Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
Brittany Woolsey

Through the Ups and Downs of High and Low, The Power of Emo Never Wavered

High and Low Fest (By the Minute Review)
NOS Events Center

1:59 p.m. You’re not allowing outside water into the festival when it’s 90+ degrees out? Come on, High and Low, you can do better.(Brittany Woolsey)

2:03 There’s this huge water fountain here. I just want to jump in it. (BW)

2:33 Goddamn, the main stage just might be one of the tallest stages I’ve ever seen. (BW)

2:40 There is only one area for bathrooms. Porta-potties on the other side of the venue. Indoor restrooms are blocked off. So, hurdles for both hydration and relieving ourselves. We gonna die out here. (BW)

3:08 There’s a stand for edibles here. Pot lollipops and chocolates that are molded to look like nugs. Stay classy, San Bernardino. (BW)

3:12 I was hoping to get here in time to see Kevin Devine, but traffic on the 91 decided that wasn't meant to be. The parking lot currently looks like a Mad Max-esque desert wasteland. (Josh Chesler)

3:21The side stage is MUCH lower. My 5’2” self appreciates this. (BW)

3:32 The guitarist of Jessica Hernandez is a doppelganger of Nick Wilde from “Zootopia.” He’s in the exact same shade of green shirt with a brown striped tie. If only he had one of those giant popsicles for sale in this heat. (BW)

3:44 The way this is set up is awesome. There's a good amount of shade outside, a giant fountain, and air conditioning inside. It has a very summer camp feel. (Eran Ryan)

3:54 The real MVPs of this festival are the trees around the venue offering ample spaces for shade. (BW)

4:02 So far, the biggest cheers of the day have been for the DJ playing Radiohead and a cloud covering the sun. Both were pivotal moments. (JC)

4:19 More festivals need comedy stages. This is something I strongly believe in, (JC)

4:41 Even though we're still in a parking lot, it's way less crammed than anything the Observatory has done. It looks kind of empty, but it's much more pleasant. (ER)

5:17 Yes, he's a Huntington Beach boy, but I can still feel Andrew McMahon's impending sunburn from here. He's square in the San Bernardino sunlight every time he sits at his piano. (JC)

5:27 The wacky wailing inflatable tube men are fixtures at Andrew McMahon shows now.

5:28 Leave it to Andrew McMahon to make all of the ladies swoon with the tracks he's been writing and performing for almost 20 years. (ER)

5:30 OK, now he’s bringing back the inflatable duck. Andrew McMahon could single-handedly be keeping pool floatie businesses alive in the off-season. (BW)

5:37 Workers are now walking around selling water and Gatorade to people in the crowd. Hmm, maybe if you let the fans bring in their own water in the first place, you wouldn’t be so concerned about them passing out in the heat. Anything to make a quick buck, I guess. (BW)

5:39 I’m feeling super nostalgic of my high school emo days at this festival. Quick, someone go to Hot Topic and bring me back from thick-rimmed non-prescription glasses and Jack Skellington sweat bands ASAP. (BW)

6:11 It's unclear whether the Chipotle buffet next to the press area is only for artists or if broke journalists can take from it too. There's only one way to find out. (JC)

Best Coast
Best Coast
Brittany Woolsey

6:34 The lead singer of Best Coast is super cute, and their music makes me want to chill on the beach with a drink in my hand. Too bad I’m practically in a fucking desert. (BW)

6:42 So many people here in Brand New shirts. Don’t they know the first rule of concerts is you never wear a shirt for the band you’re there to see? Amateurs. (Excuse my while I cover up my Brand New arm tattoo) (BW)

6:52 Best Coast is cool and everything, but they seem a little out of place here. (JC)

6:57 Just talked to a paramedic about the no-water policy. He said that because there were no refill stations, the fest was told to allow patrons to bring in water. And he gave me a free water bottle! YAS. DOWN WITH THE MAN. (BW)

7:18 Tegan and Sara definitely have the most beach-friendly stage setup of the day, although their not the first band with inflatable decor. (ER)

7:32 Holy shit, Gabrial McNair from No Doubt is playing keys for Tegan and Sara! (BW)

7:33 “What a beautiful night for a rock show,” indeed, Tegan. (BW)

Tegan and Sara
Tegan and Sara
Eran Ryan

7:36 Sara’s jacket reads “VULVA” on the back. I’m all for it, girl. (BW)

7:38 p.m. This security guard is leading the crowd in clapping along to the band. His boss came over and told him to stop. Security guard keeps going and tells the people in front of him that they’re his friends now. YOU GO, GLEN COCO! (BW)

8:44 Ben Gibbard can sing pretty much anything and I'd listen to it. (ER)

8:45 They’re damn good live. Mmkay, Ben Gibbard. I’ll “spend some time” with you. But please come to the front of the stage. It’s hard to see you in the back hidden behind that keyboard. (BW)

9:02 Death Cab would headline most festivals, but tonight they're mostly just the last band in a long line of openers for Brand New. (JC)

Death Cab For Cutie
Death Cab For Cutie
Brittany Woolsey

9:06 "I've often thought of this as deep, deep Bad Religion, Propagandhi, NOFX territory," Ben Gibbard says of San Bernardino. He's not wrong by any means. (JC)

9:41 Handfuls of people are leaving following Death Cab For Cutie's set. Clearly they don't appreciate Brand New (or me). (ER)

9:50 Hearing around that some girl in the crowd pulled out a fucking knife to try to get to the front of the crowd for Brand New? Stay classy, San Bernardino. (BW)

9:53 At least 40 percent of the people in this crowd have a questionable Brand New tattoo. (JC)

9:55 What in the shit is this metal gate doing at the front of the stage for Brand New? I’m not liking where this is headed. (BW)

10:02 There are so many bro-y assholes trying to mack on girls while pushing their way to the moshpit before the set even starts. I wonder if Brand New brings out the inner douchebag in normal guys or if they just have a substantially douchebaggy fan base. (JC)

10:13 Brand New is 13 minutes late so far. Jesse Lacey, stop playing World of Warcraft and put on this goddamn show. Also, lift that fucking gate. (BW)

Brand Bew
Brand Bew
Eran Ryan

10:15 Dear sweet Jesus. They’re opening up with the intro from the new album. Yes, lady. Tell me all about your dream. BUT ALSO, LIFT THAT FUCKING GATE. (BW)

10:17 The giant metal screen/light display in front of the band makes it look like the entire stage is wearing Kanye's shutter shades. (ER)

10:19 Brand New is barely visible, but we're still all standing in a sea of cell phones. (JC)

10:22 Does a Brand New set that doesn't start with "Tautou" even count as a Brand New set anymore? (JC)

10:37 Brand New finally pulled up the giant effects screen that was in front of them. It looked cool, but it visually sucked for those of us trying to actually see (and photograph) the band. (ER)

Through the Ups and Downs of High and Low, The Power of Emo Never Wavered
Brittany Woolsey

10:41 The gate’s up now! And my friend Mondo is putting me up on his shoulders to take pictures from the back of the crowd and everything is awesome and OH MY GOD THEY’RE PLAYING “OUT OF MANA” FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. (BW)

11:19 The fog machines are going so thick that I just got hit in the face by a big cloud of it, and I'm not even particularly close to the stage. (JC)

11:33 Only Brand New could get my sinning heart hyped with a song called “Jesus Christ.” (BW)

11:47 YOU’RE JUST JEALOUS BECAUSE WE’RE YOUNG AND IN LOVE. Dammit, High and Low. You would have made bank off those Kleenex sales from me alone. (BW)

11:41 For all the fans complaining that they didn't play "Quiet Things" and ended on back-to-back slow songs, just be thankful you got an encore at all. Welcome to a Brand New show. (ER)

12:18 a.m. Traffic getting out of the parking lot isn't last year's Day N Night bad, but it's certainly not great. (JC)

12:26  We're gonna stay in park forever, so we can wait this out forever. And we'll never miss the traffic, 'cause it keeps on going constantly. And we'll always have to listen, to honking cars and traffic sounds. 'Cause there's many cars, and just one way out. We're the coolest kids, and we're stuck in bad traffic. (JC)


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