Radio 104.5 celebrated its seventh birthday in fashion on Sunday, May 11th with the Radio 104.5 Birthday Show, their biggest birthday bash to date. The event, which took place at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ, featured a slew of great bands including St. Lucia, Foals, Kongos, Cage The Elephant, Third Eye Blind, Bastille, and headliner, Foster The People.
The weather was gorgeous on Sunday, the perfect backdrop to a daylong concert festival. Due to the fact that it was Mother’s Day, we were unable to arrive at the venue in time to catch St. Lucia and Foals. We would have liked to catch both bands but neither of them are as important to us as our mothers (a very happy belated Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful mom’s out there)!
There was already a nice sized crowd on hand when we arrived in Camden, both inside the venue and tailgating in the various lots that surround SBC. Our afternoon kicked off with Kongos whose hit ‘Come With Me Now’ off of their album “Lunatic” seems to be heard everywhere these days (from the radio to TV commercials).
Jesse, Johnny, Dylan and Daniel, the four South African brothers who comprise Kongos, have great stage presence. All four members share vocal duties in addition to their instrument skills (and we were especially impressed with Johnny who rocks not only the keyboards but an accordion as well).
We’d only heard their songs ‘Come With Me Now’ and ‘I’m Only Joking’ prior to the show but really enjoyed their entire performance and will definitely be giving “Lunatic” a listen in its entirety this week.
Hey I Don’t Know
Sex on the Radio
I’m Only Joking
(The Beatles cover)
I Want to Know
Take it from Me
Come With Me Now
Up next was Cage The Elephant, a band we’ve been fans of for years. We interviewed front man Matt Shultz in 2011, and have caught their shows both here at home and at festivals across the country. In that time we’ve gotten to know exactly what they bring to the stage which is a level of energy that borders on a full manic episode.
Shultz and company opened up with ‘Spiderhead’, the lead track off of 2013’s “Melophobia” (which literally means “fear of music”). They then proceeded to play hits from all three of their studio albums including some of our personal favorites like “Aberdeen”, “Shake Me Down”, and “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked”.
They closed out their set on “Sabertooth Tiger” before leaving the stage to a roar of cheers from the thousands of fans in attendance.
Cage The Elephant Set-List:
In One Ear
Take It or Leave It
Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked
Back Against the Wall
It’s Just Forever
Come a Little Closer
Shake Me Down
Ironically, Third Eye Blind was the third band (chronologically) that we saw on Sunday but if we were ranking the performances, they would have been the fifth best. We were a little surprised to see Third Eye Blind on the line-up; all the other bands are that played on Sunday are currently relevant whereas Third Eye Blind hasn’t released an album in the past five years. Because many of the fans in attendance are from a much younger generation, you could tell that Third Eye Blind was a bit of a buzz kill to them (many of them weren’t even born when the band released their first album back in 1997).
Third Eye Blind opened with ‘Narcolepsy’. Lead singer Stephan Jenkins did his best to pump the crowd up, and while we definitely saw some of the older fans at the show rocking out to hits of yesteryear like ‘Graduate’, ‘Semi-Charmed Life’, and ‘Jumper’, Third Eye Blind’s set seemed to deliver a bit of a lull. The San Francisco based band did announce that they are working on a new album so it will be interesting to see if they will be able to connect with today’s youth or if their sound will still be tailored to the fan base they have already established.
Part way through their set our hunger took over and we went to check out some of the food trucks at the show. Because of this, we can’t provide a full set-list from Third Eye Blind but we can tell you that the Turkey Reuben that we got from “Reuben on Rye” was delicious…although we wish we’d also tried the Brisket Fries and some of the sandwiches from the other trucks.
After eating we made our way back to the stage where Radio 104.5’s Wendy was welcoming Bastille to the stage. This was only the 2nd time that Bastille has played in the Philly area and our first time seeing them. The band takes its name from France’s Bastille Day which takes place on July 14th (the birthday of front man Dan Smith, as well as our editor, David Miller).
Bastille opened with ‘Bad Blood’, the title track off of their 2013 debut album (of the same name). Smith and his band-mates are all talented musicians with each member playing several different instruments throughout the performance.
Although their sound is somewhat deeper and more melodic than the other bands that performed on Sunday, Bastille’s set easily equaled the energy of the acts with whom they shared the stage.
They are best known for their smash hit ‘Pompeii’ and the audience exploded with excitement when they finally culminated their twelve song show by playing it. While this was the highlight for most of Bastille’s fans, we loved several other tunes such as ‘Of The Night’, ‘These Streets’, and ‘Weight of Living, Part II’ just as much. All in all it was a stellar performance and we were happy to pop our Bastille cherry on such a gorgeous night.
Weight of Living, Pt. II
Things We Lost in the Fire
Of the Night
The entire Radio 104.5 staff returned to the stage to announce the headliner, Foster The People, and after a very short delay, the band hit the stage and people went bananas. Opening on ‘Miss You’, Mark Foster, Cubbie Fink,
Mark Pontius, and company instantly commanded the audience’s full attention. Their set-up, the most intricate of all the bands performing on Sunday, included what appeared to be large crystals growing out of the stage.
When not locked down at one of his numerous instrument stations (keyboards, piano, percussion, etc), Foster floated around the stage, wowing fans from the far right to the far left (and everywhere in between).
Mixing in a variety of tracks from their two studio albums (2011’s “Torches” and 2014’s “Supermodel”), their fifteen song performance was gang-busters from start to finish and every bit worthy of the headlining distinction. Some of our favorites included ‘Houdini’, ‘Helena Beat’, and ‘Best Friend’.
The band wrapped their set (and the entire show) with two of their biggest hits, ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ and ‘Don’t Stop (Color On The Walls)’.
Foster The People Set-List:
Life on the Nickel
Are You What You Want to Be?
Call It What You Want
Coming of Age
A Beginner’s Guide to Destroying the Moon
Pumped Up Kicks
Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls)
All in all the Radio 104.5 7th Birthday Show was an overwhelming success. There was a recent backlash from neighbors at The Piazza who claimed that rowdy fans got out of control at a free Summer Sessions concert sponsored by the station, but on Sunday there was no shortage of security, bathrooms, or fantastic music at the Susquehanna Bank Center. We’re looking forward to seeing what other fantastic shows Radio 104.5 has in store for 2014 (including next month’s Summer Sessions show which has been moved from the Piazza to Penn’s Landing)!
[Photo credit: D. Jacob Miller Photography]
Please let us know what you thought about the show in the comments box below the photo gallery!
You can view additional photos in the gallery below (click thumbnails to enlarge):