Story of the Year, Sleeping With Sirens, The Summer Set Kicked Off When We Were Young Festival with Strange 90’s Pre-Fest Show

LAS VEGAS, NV – The When We Were Young Festival opened the weekend with a bang only to have a bit of a disaster waiting for them the next day, but overall, it was still a pretty successful weekend for most of the bands, the city of Las Vegas, and even Live Nation - the promotion company running the event.

On Friday, Oct. 20th, 2022, Brooklyn Bowl hosted a Pre-fest show for When We Were Young Fest that had full band sets from The Summer Set (a pop-rock band from Arizona), Sleeping With Sirens (an emo band originally from Florida, now residing in Michigan), and Story of the Year (an alt-rock band from St. Louis, Missouri).

However, that was not the ONLY music that came from the night as there was about 2 hours of 90 cover songs upfront with rotating musicians from many of the bands at the When We Were Young Festival.

Special guests included Jaret Redick from Bowling For Soup with a couple of cover songs that saw Thomas Ian Nicholas (actor from Rookie of the Year and American Pie, musician from TIN Band) playing guitar, as well as Marko DeSantis (Sugarcult, Bad Astronaut) playing guitar on a few songs, to John Feldmann of Goldfinger playing “Superman” and a cover of “99 Red Balloons” to close out the set.

Other guest stars included Travis Mills and Nick Gross from the band girlfriends (not capitalized), Nick Wheeler the guitarist from All-American Rejects, Ronnie Winters from Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Joe Dexter of Orange, Stephen Christian of Anberlin and Joe Red of Hidden in Plain View.

The event was a charity fundraiser for Charitybomb.org that raised over $70,000 and sold out the Brooklyn Bowl.

Some of my favorite moments of the Strange 90’s set were watching the bromance between Redick and Nicholas unfold as they got to spend some quality time together on stage and got to share the microphone on a couple of occasions.

Redick did a great job with his songs as not all of the singers chose wisely when picking songs to sing. I won’t name names or anything. Ha ha

I was incredibly pumped to see Feldmann come in and rip it up in a full business suit doing shoulder-high jumps with a guitar strapped to his body. Not too shabby for a dude who is 55 years old.

The one noticeable missing Goldfinger was the somewhat recently added Mike Herrera (who joined Goldfinger on top of his MxPx duties in 2017), but he was replaced by original bassist Simon Williams. It was a pretty cool moment to see Feldmann talking about how they started the band about 28 years ago together.

The Summer Set took the stage after that and rocked out for about 40 minutes and ran through a lot of their pop rock songs that got famous over the last 15 years or so such as songs such as “Boomerang” and “Lightning In A Bottle.”
They coincidentally have a song called “When We Were Young” as well, but I can’t actually remember if they played it or not.

The band definitely has a mild modern country sound to their music which makes for a very pop heavy tone, but the fact that they put it all together and come out with rock music is still pretty cool.

Drummer Jess Bowen is pretty damn incredible as well, and she drummed her way through some drum kit difficulties as the stage crew helped her tighten and position some stuff while she kept playing their set.

Then came what seemed like the main reason for most people showing up, Sleeping With Sirens. 

I had only heard probably 2 songs of theirs beforehand as I was aging out of the emo scene by the time they were getting big, but I have to admit, they definitely rocked pretty damn hard all the way through.

I could literally feel the bass and kick drum pounding and vibrating the entire building during their set, and I had never heard or felt that quite as amplified at Brooklyn Bowl as with them.

I don’t know all the songs that they played, but a few that I was able to remember would be “Go Go Go” and “If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn” and “If You Can’t Hang” and they also played a handful of songs off their brand new album Complete Collapse.

By the time Sleeping With Sirens was finished playing it was about 1:00am, and Story of the Year came out to a smaller crowd as about 30% seemed to leave either out of being tired or just for the sake of only coming to see Sleeping With Sirens.

In fact, I even had to leave before the end of the Story of the Year set due to an early morning flight, which ironically got canceled immediately after having left the concert. 

I still got to see the first 5 songs of their set, and it was absolutely awesome. The big song from their first album was “Anthem of Our Dying Day” which I still knew every word of even though I hadn’t heard the song in probably 12 years or more.

They came out with tons of energy jumping around like their were in their 20’s, and getting the crowd absolutely pumped from the very first minute of their set.

In fact, I did see a stream of people come running back into the building as the band started playing. That’s always a good sign, especially when many of the fans on hand were surprisingly in their early twenties.

The entire show was awesome, and had I not had to wake up early the next day, I would have loved to see the entire set for Story of the Year, but it was absolutely ripping from the songs I got to see, and one of the most varied scenes I had been to in one concert in a long time.