Popular Boston music venue and summer amphitheater, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion opened up its gates for the first time in 2016 on June 14th, when it hosted the recently reborn Taste of Chaos tour featuring Dashboard Confessional, Taking Back Sunday, Saosin, and The Early November. Initially born in 2005, the Taste of Chaos tour enjoyed a short lived six year run during it’s peak popularity in the mid to late 2000’s. Last year the tour was reborn as a one date, destination festival that took place in California. But in 2016, the tour returned to a full time, 37 date tour that is currently making its way across North America.
Kicking things off on Taste of Chaos was New Jersey emo heroes The Early November. Lead by frontman/guitarist Ace Enders, The Early November gained notoriety in 2003 behind their debut album, “The Rooms Too Cold.” After going on hiatus from 2007 to 2011, the group released their 3rd album in 2012, entitled “In Currents” and just last year released their fourth studio album, “Imbue. During their short opening set on Tuesday, The Early November worked in at least one song from each of their studio albums, including “Baby Blue,” “Frayed in Doubt,” and “Narrow Mouth.” The Early November’s strength is all in frontman Ace Enders, who knows exactly how to play to a crowd that came out to relive some 2000’s emo nostalgia.
Taking the stage next was the influential post-hardcore veterans Saosin. Like The Early November, Saosin is a band who also recently came off hiatus. Formed in 2003, and originally lead by Anthony Green – who would eventually leave to form Circa Survive – the group release two studio albums, and three EP’s during their initial run. Green was only a member of the band for the release of their first EP, “Translating the Name.” Saosin was lead by vocalist Cove Reber from the time of Green’s departure, to their hiatus in 2010. When the group reformed in 2014, Anthony Green was brought on, initially just for one performance, but then decided to stay on full time. In 2016 they released a new album, “Along the Shadow” their first full length album to feature Green on vocals. With Green back at the helm, Saosin delivered Tuesday’s most energetic performance with the enigmatic Green as the star of the show. Green’s return has given the band a chance to dig deep into their catalog to play songs off their first EP including the ever popular “Seven Years” a barn burner of a track that made most fans on Tuesday resent the fact they had nowhere to mosh.
Stepping in, in the co-headline slot was emo mainstays Taking Back Sunday, one of the most popular acts to come out of the 2000’s emo/pop punk/post-hardcore scene. Taking Back Sunday have since evolved into a more polished, alternative rock act, with six full length albums under their belt. On Tuesday night they played an exceptional mix of old and new, going as far back as their first album on tracks such “Cute Without the ‘E’,” “You’re So Last Summer” and “Timberwolves at New Jersey.” But also taking a look into the band’s future by playing two new songs, “Holy Water” and “Tidal Wave” from their yet to be named, upcoming album. Of the two tracks, “Tidal Wave” was definitely the strongest; a fast paced, Ramones inspired punk rock tune that channeled their early sounds from their debut “Tell All Your Friends.” Frontman Adam Lazzara made comments, both times before launching into the new songs, about how he knew most fans had come out for the nostalgia factor, but had hoped they would also enjoy the Long Island rockers’ look into what’s coming for a band that’s shown absolutely no sign of slowing down now in their 17th year.
Closing out the opening night concert at Blue Hills was Dashboard Confessional, one of the 2000’s most popular alternative artists. With four albums that have charted in the top 25 of the Billboard 200, and a platinum selling live album of their “MTV: Unplugged” appearance, Dashboard Confessional remain one of the most popular and influential bands born from the alternative rock scene of the 2000’s. Electing to open with one of their most recognized and commercially popular songs, Dashboard began their set with the song “Vindicated” which was originally released on the official soundtrack to the movie Spider-Man 2. Playing mostly to the nostalgia factor, Dashboard’s set consisted almost entirely of songs released before 2007. Fan favorite tracks like “The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most” and “Screaming Infidelities” brought out the inner karaoke singer in nearly all in attendance. The band did however play a new song, titled “Heart Beat Here” which is a yet to be released track from a forthcoming album the group are in the process of making.
Frontman Chris Carrabba and his charismatic personality are a big part of what launched Dashboard’s success and has continued to keep them afloat. Carrabba stopped several times during the show to thank fans of the band for their support through the years, and even showed the photographers some love early in the set, inviting us to remain in the photo pit for as long as was needed. After and impromptu and somewhat out of place cover of Coldplay’s “Fix You” Dashboard ended their main set with the self described summer love song, “Stolen” which inspired a significant amount of slow dancing in the crowd. The band would return for a one song encore, playing the 2003 smash hit “Hands Down” with marked enthusiasm, much to the delight of the Boston crowd.
The return of Taste of Chaos, coupled with a lineup composed of bands who made their name in the 2000’s, gave quite a few 20 somethings a chance to relive their teenage years on a gorgeous summer night. With the current ‘emo revival’ and rise of events like “Emo Night” in concerts venues across the country, 2016 is the perfect time to revive the Taste of Chaos tour. Still only a handful of dates in, there’s plenty of time to catch the Taste of Chaos tour which runs until July 16th, where it will wrap up with a full scale festival featuring 11 bands at the San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernadino, CA.
To see where you can catch the Taste of Chaos tour, visit the tour’s official website.