With a killer musical lineup and a solid comedy set, the inaugural High and Low Fest was a success. The first year for anything, things can be rocky, but that wasn’t the case at all for this event. It was well organized, the grounds were easy to navigate, and the food was reasonably priced and there were plenty of options to choose from. Another plus was that the main stage was visible from the food lines, so while you might not be close to the stage, you could still easily see and hear the bands. The comedy sets were inside a building that allowed people to sit, escape the heat, and charge their phones if necessary. The only thing that I would like to see in the future is water refill stations, since it does get hot, and there was a lot of waste generated from plastic bottles.

The drive out to San Bernardino was absolutely worth it, and if you’re a Brand New fan, you especially know what I’m talking about. Ask a random person screaming along to the set what the band means to them, and chances are, they’ll respond with “Brand New saved my life”. This might sound exaggerated to those that casually give them a listen (I know it did to me in the beginning), but the more and more you sit with their albums, the easier it is to understand. With a Science Fiction heavy setlist and giant LED visuals to accompany, it was a show not to be missed. Getting to hear some of my personal favorite songs off of The Devil and God was certainly a highlight, but the best moment was the encore. Stripped down to only Jesse Lacy with an acoustic guitar singing “Soco Amaretto Lime”, the crowd sang the last lines into the quiet, signaling perhaps the last performance by Brand New they would ever see. As Lacey personalized the lyrics, his was a farewell, a send off of “I’m just jealous cause you’re young and in love”.

Death Cab for Cutie is a personal favorite of mine, and I wasn’t about to miss a chance to see them live (again). With lyrics that pierce your soul and an energy that makes it impossible not to feel, Death Cab did not disappoint. They have the ability to make the world disappear and in that hour, the only thing that mattered was that you were connected to them through the music, connected to the person next to you singing along, and connected to your younger self from when you first heard the album that made you fall in love with Ben Gibbard’s voice.

High and Low Fest was a success, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do next year. Hopefully it’ll be somewhere a little closer to LA, but if it’s anything like this years, the dive out would still be one worth making.

Brand New

Death Cab for Cutie

Tegan and Sara