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Alternative Press really did themselves a good one. The lineup on this tour definitely offered something for everyone. AP also went a step up for the fans by giving out freebies that included bags, posters, and even subscriptions to the magazine. Alternative Press is pretty in-tune with their readers and this tour proves it.

In typical Pomona show fashion, I got stuck in traffic and missed shooting for This Is Hell (check the next post for more photos of them). I did get to catch the majority of their set, however, and it was awesome! Due to the number of bands on the bill (including one added for this show) the set times were pretty short. I felt like this allowed This Is Hell to blow out all their energy on stage, however, and not have to worry about endurance. With high jumps, fast spins, and all-out command of the stage, This Is Hell was a great way to start the night.

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Up next were my boys in Polar Bear Club. These guys just get better and better every time I see them. They’ve been touring so much lately and the experience is really showing in their stage presence. Based on t-shirts I saw in the crowd and conversations before their set, I could tell that This Is Hell and Polar Bear Club were new bands for a lot of people in the audience. A lot of the kids were soaking in their performance so I hope they were open-minded enough to check out more of Polar Bear Club’s music (especially since their set felt incredibly short).

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A friend of mine introduced me to Dance Gavin Dance’s first album a while back and I was blown away by how different the vocals were from anything else at the time. Seeing Emarosa live, I was reminded of how wide-eyed I got at hearing Jonny Craig’s voice. The whole band was great live moving around on stage, making sure to connect with as many fans as possible. Whether it was standing on top of monitors or jumping around the empty parts of the stage, Emarosa definitely gave the audience a performance worth watching.

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Pierce the Veil is not a part of the AP Tour, but they were announced to be special guests at this stop. Walking out to Michael Jacksons’ “Thriller” I expected them to go all out as soon as their first notes were hit but it seemed to take them a song to get really warmed up. After this, the members were all over the place jumping up onto platforms at either end of the stage helping to make sure they were seen by everyone in the audience. My only complaint with their stage set up was that the microphones were set up behind the platforms, so if anyone was doing background vocals they’d have to step down with half of their body being covered. Other than that, the fans were eating up this special, added performance.

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I’ve been listening to August Burns Red since they signed to Solid State Records (PureVolume got me through many work days). For one reason or another (traffic, scheduling, money, etc) I’ve never been able to watch a full performance until this night. Their musical ability is absolutely astonishing. ABR translates extremely well from record to live performance. If you want to talk about visual performance, these guys have it down. With everyone except for vocalist Jake Luhrs on a wireless system, you can expect the guys in August Burns Red to be running every which way on stage. They know where the audience is and make every effort to be at the edge of the stage staring them in the face for the duration of the performance. The crowd responded well enough to cause security to kick us photographers out after only 2 songs instead of the usual 3. While the bright strobe lighting for their set was quite overpowering at times, I can definitely say that August Burns Red ranks pretty high on my “bands to see live” list.

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Closing out this incredible night of music was Bring Me The Horizon. Crossing the pond, they made sure to make their presence in the US known. Following suit with August Burns Red, Bring Me The Horizon brought on the same style of stage performance with intense lighting and explosive stage presence. Front man Oli Sykes is one of the best I’ve seen, spending time at all parts of the stage making sure that he screamed to as many faces as he possibly could. The crowd was going nuts singing along and moshing to the heavy sounds coming from the stage. The pit floor basically exploded when the band called out for a Wall of Death (if you’ve never seen one in person before, check this tour out and try to stay safe). These guys know how to put on a show and left everything out on the stage. The fans pouring out of the venue with smiles on their faces were definitely a testament to the night’s activities.

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The AP Tour continues for about another month. Be sure to check the AP Tour Official Site for the latest news and tour dates. Remember to help support the bands on this tour by buying merch! Stay tuned for the next post where I got the backstage perspective of the AP Tour at Club Nokia in Los Angeles!

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Many thanks to Nate and Trevor of Polar Bear Club for hooking me up with the photo pass for this show!