Spring Fling Concert Review

Ben Grieco, Sports Editor

On March 26, some big-name bands came to Rochester at the Main Street Armory for a great general admission concert. Bear Hands, Foals, Silversun Pickups, and headliner Cage The Elephant were present. The Armory was jam-packed, with people standing on the floor, and people in seats way up top.




The Brooklyn-native Bear Hands was the first band to come out, and I was decently surprised by their sound. They had minimal equipment, some of which included an 80 watt amplifier with a simple microphone in front of the amp – but the sound was huge.


I wasn’t too thrilled with the action of the band, however. There wasn’t too much movement, like you’d expect to see at a rock concert with hundreds of people cheering you on. The lead singer, Dylan Rau, seemed to stay in one place right in front of the microphone. The only time he moved was to get his guitar during specific songs. Both the bassist, Val Loper, and other guitarist, Ted Feldman, moved around a little bit more, but didn’t get the groove going.


Lighting was a bit weird for people who wanted to take pictures, and not too many people knew who they were when they stepped on stage. However, they impressed a lot of people and their sound was decent. Let’s just say I saw a lot of Bear Hands shirts going around that night.



Foals was the only band from outside the United States, but they did have a small fan base in the Armory. The sound mixing wasn’t very good here, the singing volume wasn’t reaching the back of the Armory. This also leads to another thing, where there weren’t any speakers in the back – which is what someone like me, who sat in the back, would have wanted.


Not too many Foals songs were known by the crowd up front, up until one of their top songs, Mountain At My Gates. It also sounded like the lead singer, Yannis Philippakis, was screaming every once and awhile. I’m not too sure if he was supposed to be, but it wasn’t pleasant to the ears.


Philippakis seemed to move around a bit more than Rau, but Foals’ drummer, Jack Bevan, was going absolutely crazy around that drumset. He stood up on the seat, got the crowd clapping all the time, and he seemed to have a good time up on stage. The bassist, Walter Gervers, and rhythm guitarist, Jimmy Smith, seemed to be idle on the stage, but were singing along a little bit.




Despite Cage the Elephant being the headliner of the tour, Silversun Pickups had just as many fans near the stage, belting out their songs, and giving thunderous applause in between songs. Silversun Pickups did have one unique piece to their four-person band – they had the only woman on tour, bassist, Nikki Monninger.


Plenty of people knew their top songs, including: Panic Switch, and Lazy Eye, but were even more excited to hear music of their newest album, “Better Nature.” During their entire set, all four musicians were getting into it – more than the other two bands. Lead singer, Brian Aubert, was dancing all around stage, standing next to the drumset, rocking out with keyboard player, Joe Lester, and even got off the stage and jumped onto the fans at one point.


The Los Angeles based band had an unusual drummer, however. Christopher Guanlao, was moving around a lot, but had a drum set that anyone would’ve found weird. He had the standard snare, high hat, bass drum, and tom drums, but had an Istanbul Cymbal, that was a good two or three feet above him, and really had to stretch when he wanted to hit it – nonetheless, it still sounded amazing.




Yes, finally – the band you’ve been wanting to hear about: the headliner of the tour. Cage the Elephant came on in a dominating fashion; several people on stage, and lots of dancing – including lead singer, Matt Shultz. Many fans went crowd surfing, and ran back around to do it again. Eventually, Brad Shultz, the guitarist, brought on a couple fans to dance around with the band, against the security’s wishes.


Fans were singing loud to some of their more popular songs, including: Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked, Take It or Leave It, and Come a Little Closer. Of course, the point of the Spring Fling was to promote their newest album, “Tell Me I’m Pretty,” which plenty of people were already singing too, with songs such as Too Late to Say Goodbye.


After playing their last songs, fans wouldn’t give up, they wanted more time with Cage the Elephant. After a couple minutes of loud cheering, everyone returned to play a couple more songs, and the one song everyone knew (and expected to hear): Cigarette Daydreams. Fans were still going nuts after I left the concert, and I could hear them from outside the Armory – hoping to get that final song.
All-in-all, this was an amazing concert. A city like Rochester has to be proud of a concert they held in a decently small place, and all four bands got more publicity and more funds from merchandise they sold. Every concert has their problems, but the only problems seemed to be lighting here, maybe the huge amounts of smoke from the e-cigarettes everyone had, but that was easily forgotten while you heard the bands rocking out.