Posted by Scott Heisel on 08-May-06 @ 02:56 PM

Ah, day one of the Bamboozle -- otherwise known as 34,000 Fall Out Boy fans and me. Yes, if you didn't know, the biggest band in the world were headlining the first night of the New Jersey fest, and on the strength of their gajillion-selling new album, From Under The Cork Tree, the crowd was dominated by their loyal followers. Of course, there were enough music fans in general to flesh out the crowds for seemingly each of the six stages, with most bands playing to a captive audience.

First up on AP's to-watch list were Chicago-based instrumental (or should we say instrumetal) trio Russian Circles. Even the band were one of the first to go on, at 12:45, those who slowed down to listen to them were in awe of their tight chops, sick guitar lines and complete lack of vocals. Definitely a diamond in the pop-punk rough on day one.

We then took in a mid-afternoon performance from Nashville buzz band the Pink Spiders, who were decked out appropriately in various pink-hued items of clothing. They sounded a bit off their game, but when their TRL-worthy single "Little Razorblade" kicked in, you could see the teenage females' heads bopping. The band also get major points for covering Elvis Costello's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding."

Immediately following the conclusion of the Pink Spiders' set was easily the most bizarre and amazing rock spectacle all weekend. Two words sum up what we witnessed next: Van Stone. If you think Valient Thorr is over-the-top, you've seen nothing yet. This California band, complete with tons of leather, a lion's mane cape, buzzsaw guitars (literally, the thing was shaped like a buzzsaw) and a "manager" who walked around onstage on a cell phone the entire set, ripped through their raucous rawk, including the surefire hit "Show Us Your Tits For Freedom" and the Subway-sponsored "Peanuts In My Poop." Don't worry, you'll see them on the cover of AP soon.

We next caught the recently expanded lineup of Over It on the adjacent second stage as they walked out to Seal's "Kiss From A Rose." These pop-punk boys sounded phenomenal with the addition of a third guitarist, which actually let frontman Peter Munters put his axe down every once in a while to act the frontman part. Among their set highlights were "Sirens On The 101" and a new song, which will be on their major-label debut, out this August.

After trekking through the sea of people back to the main stage area, we watched Hellogoodbye from afar. While the band had a metric ton of energy (as usual), they suffered from myriad technical difficulties which resulted in no keyboards for the set. Hellogoodbye - keyboards = weird. But the band slogged on, and the crowd loved them for it.

Hometown boys Armor For Sleep took the opposite main stage following HGB's set, and made the Bamboozle their own, with a solid mixture of songs from both of their full-lengths. Although how Ben Jorgensen didn't pass out onstage in the 85-degree heat while wearing a thermal, a T-shirt and jeans is beyond this writer's comprehension.

As we ran back across the parking lot, Virginia's own Mae kicked into their set. Their Jimmy Eat World-esque rock helped me forget about the sun beating down on my forehead incessantly. Temporarily, at least.

Silverstein took the main stage next to the tune of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York," and completely killed it. The crowd was all sorts of crazy, with bodies flying everywhere to the tune of "Smashed Into Pieces" and "My Heroine." Ironically, the band lived up to "Smashed Into Pieces"'s song title, as when the set concluded, "New York, New York" kicked back in and the band smashed all of their gear accordingly. It was, in a phrase, really fucking awesome.

We wandered on over to the side stage to get ready for Minus The Bear and caught a good chunk of Paramore's set. 17-year-old frontwoman Hayley Williams has more charisma than singers twice her age, and her band aren't far behind in their chops, either. Big things for this band are a no-brainer.

Following Paramore's set, Minus The Bear delivered a healthy dose of face-melters. Actually, it was completely the opposite. The band's set was surprisingly mellow, but strangely fitting for the sun going down behind them. "Drilling" and "The Game Needed Me" made appearances, as did a brand-new song (which actually was a bit of a face-melter). The band closed with "Pachucha Sunrise" to the delight of the crowd, and modestly left the stage to thunderous applause. Attention, anyone reading this: Listen to Minus The Bear. Thank you.

Following MTB's set, I ventured back to the AP booth, where Beatlemania was in full effect -- we had scheduled a signing with From First To Last, and apparently every attendee wanted to meet them, as the line was (seriously) probably a half-mile long. Screaming, crying and hugging were par for the course in this signing, and the band were gracious enough to sign for almost two hours, letting every fan get their moment. Of course, this frenzy caused me to miss mewithoutYou and Motion City Soundtrack's performances, so for that, I hate you, From First To Last. (Just kidding!)

As temperatures dropped, the action rised with the double dose of the night's headliners, Thursday and Fall Out Boy. Thursday's set was concise as all hell, with the band only playing a scant seven songs and ending 5 or so minutes early, which was a slight bummer. Luckily, their light show was incredible, and hearing "Jet Black New Year" sent the crowd into overdrive. But as soon as the band wrapped up, the mass exodus to the second main stage was in effect, with every person anxiously awaiting Fall Out Boy.

After a brief intro, Pete Wentz & Co. took the stage to the loudest response of the day and launched right into their set, wasting no time (and taking no prisoners). Rumor has it Jay-Z was in attendance and was going to join the band onstage but decided against it at the last minute; however, members of Panic! At The Disco and the Academy Is... did come out onstage and join the band for some numbers, making the whole thing a family affair.

All in all, with the three-dollar bottles of water, 10-dollar burritos, tons of people and nonstop heat, the day was a smashing success. As we retired to our hotel room that night, we could only anxiously await day two -- and Taking Back Sunday.