By Mike Mehalick, SIMGE Columnist & Contributing Writer to Spinner.com
After the surprising detail drop of this year’s The Bamboozle, annually held in the Meadowlands, many were left with three big time headliners and their collective jaws dropped firmly on the floor. For its tenth anniversary the festival will return to its roots in Asbury Park, where it was known as The Great Bamboozle, with Blink 182, Foo Fighters, and area native Bon Jovi topping each day’s bill. So where was the big surprise?
If you’ve followed the history of The Bamboozle over the years you’d know that the festival usually reserves its primary slots for up and coming emo bands or a random cavalcade of top 40 hit makers (with the occasional Motley Crue type thrown in as seen on last year’s bill). Although only three bands have been announced so far one can’t help but notice the lack of a Taking Back Sunday / Dashboard Confessional type among them. These are bonafide headliners that could and have topped festival lineups all over the world. With a move out of a parking lot and back to the beach, with bars, hotels, and restaurants, you can’t help but wonder if the people behind The Bamboozle are looking to be seen up against the Lollapaloozas and Bonnaroos of the world with this year’s incarnation. Stroke your chins and squint my friends.
That being conjectured, the festival does have a rich history and a bevy of great performers in its past arsenal. Here are the top ten bands that have graced The Bamboozle stage with a hope they turn up on the full 2012 lineup.
10. The Roots
The coolest late night TV house band in the world played the inaugural The Great Bamboozle in 2003. As The Roots have been accustomed to playing impromptu shows and multi-night stands in the New York metro area perhaps a welcome return to this year’s fest could be the first step in solidifying a top notch 2nd tier on the lineup poster.
9. Sonic Youth
Noise rock elder statesman, and woman, Sonic Youth took The Bamboozle main stage back in 2004 long before the real life divorce of bandleaders Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon. No one is quite sure what the split means for the band yet so it is impossible to speculate as to their 2012 tour plans, if any. Here’s hoping the legendary New York outfit can find a way to not go the way of the R.E.M. dodo.
8. My Morning Jacket
Fresh off the release of their breakthrough album It Still Moves, My Morning Jacket followed that up with a slot just before Sonic Youth on the main stage. Since then the band has grown into festival staples with legendary live shows often stretching into the three plus hours range. Bring the Kentucky rockers back for a show just before Foo Fighters and you’re well on your way to having one of the better lineups in the country.
Continue reading for the rest of the list, including a pair of NJ’s own…
7. My Chemical Romance
Yes, we did put both ‘My’ bands on this list back to back and for no good reason. That being said, what’s a Bamboozle tenth anniversary without My Chemical Romance? The NJ natives have headlined the festival multiple times over the years and are not too far removed from their latest LP Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. We understand the band divides a lot of people’s opinions, but I think we can all agree that the idea of hundreds of pale, all black, chain wearing emo kids take to the beach en masse for any reason is interesting enough to entice anyone.
Hard to believe now but the three-piece English progressive rock powerhouse Muse played The Bamboozle after the release of Black Hole and Revelations. Despite selling out Madison Square Garden later that year the band only managed a sub-headlining spot playing to a crowd split between them and My Chemical Romance. Their meteoric rise since then likely rules them out of this year’s festival as they would command a headlining spot right up there with the three they have now, but hey, a boy can dream sweet guitar solo dreams.
5. Brand New
Another Bamboozle favorite, the Long Island post hardcore group Brand New could be a heavy draw and one of the more likely fantasies to come to fruition on this list. Imagine, if you will, a night with Brand New leading into Blink 182. Did you hear that? That was the sound of your teenage self squealing from within.
4. Snoop Dogg
What’s a music festival without a big hip hop act and what’s a party without Snoop Dogg? You can answer those questions on your own, but suffice to say the addition of the Long Beach rapper would add some versatility and depth to the top of the lineup bill currently dominated by three of the biggest rock bands in the world. Snoop last played the festival in 2008 so a possible return this year is certainly within the realm of possibility.
Always among the most wanted metal acts when it comes to festival rumor season talk, Deftones headlined and closed out the Imagination Stage back in 2009. Admittedly the band only played The Bamboozle Left out in California. We also realize that perhaps pigeonholing Deftones into a singular category such as ‘metal’ might come across as a bit uncouth, but that certainly contributes to their wider appeal. A dedicated fan base, a raucous live show, and a beach front setting makes the possibility of a Deftones return to The Bamboozle all the more intriguing.
2. Rise Against
If there was ever a festival made for a band like punk rockers Rise Against, The Bamboozle may be it. Last seen opening for No Doubt during 2009’s festival the Chicago quartet brings unrivaled energy to each live show with circle pits and bloody noses serving as par for the course. With a tour stop lined up for May 6th in Pittsburgh the chances of Rise Against returning to New Jersey for this year’s festival are among the least speculative on this list.
1. The Gaslight Anthem
We wanted to avoid listing bands that would repeat from last year’s lineup but The Gaslight Anthem just makes too much sense in this particular situation. New Brunswick natives and Asbury Park legends in the making the band just played to a sold out Convention Hall crowd. With a new album on the way what better opportunity to debut some of their new material then on the sandy shores of this year’s The Bamboozle? Sometimes things can make too much sense.
What do you think? Did we miss anything? Sound off in the comments below.