Geoff Rickly from Thursday rocks as the headliner to Rockstar Taste of Chaos 2009

Story by Kathleen Gasperini
Photos by Tom Wallace

It’s hard to believe that the Rockstar Taste of Chaos is actually entering into its 5th year starting with last weekend’s launch, February 14th at the refurbished Palladium in Los Angeles. Known as the winter tour for metalcore, hardcore, post-hardcore, and breaking bands in each genre, the kick-off did not disappoint.

To start, 150 lucky fans won early entrance tickets to a pizza party with co-founder and director, Kevin Lyman, plus an acoustic performance by headliners, Thursday. Known for being one of the key tours to see what’s on the horizon for trends in break-out success stories, as the tour has done in the past with former RTOC performers including My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday, Deftones, Rise Against, The Used, and 30 Seconds to Mars, each band on the tour, which runs throughout the United States and up through Canada until April 9th, including Thursday, Bring Me the Horizon, Four Year Strong, Pierce the Veil, and Cancer Bats, completely fit the bill.

Rockstar Taste of Chaos co-founder Kevin Lyman with 150 lucky pre-concert pizza party winners

According to Kevin, “After listening to what fans had to say during Warped Tour and watching many of these bands with thousands of fans watching them perform, these are the bands rock fans want to see. And I believe they’re all on the brink of breakout success.”

Ernie Ball fills the opening slot of each stop on the tour with a local winner from the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands, giving local newbies a shot a rockstar-dom. On the kick-off night, that lucky winner was The Haven! which totally took everyone by surprise at how great they were and unbelievably confident.

The other great thing about RTOC is that while many music fans are still battling high ticket prices to see their favorites, RTOC tickets range between $20-25 which gets you in to see all 5 bands. A great deal in a recession-season.

More fans waiting to get into the kick-off at The Palladium in Los Angeles

In terms of fan styles, bright rave colors paired with punk and grunge plaids is creating a new version of metalcore crossover fashion as most fans opted for a mix of each. Angled haircuts are the norm, but band merch keeps with interesting graphics -from the cartoony fonts and graphics of the Taste of Chaos tour shirt, to the bloody black and white drawings from Bring Me the Horizon. Thursday fans will love the Goth-Punk-Religious inspiration of a black-and-white motif of 2 nuns on scaffolding in the city.

Rockstar Taste of Chaos Tour merch designs go animated and bright

Bring Me the Horizon band merch gets graphic and bloody with excellent sketch representing their new album “Suicide Season”

Sponsors include Rockstar Energy Drink, Alternative Press Magazine, Peta, Hard Rock Caf%uFFFD, Ernie Ball, Shirts for a Cure.

More below.

Cancer Bats kicked it off with their metal, complete with massive hair-whips. This Canadian band mixes metal with punk. Middleton, the guitar player, has a hot sauce collection and is brewing his own batch called “Scorching Scoeb%uFFFDs Face Melter”

Another Bats pic showcasing serious drumming power

Pierce the Veil rips progressive post-hardcore. They%uFFFDve toured tons and were considering a break until they got “the call” and dropped everything. These guys were favorites on Warped last year.

We love his hair. It goes with their album “A Flair for the Dramatic”

Four Year Strong, which has a cool logo that%uFFFDs like a varsity jacket FYS, look like the rock-a-billies in the line-up but they%uFFFDre hardcore power-pop and had everyone pogo-ing. They%uFFFDre singing mostly off of their album “Rise or Die Trying” but have a new one on the way.

Bring Me the Horizon was highly anticipated. From Sheffield, UK, they represent the latest from metalcore from Britian and rose the ranks on Warped last year. Their songs from “Suicide Machine” created serious moshing but with metalcore dance moves like metal capiera, so it was crazy. The Epitaph guys in the back couldn%uFFFDt believe them and were howling after their set. Lead singer Oli Sykes would talk a bit between songs and people went nuts for his accennt, not to mention crazy tatted arm sleeves.

More from Bring Me the Horizon. It was a pretty young crowd but many of them knew these guys.

Thursday, the headliner of Rockstar Taste of Chaos, are back with a new album “Common Existence.” Recently signed on Epitaph, these guys from New Jersey are among the best at re-inventing post-hardcore. For example, they worked with the sound designer from the TV show Lost and created soundscape explorations, as they call it, and the effects are unreal. Thursday is excellent at creating mood and dynamics. Also, lead singer Geoff gets the crowd stoked based on explaining some of their lyrics and why, such as their new song, “Friends in the Armed Forces.” He said, “I love my friends in the Armed Forces, but it%uFFFDs not their fault if they%uFFFDre in a shitty war for a shitty reason,” which got everyone pumped.

They dropped big balloons at the end of Thursday%uFFFDs set, setting off a bumper frenzy of black-balloon-ness.

More fans for Rockstar Taste of Chaos with their animated merch T-shirts.

The PETA guys are already at it and have bitchin%uFFFD new T-shirt graphics. Notice the tiny upsidedown sparrow in the upper right–Attitcus clothing is sponsoring PETA%uFFFDs band merch this season.

Plaid-punk fans waiting for Rockstar Taste of Chaos to open at the Palladium in Los Angeles on Valentine%uFFFDs Day.