High and Low Festival in San Bernardino, CA

Review & Photography by: Alan Cruz

High and Low Fest was a day full of highs. The festival had a line up with a lot of new bands for me to discover as well as some of my favorites. Mostly I was excited to see Brand New perform songs off their new album ‘Science Fiction’.

     The first couple bands playing, I was listening to for the first time. Starting off the day for me was Kevin Devine. A good vibe to kick off the festival and wake up the crowd that was trickling in. Afterwards, I moved indoors to catch Charly Bliss. They got the crowd going early and played some awesome upbeat songs. Seeing as I hadn’t listened to them before that day, I made sure to add them to my list of bands to check out. Another addition to that list was the next band I watched, Coin. Coin had the crowd dancing throughout their set with a poppy dance sound.  Bad Suns was the final band I was not familiar with. Like Coin, they also had a pop sound to them that had the crowd singing and dancing. Apparently they had the eyes of a few of the young ladies in the front row who were yelling out how much they loved them.

     Finally, the bands I was more familiar with started taking the stage. Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness has been a staple in my concert going this year. He played a typical set including the Jack’s Mannequin song “Dark Blue” and Something Corporate’s “Woke Up In A Car”. As always mid set he came out and crowd surfed on a rubber duck pool float. Up next Best Coast. Bethany (vocals) has such a melodic voice. Hearing her belt out California nights was hypnotic. Tegan and Sara came out and turned the festival into a dance party with their new electro pop jams and electro pop renditions of some of their older songs. Death Cab for Cutie followed them up with their mellow yet amazing performance. They were sonically tight collectively and Ben’s [Gibbard] signing was on point.

Finally, the main event of the evening. Brand New. You can feel the excitement and anticipation in the air. There was a buzz prior to the band taking the stage. As crew worked on the approximately 10ft LED lit wall, the crowd was chanting for Brand New. Finally the lights dimmed and out came the band. What came after was a purely magical performance. It began with the documentary interview styled intro. Jesse, then started singing the opening line to “Lit Me Up” as images and light patterns were projected on the previously mentioned LED Wall. Sprinkling in some of their older catalog, save for anything from Your Favorite Weapon, they played a set that had 7 out of the 10 new songs from just released, Science Fiction. Closing out the set with Soco Amaretto Lime, the crowd all shared one amazing moment in softly singing “they’re just jealous cause we’re young and in love…” and it was one of the most amazing concert moments I’ve been a part of.

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