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The top 14 moments that defined the 2016 APMAs

July 20, 2016
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In case the rock you’ve been living under has really excellent air conditioning, the Alternative Press Music Awards went down Monday night in the fine city of Columbus, Ohio. Now amidst all of the news stories circulating, the “night of a thousand stars” shorthand hype and the gargantuan social media onslaught, you might be wondering where to begin enjoying the event online. You could start by going old-school and watching the whole show right now, by heading over to amazon.com/apmas (You have until 7 p.m. pacific time tonight.)

But look: We realize you’re busy. Maybe you’re driving your friends to throw rocks at reporters covering the RNC or narrowly avoiding walking into oncoming traffic as you seek out new and exotic Pokémon Go characters. We also know that deep inside, you are drowsy over drama, bored with beef-keeping and yearning for some real joy to affirm everything you’ve embraced about this scene. We’ve got you. Here are some show highlights and the lessons we take from them.

HOSTS ALEX GASKARTH AND JACK BARAKAT WITH SPECIAL GUEST TYLER POSEY

All Time Low members and returning hosts Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat kept the crowd laughing (and many of the attending parents squirming) with their wise-cracking repartee and their ability to riff on dick jokes the way master jazz musicians approach improvisation. The opening debate moderated by Teen Wolf star Tyler Posey (aka “Teen Wolf Blitzer”) was filled with assorted buffoonery, sweet sight gags and a touching moment where Barakat was coerced by Gaskarth to make out with the singer’s grandmother. The three of them brought the LOLs, knowing that in these troubling times, we need all the laughs we can accrue.

STEPHAN JENKINS JOINS MAYDAY PARADE AND THE MAINE ON STAGE

The Maine and Mayday Parade are two bands of talented musicians who came up through the scene to arrive at the musical vistas they are currently exploring. Both bands made those directions clear when going head to head playing some of their biggest hits. Then the combined Maine-Day forces united to perform one of Third Eye Blind’s biggest hits, “Jumper” featuring 3EB chairman Stephan Jenkins. 

PIERCE THE VEIL'S VIC FUENTES JOINS YELLOWCARD FOR “OCEAN AVENUE”

After much consideration, the members of Yellowcard have decided to adjourn after their stint on this summer’s Warped Tour. Bands choose to end for a number of reasons, all with varying levels of intensity. We can honestly say there is no fucking way Y-Card are calling it a day because they were bored, because their set—featuring a high-spirited version of “Ocean Avenue” starring Pierce The Veil’s Vic Fuentes, plus guest vocals from Bradley Walden of Emarosa and Moose Blood's Eddy Brewerton—mirrored the same kind of passion musicians get when they first enter a small room with amps set on “stun” and discover what they’ve got. Yellowcard have achieved many commercial, aesthetic and personal highs, so any armchair analysis of their decision is merely static. So shut up and go see them, right now.

ISSUES CONTINUE TO BREAK THE MOLD

Issues aren’t known to play it safe, and their set at the APMAs was no exception. The band offered up an electrifying version of “Coma,” off their newest LP, Headspace, with past collaborator up-and-coming pop star MAX (signed to Pete Wentz’s DCD2) at the 2016 APMAs. As if that weren’t enough they brought country artist Jon Langston on stage for their genre-defying “Yung & Dum.” Further proof that Tyler Carter and Co. aren’t afraid to be trendsetters. One can only imagine what kind of subculture could be on the horizon. Wall Of Death line dancing will be a thing next year, watch…

BABYMETAL AND ROB HALFORD

Playlist culture and mp3 players pretty much decimated the concept of the “guilty pleasure,” which means we live in a world where someone’s phone has T. Swift tracks and Reign In Blood. So when you think about it, the teaming of Japanese teen-pop/crushing-rock outfit BABYMETAL with bona fide heavy metal legend, Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford isn’t really shocking. But the amount of respect that class act Halford had for the band—and BABYMETAL’s extreme reciprocity—proves that great things come from a shared knowledge of generations. There’s a Judas Priest song called “You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise.” That’s a cover version waiting to happen, girls and guy…

GOOD CHARLOTTE AND FRIENDS

When Good Charlotte frequently graced the cover of AP, we would get equal amounts of love and hate mail. (That’s how you always know someone’s rocking the boat—in the best way possible.) The influence GC has had on subsequent generations of pop-punkers of all stripes simply cannot be denied, and who better to drive that home onstage than a delegation of Bayside’s Anthony Raneri, Sleeping With Sirens frontman Kellin Quinn and upstart Awsten Knight of Waterparks. GC created their own enduring legacy, and now they’ve gotten DIY as fuck to preserve it while creating opportunities for artists they believe in.

MACHINE GUN KELLY AND PAPA ROACH

Attendees rolling into the city a day early for the APMAs pre-party were thrilled by the sight of the prince of Cleveland hip-hop, Machine Gun Kelly throwing down a version of Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff” that goes down as the most spirited moment of karaoke we’ve ever seen. Kelly repeated his hard-as-nails attack style at the APMAs when he joined Papa Roach onstage for a version of “Last Resort.” Frontman Jacoby Shaddix was in top form, whether it was from being inspired by his guests (which also included Tonight Alive’s Jenna McDougall and Memphis May Fire’s Matty Mullins) or maintaining a gladiator spirit to step up his game when MGK threw down. But who cares what it was: At the end of the day, we’re all supposed to bring each other up, right?

Written by Jason Pettigrew