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The High and Low Festival held it’s inaugural event this past Saturday and I have to say, I had a damn good time. I got there a little later than planned due to a few hold ups but by the time I rolled up the sun was easing up and the vodka I drank in the parking lot was kicking in. The set up was easy to navigate, the line to get in was easy to manage, and 2 of the 3 stages were indoors. Honestly the only complaint I had was no outside water bottles. I mean even Kevin fucking Lyman let’s us bring in water bottles. 

However, that was a slight inconvenience in what was a very well executed festival with a solid line up. As soon as I got into the festival I ran to the comedy stage put on by The Hard Times and found that one of the three comics I had wanted to see JUST started their set. The timing was too good to be true. 

Rhea Butcher was in there crushing it and tons of kids were there laughing. At this point The vodka had really kicked in and I don’t quite remember the specifics of the set but I do remember muttering in between laughs ” you right”. Once Rhea wrapped up her wife Cameron Esposito came up to close down the the 2nd of 3 comedy shows going on in the “tent”. I probably should have taken better notes, had less vodka, or maybe even both. I don’t remember too much other than laughing my ass off the entire time. Check them both out when you can. They’re hilarious. Trust me.

After the comedy show had wrapped up I moseyed on over to the side stage to catch Citizen. 

About 30 seconds into their set I realized that citizen was not playing a new song that was a change of pace. I was actually watching Cloud Nothings who I thought I had missed. However, the side stage was running behind so it turns out the schedule gods had blessed me. I had never really been a huge fan of Cloud Nothings but I liked what I saw and am down to give em a fair shot. Who knows, maybe I’ll become a fan. 

After a quick set change Citizen went on the stage and played a fun set. At one point the crowd got a little too crazy and ripped the right sleeve of my flannel. After making my way to the front for the final 3rd of their set I ripped it off and decided the one sleeve look wasn’t half bad. I got bumped on the noggin by a crowd surfer but I was so into the set I didn’t mind. As they closed things out and the kids were getting their mosh on I was trying to remember the last time I saw citizen. Turns out it was years ago at a show I booked at Aladdin Jrs where they were second of four bands. They’ve come a long way but they all seem like good people so props to them and their hard work. 

As Pup came on stage I decided to rip off my left sleeve for a more symmetrical look.    The band basically didn’t stop for the entire duration of their set. Playing all the hits from their entire discography. They played all of the songs I had wanted to to play and I lost my mind. In my opinion they had the best set of the night. 

After pup wrapped up I caught the tail end of Death Cab for Cutie‘s set. Interestingly enough I had never seen Death Cab before but I had somehow seen Postal Service. I don’t know how I managed that one but here we are. If Pup won best set then Death Cab won best sound as the band sounded immaculate. Ben Gibbard’s voice was so vibrant that it could melt butter on a cold day. Like god damn.

Finally. It was time for Brand New to play. The build got a little weird once the Hell in a Cell Fiber Optic cage descended upon the stage. Some annoying dude said “it’s art” and I shrugged. Whatever makes you happy Jesse, just don’t lose to the Undertaker. 

All jokes aside Brand New delivered the goods. I’m not even that huge of a Brand New fan. I listen to them every so often but I don’t go crazy over them like some of my friends do. During their set I finally got it. I probably won’t ever love them as much as some of my diehard friends but I get it now. Also, they played “Low on Mana” which is easily the best song on the new album and probably where the band finally won me over during their set. Just sayin’!

High and Low, you did good. Hopefully I’ll see you next year. Maybe a few weeks later next time so the San Bernardino sun doesn’t kill anyone.

Much love and thanks to Joe Cortez of Celluloid Annoyed for taking all the great pictures.

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