Radio 104.5 11th Birthday Show (Day 2)

Day 2 of the 11th annual Radio 104.5 birthday show took place on Saturday, June 30 in Camden, NJ at the BB&T Pavilion. Aside from the different musical styles of the Day 2 artists, the most noticeable change from Day 1 was the weather.  Day 2 was as hot as it had been all year (felt like 105 degrees at times) and the heat was really a factor for both the bands and the fans.

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We began our day backstage with the winners of the coveted opening slot, local rockers, The Great Enough. Radio 104.5’s Cole Selleck hosted the band for a live interview where they discussed what a great opportunity this was for them to play at BB&T with such talented acts.  Guitarist Brian DiBiagio presented Selleck with a copy of the band’s new album ‘Born’ which officially drops on July 7 (at a record release party at the Grape Room in Philadelphia).

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Once The Great Enough opened the Main Stage and the music started, the crowd quickly showed their love for the local band.  When lead singer Bright Kelly and company broke into their single, ‘Can You Relate’, it definitely seemed like the crowd could indeed relate. There were more than a few fans singing along.  Overall these guys showed they could not only handle the big stage but belong there, as they gave the crowd a solid performance, gaining support throughout the set from fans who were mostly seeing and hearing them for the first time.  The Great Enough is definitely worth seeing in person and you’ll have two upcoming chances: July 7 at The Grape Room and July 21 (with Eve6, Fuel, Sister Hazel, and others in Lancaster, PA.

 Backstage again between sets, one thing was clear: musicians dig soccer.  In every room, the World Cup was on TV and there was lots of talk about the upset of Argentina.  Rumor had it that Sir Sly was hosting a FIFA tournament in their dressing room.

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On stage, Missio took over and wasted no time.  They opened with their single ‘Temple Priest’ which features exactly what you’d expect from these guys: driving beats, short catchy verses, and a few “motherfuckers” in the chorus.  The crowd got into it right away as Matthew Brue danced across the stage and brought the crowd’s intensity level up a few notches.  The only thing missing from this performance was a strong light show but that’s the downside of being on a daytime festival stage.  The music was spot on with great versions of ‘The Deep Blue Sea’ and of course, ‘Middle Fingers’.  We’d love to see these guys again on their own stage; the music is great, it’s performed professionally, and the band’s energy is just awesome.

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No word on who won the FIFA tourney but when Sir Sly took the stage they looked happy.  Lead singer Landon Jacobs couldn’t have looked more relaxed in a pair of shorts and a Marilyn Manson t-shirt.  There was no pretension about these guys, it was all business.  When it comes to their craft, these guys are really good.  Their music was spot on from the opening tune, ‘Welcome the Pressure’, to hits like ‘Gold’, ‘High’, and ‘&Run’.  Jacobs was tied to a microphone stand as he played guitar, keyboards, and sang, but when the opportunity arose he made his way to the drum set to visit and bounce around for the crowd’s enjoyment.  Sir Sly is yet another band that we would definitely see again.

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Local favorite AJR took the stage next.  The last time these guys were in town was for a Radio 104.5 event but their stage show was considerably different that go-round as an injury kept them lowkey.  No issues this time as Jack Met danced and ran around the stage form the first note to the last.  The brothers Met kept the energy up throughout their set and interacted with the crowd quite a bit.  We heard one fan grumble that “these guys are just a rip off of Twenty One Pilots”.  While the band has some style similarities, we don’t think anyone is going to mistake ‘Sober Up’ for ‘Heavy Dirty Soul’. Their music is infectious and the band has a lot of fun up on stage and it spreads to the crowd.

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After intermission things got back underway with Mike Shinoda (who you all know from Linkin Park fame).  Shinoda came out to a very basic stage set up which he explained was he way of inviting the crowd into how he does things in the studio.  Switching between several instruments Shinoda played through new material like ‘Crossing a Line’ to his Fort Minor hit ‘Remember the Name’ and of course several Linkin Park songs like ‘Waiting on the End’ and ‘Papercut’.  The crowd gladly filled in the words for deceased member Chester Bennington as many fans carried signs related to his memory.  Shinoda talked openly about his friend and the loss but made a point of wanting to celebrate him more than mourn him.  It was clear from the very beginning that Shinoda has the most stage experience of anyone on this lineup. He controls the stage without effort and talked to the crowd in a very comfortable manner like he was talking to an old friend.  His music is spot on and despite a very minimal setup, he was very enjoyable to watch.  The music took center stage and it was more than enough for the fans.

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Judah and the Lion emerged from a dark stage and wasted no time in shaking what they’ve got.  Opening up with ‘Booty Work’, the boys lined the front of the stage for a little male revue show before settling into ‘Conversations’.  Judah was clad in his Carson Wentz jersey which of course the Philly Phaithful loved.  These guys are all about a good time and it shows, everyone in the band sported smiles and has fun up there and the crowd just feeds right into it.  When they played ‘Reputation’, Judah again took the time to show off his best dancing moves but did it in a way that made you laugh.  Taking time to acknowledge Radio 104.5 for having them back again, Judah called Jesse out on stage to help him through a cover of the Killers’ ‘Mr. Brightside’.  It was instantly clear that Jesse was having even more fun then Judah and the boys on this one.  The crowd was in love with these guys as they churned out hit after hit for the entire hour they were on stage.  If you haven’t seen these guys live you really are missing out on a great show.  They’ve been a band that Radio 104.5 has supported live in town on several occasions and it’s been worth it every time.  Don’t miss out on Judah and the Lion.

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The headliner of the night was Imagine Dragons and it was clear that these guys were not about to be outdone by any other act.  With a set that pushed almost two hours, these guys gave fans the full concert experience, not a shortened festival set.  The stage set up was huge with a giant video board behind the band and a full light kit down each side of the stage.  Ramps went up either side of the drum riser to make a full level across the back of the stage.   As the video wall came to life, the band slowly rose up from behind the drum riser and played right into ‘Radioactive’. As expected, frontman Dan Reynolds was shirtless and sweaty from the jump as he raced to the front of the stage and out onto the catwalk to get close to the crowd.  Reynolds worked the entire stage, getting down close to the fans and interacting, even touching hands with those in the pit.  At one point he accepted a rainbow flag from the crowd and draped it over himself as he talked about inclusion and respect for each other.  Reynolds has long been open about his support of the LGBTQ community and it’s clear that the community accepts Imagine Dragons right back.  These guys put on a huge stage show, packing their set with hit after hit and pulling out all of the stops.  From confetti to balloons to getting down in the crowd, Imagine Dragons did it all.  Their set ran 18 songs deep and took an hour and 50 minutes to play.   Seeing them in this setting was in no way a short change from their full concert tour.

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Once again Radio 104.5 provided their fans with the best bargain in music today.  Another birthday show lineup filled with great acts, all of whom killed it.  Sure it was a long, hot day, but it was worth it.  Where else could you see seven acts of this caliber for as little as $20?  It’s clear that Radio 104.5 knows how to thank their fans and put on a top-notch festival.  Thanks to Radio 104.5, the bands, and all the folks at BB&T Pavilion for two great days of music. We’ll see you next year for the 12th Birthday celebration(s).

[Photos by Michael Green]

[Article by Michael Green]

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