Fans young and old laced up their Chuck Taylors and headed to the New Jersey's Meadowlands complex May 1-2 for a sweltering weekend of rock, pop, punk and hip-hop as Bamboozle 2010 juxtaposed Drake, Hanson, Ke$ha, MGMT, the reunion of Jack's Mannequin singer Andrew McMahon with Something Corporate and the return of Bamboozle veterans The Maine. Here's the low-down on the most memorable sets at Bamboozle 2010.
1. Weezer (Festival MVP)
Though both days brought stacked lineups, in the end the festival's best came down to the final set on Sunday. Weezer closed out the weekend in true rock star fashion: who could possibly top Rivers Cuomo smashing a ukulele on stage? The band squeezed in hits like "Beverly Hills," "Island In The Sun," "Undone" and "Buddy Holly" into a 90 minute set that included two encores and a cover of MGMT's "Kids" that rivaled their stage-right neighbor's own performance.
If there was an award for "Best Game" it would be hard not to give it to Drake. The smooth talker won over the Saturday crowd with lines like "The doctor told me that I shouldn't come out here and perform today, but I said, 'motherf*cker you crazy, I'm here to see my family.'" After copious shout-outs to the females in the audience, the rapper brought one lucky girl up for a dance. Drake was sure to include a disclaimer saying, "Before you come up here, I don't know if you've been on the internet but just know anything's liable to happen. You might get touched on, kissed on, sucked on, licked on. I don't give a f*ck." He followed with a kiss that nearly landed his female fan on the floor. He also gave his love to Young Money and a special shout out to Lil Wayne, hoping the jailed rapper would hear his dedication on the radio.
Picking up after Drake to close out Saturday's festivities on the Skate and Surf stage, pop-punk stalwarts Paramore drew teens, couples and even families for their headlining performance. Missed out on the Paramore experience at Bamboozle? Check out clips from our intimate live Billboard.com interview with the band from last week.
4. Something Corporate
Something Corporate's main stage performance Saturday showcased the reunion of Jack's Mannequin singer Andrew McMahon with his old band mates and one of Saturday's larger crowds. The band struck a chord with the younger audience members and brought back memories for others with high school anthems like "If You C Jordan."
5. Girl Talk
Known for his unauthorized samples of popular songs and loose interpretation the "fair use" clause of copyright law, mash-up producer Gregg Michael Gillis, who goes by the stage name "Girl Talk," queued up his signature remixes from a series of laptops backed by one serious entourage of dancers and crowd members at the main stage on Sunday. Definitely more of a dance party than an onstage performance, the leaf-blowers modified into toilet paper cannons and sheer level of mayhem made Girl Talk a must-see.
6. Ok Go
The newly independent pop-rockers opened their set Sunday with 2002 single "Get Over It," and in addition to playing a killer set, they definitely win the award for most crowdsurfers. The four-piece followed with " A Million Ways," their viral sensation "Here It Goes Again," and a cover of Pixies song "Debaser" that unsurprisingly provoked a mosh-pit of epic proportions. The band also played "Invincible" along with tracks from their new album "Of the Blue Colour of the Sky." Check out the recent Billboard Ok Go cover story.
Say what you will about Zac, Taylor, and Isaac, but these three have come a long way from their teen-pop start in the 90s. Playing a upbeat mix of new and old tunes on Saturday's main stage ("MMM-Bop" notably absent), the brothers brought a completely different energy to the festival with their sing-along pop. Oddly, one of the set's highlights occured when the boys were joined by original Blues Brother's members Alan "Mr. Fabulous" Rubin and Tom "Bones" Malone on horns.
8. The Maine
One of the most buzzed about Saturday performances, The Maine returned for their second stint at Bamboozle. Encouraging crowd participation with odd requests like "Now I want you all to stick out your tongues and lick 'em with each other," the Arizona quintet's half hour set brought great energy to the Sony Bloggie stage and was still making conversation Sunday afternoon.
9. Motion City Soundtrack
While Ok Go's crowdsurfing masses were hard to top, Motion City Soundtrack had the edge Sunday when it came to wild pits. Rocking through early tracks like "My Favorite Accident" and "This is for Real," the band also played hits like "A Lifeless Ordinary (Need a Little Help)" off their latest release "My Dinosaur Life."
10. Matt And Kim
The Brooklyn dance punk duo, who took the stage ahead of MGMT on Sunday, were one of the more buzzed about performances of the weekend, drawing massive crowds for a forty-minute set that included a playful take on Alice Deejay's "Better off Alone."
Honorable Mention: Paper Tongues
Though they're still new on the scene, the Charlotte N.C. alt-rockers proved they could hold their own at their first shot at Bamboozle. Mounting the Zumiez stage Saturday afternoon, singer Aswan North unleashed vocal fury on "For the people" and "Ride to California" while showing a softer side on their power-ballad "Get Higher."
Honorable Mention: The Joy Formidable
The Welsh grunge trio brought a whirling new wave ambience to their half-hour set at the Zumiez South stage, wielding duct-taped guitars and an impressive vocal performance by singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan on hypnotic tracks like "The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade."
Festival Fail: Ke$ha
Though Ke$ha's off-color commentary was as hilarious as always -- ("Now you guys sound like my ex-boyfriend, hey ex-boyfriend, show me your dick.") -- it was easy to chalk up her lackluster performance Saturday to just having a rough day. Day two however brought more of the same and the consensus seemed to be that her androgynous ribbon dancers may have possessed more on-stage talent than the pop singer. "I saw her performance on SNL, and I thought that was bad," we overheard one fan disapprovingly tell another as Ke$ha sought to recover from a botched cartwheel that left her ass-up center stage. Another listener said "I'd rather she'd lip-synched than have to listen to what I had to listen to last night." Even so, we scanned the crowds and found one ardent Ke$ha admirer who insisted that her show is about more than just the music. "Her clothes, her appearance, when you see her she looks like she's having so much fun, and that just makes you have more fun." We certainly hope fans can take more than the music away from this performance because her drunk-party-girl routine is quickly losing its fizz.