I want to state from the beginning that I am not a fan of Valentine's Day. Why should one day during the year symbolize your feelings for your significant other? That aside, when a friend of mine approached me in January about going to see New Found Glory, Saves The Day and Hellogoodbye at The National on Valentine's Day, I said yes, knowing that I would probably still be single at that point. While people saw their fair share of roses and chocolate on Sunday night, my visuals were filled with skinny jeans and lip rings. Such is the garb of the emo subculture.
This was my first time at The National. My usual concert trips to the NorVa are accompanied by roommates, too many cigarettes and fast food, so it was nice to only travel 15 minutes downtown. The opening band was called Fireworks, a pop-punk band that failed to realize that turning up guitar amps too loud drowns out the vocals. Even if that weren't the case, its sound wasn't anything unique, mostly channeling the many bands that hit the music scene before them.
Next was Hellogoodbye, a band known for the single "Here In Your Arms," which rotated on TRL long before MTV stopped playing music and "Jersey Shore" ruined America's youths. Although I usually like their signature nerd persona and effective use of Autotune, something didn't click that night. Forrest Kline, the band's vocalist, could barely be heard, which can be attributed to mic problems that were never fixed. I still give the band credit, especially since it shook off hecklers who were clearly only there for New Found Glory, who are considered more hardcore in this respective music scene. Funny side note: While at Hellogoodbye's merch table before the show, I played some random nerdy-looking kid in Mortal Kombat on the N64 at the table. After he shamelessly kicked my ass, I found out later that he was the bassist for Hellogoodbye.
After two relatively disappointing openers, the two headliners picked up my musical morale. Saves The Day, a band that has suffered as many lineup changes as the McDonald's Dollar Menu, took the stage to much applause. Chris Conley, the surviving original member and frontman, played with as much intensity and joy as he did when he started the band 10 years ago as an 18-year-old. Overall, Saves
The Day was the best band there that night, playing such fan favorites as "Holly Hox, Forget Me Nots," "Firefly" and "At Your Funeral." They played with a clear sense of cohesion and looked as if they were having fun. It is safe to say that spirit channeled within the crowd as well.
And at last, at about 9:30 p.m., New Found Glory, the band that everyone had come to see, took the stage. It is worth noting that this tour was formed as a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of New Found Glory's debut, self-titled album. The house lights were killed and everyone in the venue screamed in ecstasy. Although Saves The Day sounded a little bit better, New Found Glory made up for it in intensity, constantly calling the crowd to clap their hands and form mosh pits. The band played fan-favorites such as "Dressed To Kill," "Hit Or Miss" and "All Downhill From Here." As I witnessed strangers chanting lyrics to each other while jumping up and down in elation, I reminded myself that it was OK to be alone on Valentine's Day. When you have powerful music uniting people, and lyrics about lost love on your side, not much can top it. As the band closed with their signature song, "My Friends Over You," I realized how true it actually is. It doesn't matter whether you have a significant other by your side if you have good friends and good music to fill that void. No girlfriend, no matter: this was my best Valentine's Day to date. Thank you, New Found Glory.
Contact reporter Tyler Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org