New Found Glory

New Found Glory

Cartel, the Early November, Hit the Lights

Philadelphia, PA • November 12, 2006

The weather was cold and there was a steady downpour. A long line of umbrellas lined the Electric Factory; under them, kids huddled in small groups, hoping for the doors to open. Trying to stay dry (a task that was not so easily accomplished), they chatted. Menawhile, others were hunting for scalpers and any extra tickets to the sold-out show. At ten after 6 p.m., the doors finally opened and the line surged forward. Kids ran to security guards, in attempts to get through security checks as fast as possible and inside to the stage. As kids went in, umbrellas became forgotten old friends, as they were tossed into corners.

Inside, the place was bustling with excitement. Some fans decided to head for the stage, to get prime standing room in front of the barrier. Others opted to check out the merchandise stand. FYE was offering a deal were if someone bought Cartel’s Chroma, they could meet the band. Kids were snatching up CDs and t-shirts left and right. I wandered to a small table in the back, watching the 21-and-over crowd make their way upstairs to the bar.

At 7 p.m., the first act, Hit the Lights, took the stage. Hailing from Lima, Ohio, the band received a great crowd reaction, probably one of the best I’ve ever seen for an opening act. I didn’t really know any of their songs, except the single, “Bodybag,” but I found myself tapping my foot, as I watched a few crowd surfers.

Cartel was next on the bill. After one of the quickest set-ups I’ve seen (and no sound problems following), the band took the stage to the delight of the audience. With their latest single, “Honestly,” Cartel had quite a following. Yet, I wasn’t impressed with their live performance. Their songs seemed to blend all together. They ended with “The Minstrel’s Prayer,” “Q” and “A,” — what seemed to be the longest nine minutes of my life.

Next up was the Early November. As the set progessed, I found myself amazed that I knew so many of their songs as I did. After all, if you had said “The Early November,” the only song that came to mind was “I Want to Hear You Sad.” Fans in the front seemed to be enoying themselves with a little moshing and crowd surfing. My attention was distracted when I noticed the sudden line of underage girls lining up in front of me. Being 5’1″, my view was being blocked by girls who hadn’t even hit legal age… but why? What could cause all these kids to be standing in the back? I followed the line and at the front, there was the reason: Cartel. The meet-and-greet was about to start; the girls in line (ranging from ages 5 to maybe 15) clutched their CDs, forgetting about the show.

At this point, New Found Glory’s equipment was being set up. Since the meet-and-greet line seemed to have no end, my friends and I decided to relocate ourselves in the midst of the crowd. It was probably our best decision. New Found Glory came on, opening with “All Downhill From Here.” Packed in tightly, with very little arm space, the crowd managed to shake things up. Crowd surfers were eveywhere; a huge mosh pit burst open in the middle of the floor. I admit I was a bit skeptic about NFG’s set; I had seen them back in 2004, when they opened for Green Day and it was not their best. However, if any band has matured, it is most certainly New Found Glory. Their set went smoothly, as they played tracks off of their various CDs– not just the latest ones. The audience was even treated to a special performance of “You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania.”

Lead singer, Jordan Pundik, went on to say that the band had told the president of their record company, Geffen Records, to forget about their NY show and to come check them out when they played in Philly. The crowd roared with excitement as the set went on. About an hour in, the band walked offstage. All around me, screams of “one more song” were heard. Sure enough, the band came back on with an encore. They played “My Friends Over You,” as their last song; from my angle, there didn’t seem to be anyone sitting in their chair.

As the set closed, fans seemed quick to exit back into the rain and to those umbrellas shoved in corners. The rain had let up, but their excitement hadn’t. Stereos blasted down 7th Street; the sound of New Found Glory followed me to the EL.

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