Date: Sunday, Sept 25th, 2011
Line up: Pepper, The Expendables & Ballyhoo!
Location: Young Circle Arts Park – Hollywood, FL
What: Last Calls & Liabilities Tour
The grass was moist and thunder rumbled in the background as swollen grey clouds hung overhead. It didn’t put a damper on the excitement permeating in the air at the Young Circle Arts Park in Hollywood, Florida on Sunday Sept. 25th. With 15 shows still remaining, the LAW Records “Last Calls & Liabilities” tour with BALLYHOO!, The Expendables and Pepper was in full swing.
I was excited to finally catch BALLYHOO! live since their latest CD, Daydreams, got such a great review here at The Pier (4/5 stars!) but it seems like the venue was a little unorganized. All the information online said the show started promptly at 7pm (I made sure to triple check!) and when I arrived at 6:50pm I heard “Thank you, Hollywood! We are BALLYHOO!” radiate through the speakers. Damn! I missed them, again. But later, I ran into one of my friends that has been following the band for over 10 years and she confirmed my suspicions that they were nothing less than spectacular.
The Expendables jumped on stage at 7:10pm with the track “Ganja Smuggling”. As soon as the song started all the young girls hanging out around the beer tent went running full-speed for the stage. They didn’t let the crowd stop moving as they went straight into “Sacrifice” and “Tight Squeeze”. I made it up to the front barricade to see where my photo pass would get me and it didn’t get me very far. When I approached the security guard and asked him if I could get closer to take some pictures, I was told I was as close as I was going to get. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to hold a camera, let alone stand, in a swarm of screaming fans – but it’s not easy.
The show was a special occasion in itself since it was guitarist/vocalist Geoff Weers’ birthday and drummer Adam Patterson told the crowd we we’re all going to “get stoned to celebrate” as Geoff started singing, “I packed this bowl for two and I just want to smoke it with you….”. The melody is as infectious as the lyrics are catchy and it’s damn near impossible to stand still when that song is playing. At one point I even spotted a couple of fresh out of the academy Cops enjoying frozen lemonade and bobbing their heads to the music as a cloud of thick smoke accumulated over the crowd in front of them.
After the song ended Patterson told the crowd to “Come by the merch tent and say hi to us! And then we’re all gonna get wasted and watch Pepper!” When I made my way to the tent the guys were busy greeting fans, signing autographs and posing for pictures. They waited until every last fan was satisfied and seemed truly appreciative for everyone who stopped by the tent.
After a typical sporadic Florida rain shower between sets, Pepper brought the lights down at 8:00pm and kicked off their set with one of my favorite tunes – “Love Affair”. The guys were in high spirits (pun intended) as they played the first of two shows in their self-proclaimed “favorite state in the country.”
Since bassist Bret Brollinger completely lost his voice before the show, the guys relied on the crowd to help with the words. Despite being a man down, I was excited that the band played a lot of their big hits including “Stone Love”, “Point and Shoot”, “Back Home”, and “Storm Trooper”. Though it would have been nice to hear the complete harmony, what Bret lacked in vocal range he made up for with sweet dance moves.
“Hollywood up to no good!” guitarist Kaleo Wasman yelled out and got the crowd hyped up as they started playing “Sitting on the Curb” with a seamless transition into another one of my favorite hits, “Mirror”.
It was almost 9:40pm and I knew the show would be ending soon. They called up Howi from BALLYHOO! and the birthday boy, Geoff, from The Expendables to help close out the show with the song “Black Out”. But the crowd just wasn’t satisfied. As soon as the last guy walked off the stage the crowd began chanting “One more song! One more song!” and after a few long minutes, the guys came back out and gave the crowd two more hits: “No Control” and “Ashes”.
When the show was over at 10:15 Pepper invited everyone to a local bar down the street, Whiskey Tangos, and I would have went if my day job didn’t frown on Monday morning hangovers. But by the looks of all the “great time at the bar” comments on their Facebook page it seems like it would have been worth the bottle of Excedrin and the Starbucks.
– Article & Photos by: Ashley Allred
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