The APMAS take on Columbus

Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach performs with Jenna McDougall of Tonight Alive during Papa Roach’s set at the APMAs on Monday, July 18, 2016. 

Jenna Kuczkowski

One night of the year, artists of the alternative music scene gather together to perform, receive awards and party. The result is a once in a lifetime experience for music fans across the nation.

I’ve attended the Alternative Press Music Awards for two out of the three years they’ve been put on and I can firmly say this year’s show blew last year’s out of the water. Alternative Press Magazines, who created the awards show, incorporated a theme to this year’s July 18 show in Columbus for the first time: politics.

Advertised as the national pop-punk convention and an alternative to the Republican National Convention—which began the same day in Cleveland—the entire show sported a mock presidential theme.

This year’s RNC was the reason the awards show, which has been hosted in Cleveland for the past two years, had to be re-located to Columbus.

It was definitely intriguing to watch the show incorporate jokes about the upcoming election while also urging attendees to make sure they were registered to vote. Tables where attendees could register were even set up and available.

During the show, hosts Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat from the band All Time Low had a mock-debate for the title of “president of the awards show,” decided by Twitter votes from fans.

Prior to the show, fans voted in each award category for the musician they thought was most deserving.

In the first 24 hours, there was double the number of votes from last year. Votes came from all 50 states and over 128 countries around the world.

Awards went to bands such as Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, Twenty One Pilots and Good Charlotte.

The most exciting part of the show by far were the different live artist collaborations and being able to watch musicians who I never would have expected to see play together on one stage.

Headlining the show was A Day To Remember who was joined by Creed frontman Scott Stapp to perform his band’s song “Higher.”

BABYMETAL, a pop-metal band from Japan, took the stage to perform with Rob Halford of Judas Priest for very heavy but sweet renditions of Priest’s “Breaking The Law” and “Painkiller.”

It was such an unthinkable artist pairing but, surprisingly, they worked well together with BABYMETAL’s singing and synced up choreography with Judas Priest’s heavy instrumental fill.  

Beartooth covered Underoath’s “It’s Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door” with both Chamberlain and Aaron Gillespie from Underoath.

Alternative metal band, Papa Roach performed their set with not one guest, but three, inviting  Jenna McDougall of Tonight Alive and Memphis May Fire’s Matty Mullins to sing with them on stage before finishing out their set with a performance with native Cleveland rapper Machine Gun Kelly who helped perform Papa Roach’s song “Last Resort.”

I did not expect for Papa Roach lead singer Jacoby Shaddix’s performance to be anything above average, but I was blown away with his energy and clarity as he belted out all his hits.

I thought his performance of “Last Resort” was the best of the night; I got chills as he harmonized with MGK during the song.  

The show also sported a performance from an all-star band fronted by Black Veil Brides singer Andy Biersack, Goldfinger guitarist John Feldmann, former Used guitarist Quinn Allman, former bassist of My Chemical Romance Mikey Way and Black Veil Brides drummer Christian Coma.

Third Eye Blind frontman Stephan Jenkins joined members of The Maine and Mayday parade onstage to perform Third Eye Blind’s hit song “Jumper.”

Yellowcard also performed their song “Ocean Avenue” with the help of Pierce the Veil singer Vic Fuentes. Fuentes, who has a higher voice, was able to perfectly harmonize with Yellowcard singer Ryan Key and give a new sound to one of Yellowcard’s hit songs.

Contact Jenna Kuczkowski at [email protected]