Review: New Found Glory at Aloha Tower
Photos by Melissa Kumano / Courtesy HNLNow.com
Pop-punk rockers New Found Glory returned to Hawaii for a concert at Aloha Tower Marketplace on Wednesday, March 9. Click here for more photos.
REVIEW BY JASON GENEGABUS / firstname.lastname@example.org
The next time you hear someone complain about the lack of a rock scene on this rock, ask them one question — "Did you go see New Found Glory at Aloha Tower Marketplace on March 9?"
If they respond with "yes," go ahead and let them speak their mind. They've earned the right to do so by opening up their wallet and supporting promoter BAMP Project's efforts to maintain a healthy concert scene here in Honolulu.
It's people who don't even go to these shows — and then complain about them — who really annoy me. And I just know that there will be more than a few of those types running their mouths in the days and weeks to come, since the crowd that did show up at the Waterfront was hardly the size a band like New Found Glory rightfully deserves.
Maybe it was the rain that had kept things gloomy all day — but didn't affect the concert itself at all — or the fact that this island doesn't have a true rock station worth listening to on the radio anymore. Either way, for a band that really helped usher the pop-punk sound into the mainstream spotlight nearly a decade ago, it was a little disappointing to see less than 2,000 fans in attendance for the show.
Nowhere near the majority of those people were actually inside the venue when Silverstein (pictured above) opened the night. The Canadian rockers were already on stage when I arrived around 7:30 p.m. and only played a few more songs before making way for New Found Glory.
The crowd present at that time of the evening may have been small, but they were loyal — and vocal. "My Heroine" had a core group of about 50 people singing along right in front of the stage, which definitely caught lead singer Shane Told's attention.
"You guys are loud," he told the group. "This rules, man!"
Along with covering Kid Dynamite's "Lover" and American Nightmare's "Hearts," Silverstein shared a few new songs off their upcoming album, "Rescue," due out April 25. First up was "The Artist," followed by "Broken Stars" to close out their set.
SOME 45 minutes later, Jordan Pundik and the rest of New Found Glory came out as "Chariots of Fire" played — and promptly got to making the Aloha Tower crowd's ears bleed with "Understatement," "All Downhill From Here" and "Tip of the Iceberg." The show was definitely for longtime fans, with the band playing a nice variety of songs off both their older and newer albums.
Wednesday night's concert was the final date on a tour that took the band through southeast Asia and Australia before bringing them to Hawaii while on the way back to the continental U.S. — and all the prior shows had definitely taken their toll. After just two songs, Pundik warned the Aloha Tower crowd that he was battling bronchitis and might not be able to hit all his notes.
That didn't mean he didn't try — and the rest of the band tried, too, to give their Hawaii fans a set they'd talk about for a long time to come. You could tell they were tired and ready to go home but still wanted to play the best show possible.
After "Failure's Not Flattering," for example, Pundik jumped from the stage to high-five a few fans in the front row at the Waterfront. As he returned, he told guitarist Chad Gilbert that it felt "really good" to be back in front of an audience on Oahu. A few minutes later, Gilbert gave a shout out to Big Island mixed martial arts fighter BJ Penn, telling the crowd how much of an honor it was to have the former UFC champion in attendance.
It's too bad Gilbert couldn't get his girlfriend out on stage, however. One of the night's worst-kept secrets was that Paramore lead singer Hayley Williams was in the house, and while she did in fact hang out just off stage during New Found Glory's set, you wouldn't have known she was there if you weren't paying attention to the promoter's social media feeds or the ongoing Twitter commentary taking place during the show.
Before wrapping up the night with an encore that featured "My Friend's Over You," the band made sure to inform their fans they were getting ready to head back into the studio in April to kick off work on a new album.
Unfortunately, that reminder only served to underscore my personal belief that it's been a while since New Found Glory has put out any new material worth listening to. Wednesday's concert reminded me that I'm not a fan of the songs on 2006's "Coming Home" or 2009's "Not Without a Fight."
Hopefully, that new album will be more like "Sticks and Stones," the band's major label debut released in 2003. Hopefully, New Found Glory won't keep their Hawaii fans waiting too long before returning to our islands to share that new material with us live in concert.
And, hopefully, we'll have a radio station on this island by then that plays their style of rock so their next concert gets a little more support from local residents.