It’s not a commonality for recognized festivals to take place in Ohio, but Jason Parent, Cory Hajde, and Alex Tucker have made it a point to put Cleveland on the map with Spring Fling (check out our interview with the men behind the festival here). The festival returned for its third year on May 15th at The Agora Theatre and Ballroom, with Pure Noise*, Run For Cover, SCVM CVLTURE, and many others sponsoring the festival.
Souvenirs was the first band to play the main stage of Spring Fling. Having formed in 2011, they only have one full-length album—You, Fear, and Me—under their belts. They may be newcomers, but their performance made it no surprise that they scored an opening slot on The Story So Far’s current tour.
After watching Loma Prieta’s fog-concealed performance, I could see why they’d name themselves after the violent Loma Prieta earthquake. The vocals were full of furious screaming, while the drummer played frantically and the guitars were smothered with distortion. Their sound clearly confused some of the audience—mostly filled with pop-punk fans—but by the end of their set, the band had an entirely new horde of fans.
Cleveland golden boys, Light Years, put on a rip-roaring performance to their hometown crowd. Light Years have been rising through the pop-punk rankings since 2009, and they’re in the process of recording their second full-length record with Will Yip. Be sure to see them this summer during their tour with Head North, A Will Away, and Casey Bolles.
Long Island band Iron Chic played anthemic punk-rock songs to an ecstatic crowd of die-hard fans. The band couldn’t seem to stand still, which only encouraged the gang of constant stage-divers even more. The band released a Split EP with Low Culture early this year, but most are already eager to hear the band’s next full-length album.
Defeater seem to be back in full swing after vocalist Derek Archambault’s hip replacement surgery sidelined them in late 2014. The hardcore band has captivated fans with their emotional concept albums based upon a family struggling after World War II (Travels, Empty Days & Sleepless Nights, and Letters Home). The band will be touring Australia and Europe through June and July, and their performance at Spring Fling was a great send-off.
Pentimento took over Crime In Stereo’s time slot after they unexpectedly dropped off of Spring Fling. Any sort of disappointment was quickly cured with Pentimento’s catchy songs and frontman Jeramiah Pauly’s continual grinning throughout their set. The band recently signed to Bad Timing Records and will be releasing their second album this fall.
Pianos Become The Teeth
Pianos Become The Teeth put on one of the best performances of the day. Their unique blend of emo and hardcore helped them get signed to Epitaph Records, and they released their newest album (Keep You) last October. Vocalist Kyle Durfey resembles Taking Back Sunday’s frontman, Adam Lazzara, with his onstage mic antics and dancing that kept the crowd moving. Be sure to check them out at Bled Fest in Howell, Michigan on May 23rd.
Four Year Strong
Four Year Strong have been pop-punk favorites since 2001. Their newest releases have paved a return to their old-school sound, overjoying some and infuriating others. However, their performance at Spring Fling made it evident that the majority of their fan base will continue to offer their unwavering support. The band played some of their classics, including “Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die.” They also performed “Bada Bing! Wit’ A Pipe!” with John James Ryan Jr. (tour manager) filling in the synth portions with his saxophone. They also played “We All Float Down Here” from their upcoming album. Catch them on tour with The Story So Far, and check out their self-titled album set to release on June 2nd.
mewithoutYou performed a much mellower set, but incredible nonetheless. The band has been together since 2000, and their fifteen years of experience shines through their remarkable stage presence. Vocalist Aaron Weiss took turns between speaking poetically and excitedly playing maracas or tambourine. The band started off with “Torches Together” from their 2004 album Catch For Us The Foxes, and went on to play “Red Cow” from their upcoming album. The band closed their set with “In A Sweater Poorly Knit.” In June they’ll be touring the US with Foxing and Lithuania. Their upcoming album, Pale Horses, will be released on June 16th, and is available for pre-order now.
The Movielife rose to fame in the late ‘90s, and signed to Drive-Thru Records in 2001. After breaking up in 2003, it seemed unlikely that the band would ever return to Cleveland. Their set at Spring Fling brought a packed crowd of fans that often ended up drowning out Vinnie Caruna’s voice. Caruna didn’t seem to mind the screaming fans, often offering the mic to lucky crowd surfers and stage divers. Although The Movielife broke up due to tensions within the band, all bitterness seemed stripped away while the band performed flawlessly and fed off of each other’s energy. The band only has a few more tour dates throughout Europe and the US, but hopefully the crowd at Spring Fling will encourage a full-blown reunion, and perhaps even a new album.
The Story So Far
The Story So Far closed the festival on the main stage. Their set didn’t start until 11pm, but this didn’t discourage the enormous audience that filled the theatre. The band started off their set with “Things I Can’t Change,” and lead into one of their newest songs, “Nerve.” Although their newest album hasn’t been released yet, fans had done their homework and knew the words to every song the band played off of their upcoming album. Parker Cannon’s performance was a little out of the ordinary; he stood with a mic stand for the majority of the set, rather than jumping around onstage and flailing his arms. However, this seemed to make his vocal performance sound even better than usual. The audience had an uncontrollable amount of energy, continuing to overwhelm the barricade and the bodyguards despite the set lasting until almost midnight. The band returned to the stage for a quick encore, and ended with “High Regard.” Check them out on their headlining tour with Four Year Strong, Terror, and Souvenirs, and take a listen to their self-titled album, releasing on May 18th.
*DISCLAIMER: After recent events involving Pure Noise Records’ signing of No Good News and Front Porch Step, WXCU Radio does not support or endorse Pure Noise Records. We encourage you to learn more about the record label’s ableism towards sexual assault victims, and donate to RAINN, Joyful Heart, and the many other organizations that benefit victims of sexual assault.