Radio 104.5 11TH Birthday Show (Day 1)
The 11th Annual Radio 104.5 Birthday Show took place on Sunday, June 17 in Camden, NJ at the BB&T Pavilion. The weather was perfect and the lineup, as always, was filled with big-name acts from top to bottom. Radio 104.5 packed the day with 11 bands performing on two stages.
The day started out on the new music discovery stage with Cole Selleck introducing L.I.F.T. or Love in Future Times. As the band took the stage it was instantly clear that they were going to be playing top 40 hits. Lead singer Austin Arthur immediately went to work on getting the crowd involved. The guitar work from Reuben Pearl was catchy and spot on. Despite being the opening act, the sound was perfect and the energy these guys put out just sucked you in. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay long as we had just 20 minutes to make it back to the main stage and the pit for Saint Slumber’s set. L.I.F.T. is definitely a band we will need to catch again.
Over on the main stage, things kicked off with local band Saint Slumber. Bassist Adam Jessamine is no stranger to this stage as he played in this very spot before with a prior band. Despite a brief technical issue to start the show, these guys had a really good set. Lead singer Josh Perna worked the crowd well and the band balanced a good mix of live guitar with electronics. The set was quick and flowed nicely with the best performance being the band’s current single ‘I Think I Like You’.
With just a short turnaround between Saint Slumber and The Neighbourhood, we had to skip the second act on the Mall Chevy stage. In a surprising move, the lineup had the Neighbourhood playing second on the main stage. The crowd definitely came out for this band, especially the young ladies. It’s clear that the crowd wanted to see these guys play a longer set and that’s one of the only downsides of a festival type show. Jesse Rutherford and the boys did not disappoint. They packed their set with hit after hit and the crowd sang along with every word. Jesse, as expected, was a complete character on stage posing for photographers, making faces, and shaking his ass at the ladies. He worked the stage like a pro while Zach and the band laid down spot-on versions of the tracks. The setlist was great with ‘Prey’, ‘Afraid’, ‘You Get Me So High’, ’24/7′, ‘Daddy Issues’, ‘Vid’, ‘RIP 2 My Youth’, and of course, ‘Sweater Weather’.
After another short turnaround, the main stage was going again, this time with Misterwives. If you’ve never seen this band live before, and we hadn’t, you really should. The energy from lead singer Mandy Lee is off the charts. It’s no wonder she has those great abs that she was showing off. Clad in all white and some funky sunglasses, Lee worked both sides of the stage, interacting with the crowd and getting them dancing along to songs like ‘Machine’ and ‘Coloring Outside the Lines’.
We left the Misterwives pit and headed straight for the Mall Chevy stage to make sure we caught Joywave. When we got there it was clear that a lot of people had the same idea. The stage front was packed as was the hillside. Joywave was worth the effort. Quirky frontman Daniel Armbruster was on full display. The guitar and bass had the crowd jumping and Armbruster was over the top with his gestures and playing to the crowd. This is another group that could have benefited from a longer set time and really could have been on the main stage if the lineup had been different. They packed in a great crowd and the fans really enjoyed the performance, stripped down as it was.
The main stage was back in business following the intermission and the pit crowd was noticeably thinner. Chvrches took the stage as the first of the headliners with their own backdrop and light show. Lauren Mayberry was clearly the focal point of their stage show. Dressed in a black tutu and white top she twirled her way through an 11 song set that included ‘Get Out’, ‘Graffiti’, and ‘The Mother We Share’, among others. The crowd certainly enjoyed this set as the music and vocals were spot on. Following Misterwives and Joywave, Chvrches seemed calm by comparison and the vibe of the crowd reflected that.
As the sun disappeared the main stage became washed in blue and purple as Walk the Moon took the stage for their set. Lead singer Nick Petricca brought the crowd’s energy back to a fever pitch. With a catalog of songs including the opener, ‘One Foot’, he danced and sang his way through hit after hit. The light show was very heavy with lots of backlighting that made Petricca seem to glow throughout the set. The band was clearly enjoying the set and the smiles on their faces throughout seemed very genuine. This is a band that has been very prominent in Radio 104.5 shows over the last few years and it’s clear why they keep getting invited back. Their show is very well done and the crowd really responds well to them.
At 9 PM, Portugal. The Man took the main stage. The last time they were on a Radio 104.5 bill it was a daylight show at Festival Pier and we covered that as well. The nighttime Portugal. The Man show was a completely different experience. The band played on a very dark stage that was backed by a large video screen. Throughout the show, the screen played images and messages which were both quirky and humorous. The Lords of Portland were bathed in light by a projector system which resembled an old fashion oil lamp. As you can see in the photos, this made it a little hard to focus on the band themselves so you really focused much more on the music itself. The setlist was similar to their last performance and they opened with a guitar-heavy cover of Metallica’s ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ and slid right into Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the Wall (Pt. 2)’ before playing their own ‘Purple, Yellow, Red and Blue’. Of cours,e they gave the crowd the songs they wanted like ‘Live in the Moment’ and ‘Feel it Still’. We’ve covered these guys twice and both times we’ve left impressed by how good they are and how they don’t seem the least bit interested in being stars so much as being great musicians. Their performance is very professional and they don’t cater to trying to please people, they just do it naturally. It was very noticeable how many people left the premium seats and the pit after this performance making it clear that a large portion of the crowd was here for these guys.
30 Seconds to Mars took the stage in dramatic fashion as you might expect from Jared Leto. With a large video wall in the shape of a box descending from the ceiling, the drums began. As the box was slowly raised back up, Leto stood in a colorful red suit covered by a green and red Japanese style robe, a full beard and dark sunglasses posing in front of a second large video wall which backlit him to the crowd. His energy instantly went from 1 to 10 as he sprinted around the stage looking very much like Jason Kelce at the Eagles Super Bowl Parade. Leto and his brother were the only musicians clearly visible to the crowd, although if you looked very hard you could see the other performers. 30 Seconds to Mars performance was fantastic, with Leto spinning and sprinting around the huge stage. During the third song a group of fans was enlisted to fill the pit and release large silver balloons which were bouncing around the stage and crowd throughout the performance. For ‘Dangerous Night’ Leto was raised on one of the video boards which was tipped horizontally to act as a second stage about 30 feet above the original stage. It created a unique look with the drums below and Leto singing above. Following this song, the stage was returned to a normal set and Leto began interacting with the crowd inviting two fans on stage to join him as he worked pitted the left side of the audience against the right. He then invited fans from the back to come down and fill in the front seats and pit. Following this, he invited even more fans to join him on stage as the band recreated their popular ‘Rescue Me’ video. Overall the set was the most crowd interactive of the day and Leto certainly went above and beyond to give fans a great experience.
For the 11th year, Radio 104.5 put on a great show with a high quality lineup of top acts. The only possible downside to this lineup was that it was so deep with great acts that it required short set times for some of the early acts like the Neighbourhood. Fans certainly got their money’s worth with this lineup though and Day 2 on June 30 looks like it will be just as exciting with performances by The Great Enough, Missio, Sir Sly, AJR, Mike Shinoda, Judah and The Lion, and Imagine Dragons.