Buzz Beach Ball brings a crowd

Cameron Hamm, Writer

From all over the country, alternative music lovers flocked to Sporting Park on Sept. 5 for Buzz Beach Ball, an annual music festival which sported 12 bands. Broods, The Griswolds, J Roddy Walston & The Business, UME, The Mowglis, Thumpers, The 1975, Bear Hands, Weezer, Big Data, Meg Myers, and The Arctic Monkeys all made appearances  at 96.5’s festival to end the summer.

From the moment I had arrived, it was clear I was at a Buzz concert; the concert attendees’ ages ranged from young children to middle aged adults, all just enjoying the atmosphere.

The concert began at 3:30 with The Griswolds, Broods, J Roddy, and UME playing through an incessant downpour to a growing crowd of fans. The Mowglis took the stage at 6:05. The band’s performance contained a lot of positive energy, energizing a crowd which was amassing more and more fans by the song.

The next major act was The 1975, an indie rock group hailing from Manchester, England. Front man Matt Healy had a disheveled appearance, with unkempt hair and holes in his jeans. Along with his appearance, his crass language and cocky attitude served to entertain the ever increasing crowd. However, it was clear from the fans involvement that The 1975 was not the primary reason they came to Sporting Park. Some of the more die hard fans danced and waved their arms in the air, but for the most part people tapped their feet and lightly bobbed their heads. The sound quality of the 1975’s left something to be desired; it was difficult to discern much besides Matt Healy’s accent belting out the lyrics. While The 1975 has plenty to learn, the band did flash some talent with their stage presence. Seeing hundreds of lights emerge from attendees cell phones while they waved them melodically back and forth was a pretty sight to say the least, and reminded me of lightning bugs. At the end of the set Healy thrashed about in a wild flurry, tipping the mic stand over and proclaiming his love for Kansas City. By that point, the crowd was energized and excited beyond belief for Weezer.

As the crowd waited through Big Data’s performance, it was clear that everyone was pulsing with nervous excitement for Weezer. During the 30 minute wait between the two performances, things like, “I’m so excited for Weezer!” And “Weezer is why I’m here tonight,” could be heard all throughout the stadium.

Weezer took the energy they were given and ran with it. Their setlist consisted of fan favorites that spanned the group’s career, like “My name is Jonas”, “Island in the Sun”, “Undone”, and “Pork and Beans.” This was my first time seeing Weezer, and boy did they not disappoint. Front man Rivers Cuomo seemed overjoyed to simply have a venue to unleash his guitar solos. Every guitar lick, bass line, vocal harmony, and drum fill was packed full of energy and sounded fuller than their albums. Weezer ended its show with a bang; the band crowded around drummer Pat Wilson’s drum kit and proceeded to play like their lives depended on it. The band left the stage to the sound of chanting and flashing of the =W= sign.

The “Beach Ball” part of “Buzz Beach Ball’’ is not there just for alliteration. Beach balls, both large and small, were launched from everywhere throughout the mass of people surrounding the stages.

With a performance like Weezer’s, it was hard to imagine anything topping it. But The Buzz was wise with selecting Arctic Monkeys as the closer for the show; they truly saved the best for last. By this point in the evening, the crowd had grown to a huge number. Any free space was quickly swallowed up by the immense crowd. The Arctic Monkeys opened up with “Do I Wanna Know?” and skillfully used fog and lighting to create a mysterious and intense atmosphere that heightened the palpable excitement. With a reverberating bass that shook the very air around me, the band gave an excellent show that fully exceeded the quality of the band’s albums.

All in all, Buzz Beach Ball was a fantastic evening with a great atmosphere, fantastic bands, and a crowd that is already anticipating next year’s festival.