Joe Calixto
As summer’s end is fast approaching, it never hurts to throw one more outdoor festival in the hot hot sun (unless you don’t put sunscreen and you’ll be covered in sunburn; that will fucking hurt). This is where High and Low Festival comes in.
Brought to you by the same people who gave us one of last year’s Chain Fest and the World Famous KROQ, the NOS Event Center was the set for a whole day of good music and comedy.
As I entered the festival grounds I definitely felt that infamous San Bernardino heat, and being the scholar that I am, I wore all black and pants. The best decision I’ve made hands down. (⸮) It was my second time going to the NOS Events Center, I was there for Self Help Fest last year, and if memory serves me right, it was packed once doors opened. Unfortunately, the festival started off slow but through out the day it started to get packed.
The festival featured a lot of different artists of all different genres, from pop rock to punk to indie to Kevin Devine. This show had all corners covered. The festival also featured a comedy stage brought to us by our close buddies and secret lovers, The Hard Times. Which I heard through out the day was packed with people trying to either laugh hysterically or get some of that free air conditioning. (Obviously you were there for the comedy).
So the music side of things were kicked off by Bay Area band, Elder Brother, who played in the indoor stage. I personally have been wanting to see that band for a while now. Shortly after that, the main stage was opened up by the one and only, the magnificent, KevDev (Kevin Devine), I told a friend after watching his set “it’s never too early for the feels.”
In between stages, bands like Bad Suns, Coin, Charly Bliss, Cloud Nothings played through out the day. Unfortunately I didn’t get to shoot a lot of them but you should definitely listen to everyone of those up and coming bands. (Also, I was just hanging out at The Hard Times tent, but you didn’t read that.)
There were a few bands that I was really stoked to see and photograph. Bands like Now Now, Citizen and PUP, who all played the side stage, are on high rotation in my Spotify shuffle. So seeing them live was definitely a treat. Side note: I fuck with PUP so hard! Such a great band!
I don’t even know what to call the main stage bands, they were all headliner material. Andrew McMahon and Best Coast are two acts who are no stranger to the festival circuit. Andrew dropped some major throwback jams, playing Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin songs. As for Best Coast, it’s crazy to think the day after that festival they joined Paramore on their full US tour.
I’m pretty sure I don’t need to say anything about the next two performers – it’s Tegan and Sara & Death Cab For Cutie. Who the fuck doesn’t know these two acts. Like f’real! If you’ve listened to music in the last 20 years, there is no way in hell you haven’t bumped into one or 20 of their songs. Totally different styles of music but watching the crowds vibe for both bands was fucking great.
And I think that’s about it for the festival!
Of course, closing the night was Long Island, New York rock outfit Brand New, who coming into the festival, just put out a new record titled Science Fiction. Getting into the festival grounds you can already tell that 70% of these people were here to see Brand New. From the endless Brand New shirts that people were wearing to the long line of people waiting to purchase new merch, you could totally say this was a Brand New show.
The band came on stage, with a pretty cool LED display in front of them. (Not cool for us in the photo pit, except for those fire photographers who got some sick shots with that on.) The set was a good mix of the old and the very new. Also, they played songs from “Science Fiction” live for the first time ever during the festival. They also brought out their good friend and one of my faves, KevDev, to jam a few songs with the band on guitar. Finally ending their set with a solo performance of “Soco Amaretto Lime.”
If the speculations of a planned break up next year pulls through, this was probably the last chance I would’ve been able to photograph Brand New. So I am stoked to have done that with some of my favorite people in the pit. And for others, probably the last time they’ll see them.
All in all, the festival was a good way to end summer for a lot of us southern Californians. Let’s see what a second serving of High and Low will bring us. Til next time!
BRAND NEW “2000-2018”: STAY 18 FOREVER