Show Review:: Cartel 4/22

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Cartel
Baltimore Soundstage – Baltimore, MD
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015
Review and photos by Caitlyn Willard.

Cartel recently came to Baltimore to celebrate the anniversary release of their debut album Chroma, which was released 10 years ago (CRAZY!). They played to an almost sold out room, full of fans waiting to relive their early teenage years. The band also brought along with them Hit the Lights, TEAM*, and Driver Friendly.

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Driver Friendly, who hail from Austin, TX, were the first act to play. Driver Friendly is fairly new to the scene, having only been around since 2012, but have already opened for bigger names such as Motion City Soundtrack, Relient K, and now, Cartel. The first time I saw them was during Warped Tour 2013 and I’ve been a fan ever since. With an incredibly energetic live presence, the band had the attention of everyone in the room. Driver Friendly even played a cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” which had the crowd dancing and singing along. This is a band that definitely shows a lot of promise.

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TEAM* was up next. The band, which started in 2013 includes two past members of Forever the Sickest Kids, Caleb Turman on vocals and Rico Garcia on drums. Their music had an indie/beachy sound with a mix of rock and was very catchy. The crowd seemed to enjoy them and with the fans from some of the members past work, I’m sure they’ll start building a solid fan base soon.

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Hit the Lights, like Cartel, has also been in the scene for many years and had a solid fan base in the crowd. Opening their set with their new song “Fucked Up Kids” from the latest release Summer Bones, the band had great energy throughout their whole set. It was clear that the energy in the room really began to build as Hit the Lights began playing some of their older songs such as “Stay Out” and “Drop the Girl” and closed their set with fan favorite, “Body Bag”.

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It was now time for the band of the night. Cartel opened with the first song off Chroma, “Say Anything (Else),” and the venue instantly exploded. Their set included every song from Chroma, front to back. It was clear that this album was very influential to the fans in crowd, as it is to us over at Lucy Out Loud. Every person sang their hearts out to each song along with the band. At the end of “Burn This City,” Cartel even stopped playing the last verse so the roomed was filled with nothing but the audience singing the words back to them. In the middle of the set vocalist, Will Pugh, came out on stage out by himself to play a very intimate performance of “Save Us.” This might have been my favorite moment of the night and some parts honestly gave me goosebumps. The energizing set concluded with “Q” and “A.”

For the encore, Cartel played a couple fan favorites including “The Fortunate” and “The Perfect Mistake”. The crowd gave their all from beginning to end and it was certainly a night to remember.

Show Review:: Bayside 3/31

Bayside

Baltimore Soundstage – Baltimore, MD

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Review and photos by Caitlyn Willard.

It’s kind of crazy that it’s already been over fifteen years since Bayside
first entered the scene. To mark this monumental occasion, Bayside embarked on
a 15-year birthday tour, making a stop in Baltimore, MD last Tuesday.

 

Canadian pop punk act, Seaway kicked off the night. The band started
their set with “Your Best Friend”, a track off of their recently released EP All In My Head. There were
definitely a few die-hard fans in the audience and they didn’t miss a beat.
Their set also included songs, “Keep Your Stick On The Ice” and “Shy Guys” from
their full length Hoser.

 

Man Overboard were up next. These guys are very charismatic on stage and
their set was full of funny moments and dance moves. They started off with
their hit, “Real Talk,” followed by “White Lies” and “Somethings Weird”.
After a few songs the crowd surfers began to emerge, but the crowd became
especially rowdy for fan favorite “Love Your Friends, Die Laughing”. The band
ended their set with “Where I Left You” and “Rare.”

 

Senses Fail exploded onto the stage with a bundle of energy that
continued throughout their entire set. The band wasted no time, jumping right
into their song “Canine” off of their 2013 album Renacer. Vocalist, James
“Buddy” Nielsen, was constantly moving about the stage, throwing his microphone
into the air, and jumping on the barricade to get close with the crowd. He
really knows how to work the audience and in my opinion is one of the best
frontmen in the biz. The band did include a great mix of old and new material
and I’m sure it made the long-time fans in attendance very happy. Their setlist
included hits such as “Calling All Cars”, “Buried a Lie”, and “Can’t Be
Saved”.  The band ended their set with a massive sing-along for
crowd-favorite “Bite To Break Skin.”

 

The lights went dark and the Harry Potter theme song began to
play. The entire crowd roared in excitement as Bayside’s backdrop started to
glow red. The members of Bayside began to make their way out one by one as the
music continued to play. As soon as the Harry Potter theme song finished, the
band jumped right into playing “Pigsty” off their recent album Cult. The room instantly came alive as the
crowd immediately started singing along to the words.  Throughout their
set they played fan-favorites like “Mona Lisa” and “Masterpiece”. After playing
an impressive eighteen songs, they left the stage and the lights dimmed.
Shortly after, frontman Anthony Raneri came out into the audience with his
acoustic guitar to play “Don’t Call Me Peanut” off of their 2005 self-titled
album. The room instantly lit up with phones recording this special moment. The
band then joined back together on stage to end this magical night with songs
“Big Cheese” and “Devotion and Desire.”

Though the tour has come to an end, the band has released a White Edition of ‘Cult’,
which includes four extra songs and is available for purchase here!

Show Review:: From Indian Lakes 3/26

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From Indian Lakes
Alhambra Theater – Portland, OR
Thursday, March 26, 2015

California-based band, From Indian Lakes, brought a mellow ambience to the Alhambra Theater deriving from the soft vocals of Joey Vannucchi, founder of the band, initially began it as a solo project before forming it into a five man group. Growing up with a simple lifestyle in a mountain town without any electricity or elaborate luxuries, music took the place as the main forefront of Vannucchi’s interest.

The opening bands, The Soil & the Sun and Lemolo, set the tone for the night, each possessing a strong sense of musical identity through their innovative and distinct styles through the use of unexpected, raw instrumentals such as violins, electronic keyboards,
tambourines, and even a clarinet.

As From Indian Lakes took the stage and there was an apparent melancholy energy in their presence as they began the show, charged with emotionally filled tracks reminiscent of the nostalgic indie-rock esque bands you would hear in the background of a classic Laguna Beach episode. Their high energy and popular track “Ghost,” from their most recent album Absent Sounds, was one of the most exciting points of their performance.

Going into the show with little knowledge of their music and overall background, it was clear I wasn’t the only one. The crowd seemed to be lacking interest and looked borderline bored at times, which could have been an effect of their overall lack of stage presence. During breaks between songs, it looked as if the band was struggling to fill the void, making awkward transitions, and at one point cracked a Pacific Northwest joke that didn’t exactly knock our socks off with laughter. The overall stage presence was less than vibrant from the bandmates; however, it seemed to fit with their somber attitude and soft, sharp vocal style.

About midway through the show, I came across a pair of unmistakable fans from the looks of their enthusiastic head bobbing and swaying during the set. I approached the two friends who said to be from the same hometown as the band members and knew them when they first started the band back in 2009. Without hesitation they agreed they were putting on a solid show for the night.

The band’s clever compositions, stemming from their broad use of instruments, has  always been something to appreciate. While part of that may get lost during their live show, with some factors overpowering others and leaving the more intricate pieces a bit muddled, it leads to a different way to experience them. It’s the same band, without question, you’re just hearing it differently than you would if you were home listening in your bedroom.

Show Review: Firestarter 3/5

Firestarter, Such A Mess, and Out With The Old

Chain Reaction; Anaheim, CA

Thursday, March 5th 2015

Review and photo by Natasha Mayani.

From the outside, Chain Reaction seems like your typical hole-in-the-wall type
of venue, but once you look inside, you start to see the different band
t-shirts and stickers plastered all over the walls. Bands such as Fall Out Boy
and The All-American Rejects have played this intimate 250 capacity venue, so
this venue is a special place. It’s also a great location to check out local,
new, and upcoming bands, so that’s exactly what I decided to do.

I had never seen or heard of Firestarter, the only thing I
knew about these guys were that they’re pop-punk, and I was worried that they
were going to sound like every other new pop-punk band currently in the scene.
Nonetheless, I went in with an open mind and wanted to give them a chance.

Chain Reaction was not very crowded that night, but everyone seemed really
stoked for Firestarter. I overheard a good handful of people talk about their
excitement over them and how good they are live. Out With the Old had just
finished playing, so everyone gathered around the stage, waiting for
Firestarter to finish setting up and start their set. When the guys came out,
they looked happy and enthused to be on that stage that night and I knew I was
not going to leave disappointed.

Even with a small crowd, Firestarter didn’t let that stop them from having a
good time. They had the crowd really going, almost everyone was up on their
feet jumping, singing along, and really getting into the music. They really
knew how to keep a crowd entertained and had everyone warmed up to see the
headlining band. One of the songs I really enjoyed was “Memories,”
which reminded me of being at Warped Tour, bringing me back to the summertime and
really enjoying myself. Firestarter has a New Found Glory type of vibe to them,
and it’s something I really dig. This is a band that is sure to make it big and
is one I hope to see on the Vans Warped Tour sometime soon! If you guys haven’t
listened to Firestarter, give them a listen. I promise you won’t be
disappointed.

Show Review: Taking Back Sunday 3/15

Taking Back Sunday,
with The Menzingers & letlive.
Upstate Concert Hall; Clifton Park, NY
Sunday, March 15th 2015

Sunday night was a story of three pretty different bands for me, in terms of my relationships or histories with them.

First, there was letlive. – a band I had only had the chance to see for a brief moment a summer or two ago, and has since been near the top of my “most-wanted” list. Second, The Menzingers, whom I had heard of extensively but had never had the opportunity to watch. And lastly, there was Taking Back Sunday, a group that I have followed and respected since I was a middle schooler. For as varied
as my experiences (or lack thereof) with these three were, I was allowing myself a clean mental slate.

As the house lights fell, the photographers in the pit made their last-minute adjustments and got ready. Something had led me to believe
The Menzingers were billed as the first opener, so as letlive. took the stage, I was confused for a moment. Within the first notes of their opening song, they quickly shook off any uncertainty that anybody, myself included, may have had. Their thirty-minute set was heavy, raw, emotional, and energetic. Before their second song had come to a finish, Jason Butler found himself in the crowd, leaping the photo pit and letting the audience support him, both vocally and physically.

Weaving his microphone cord through the ceiling rafters, Butler spoke: “This next song, I wrote when I was younger.” He began to loop the cord around his neck: “A man put his hands on my mother, to harm her,” he said, pulling tighter, “so I put my hands on his shoulders. And I put his head through a car window. Whether it was the right way to handle it or not, if I had the chance to live it again, you’re fucking right I would do it the same.” With that, cheers filled the room as the guitar introduction to “Muther” began.

When it was time for their shot at the crowd, The Menzingers wasted no time. Throughout the duration of a 40-minute  performance, the band paused only a handful of times, briefly – a short “Let’s hear it for the guys in letlive.!” after their first four  songs, followed by a quick “And who’s ready for Taking Back Sunday!?” two songs later. What made this set so much fun to watch was the band’s ability to enthrall their audience while not spending too much time addressing them. And while that may sound like a bad thing, it kept the focus on what matters most – the music and the performance.

 

At a little after 9, Taking Back Sunday took the stage to a roar of applause. Seconds into “Flicker, Fade,” the room was theirs for the
next ninety minutes.

Followed by “What’s It Feel Like to Be A Ghost?” and “Number Five With A Bullet” (my all-time personal favorite), the five-piece stitched three eras of the band’s career into a 10-minute series, opening with their latest single, then reaching further back into their catalog. Though we didn’t get the snow that the forecast had predicted, the flashing strobes and scattered backlighting helped create a blizzard of light and sound inside.

After being around for as long as they have, Taking Back Sunday’s sets have the potential for being a “Greatest Hits” of sorts. Though they weren’t played in succession, when it came time for “A Decade Under the Influence,” “You’re So Last Summer,” and “Liar (It Takes One to Know One),” each built on the intensity of what came before, leading to a handful of highlights.

With as many standout moments as there were, one ranks just that extra bit higher than the rest. Before closing with a stellar performance of “MakeDamnSure,” the classic guitar riff of “Cute Without The ‘E’” ripped through the venue and the room instantly began to move. As Lazzara began singing the bridge, muttering “Hoping for the best, just hoping nothing happens; a thousand clever lines unread on clever napkins,” the instruments cut out and the crowd instinctively began shouting in unison “Why can’t I feel
anything for anyone other than you?” while Lazzara conducted.

Like I mentioned earlier, I made it a point to not hold onto previous opinions, though positive, and let the night speak for itself. This turned out to be a wise decision, with my already-high expectations being exceeded. I’d have to think pretty hard to remember a three-act concert that delivered as well as this tour did. From the moment letlive. took the stage, through the entirety of The Menzingers’ performance, and until the last notes of “MakeDamnSure,” the building buzzed. There was no time wasted testing the waters, nor did the energy fade during the (extremely quick, I must say) set changes. All in all, it was just a hell of a show from a trio of bands who know precisely what they’re doing.

Show Review:: The Matches 11/15

The Matches
10 Years of E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals
November 15th, 2014
Gramercy Theater; New York, New York.
with Mainland & Happy Body Slow Brain 

The Matches were the first band I ever saw. (Well, technically they were the fourth band I ever saw, because of openers, but whatever, specifics.)

I was twelve, and they were co-headlining a show with Action Action at a venue called The Red Square – a tiny club at the end of an alley in Albany with a max capacity of 250, if we’re being generous. My friend and I each paid four dollars and were two of the first people there. I had no frame of reference for what a concert should be – about how much energy a band should have, about how close the sound should resemble the album, etc. And that night, The Matches set my standards unfairly high. The band didn’t stop moving throughout their entire set, the three standing members cycling from microphone to microphone, screaming, waving their arms, and ended with Shawn Harris eventually hanging by his legs from an overhead pipe as he played the guitar solo during “Chain Me Free.”

But that was a decade ago, and I was a first-time concertgoer, and my juvenility was clouding my judgment. And this would surely be a one-time level of performance.

That following summer, I went to Warped Tour for the first time. I spent the day waiting at the stage they’d be playing on, and as I leant on the barrier watching them play, I figured that that was just how it felt to be at Warped Tour. Everyone probably sounded that great at Warped Tour.

On Saturday night, after a three-hour trip south into the depths of New York City rather than my typical three-hour trip east into the depths of Boston, I stood at the venue thinking how I would get answers to a couple of things that had been on my mind.

One: was the band really that great in-person? That was years ago. Was I just a kid at his first few shows?

And two: for these last five months, was I building up my hopes for what could just be an inevitable letdown? Or was there actually a possibility for years’ worth of awaited fulfillment?

But, before I could get these answers, there were two opening acts.

First was Happy Body Slow Brain, followed by Mainland. Both pleasant surprises, the two bands played short, high-energy sets. And while neither was fully similar to The Matches’ sound or genre, both were similar enough to be great fits.

Between sets, the venue lights dimmed and a projection screen lowered over the front of the stage. This setup, coupled with the off-Broadway location of the show and the showmanship that has always come with The Matches, helped to heighten the theatricality. As the band and crew prepped the stage, the crowd’s eagerness became more and more palpable. And the visible shuffling and scurrying of the musicians’ feet from behind the curtain didn’t help quell the anticipation.

As the intermission concluded, the applause was massive. With the cheers, there was a collective realization that we hadn’t just waited through the ten-minute gap between bands. It was the end of a six-year break. We were hearing the tunings and the first notes of the band coming back from the dead.

“Ohh man, I’ve missed this city,” Jon Devoto smiled, walking onstage wearing an oversized blonde afro wig. As the cheers slowed, Shawn Harris ripped the first chords and line to album opener “Dog-Eared Page” – “I’m just a dog-eared page you turn back to / where’s the place for me?” I’m sure they didn’t have this in mind back in 2003, but it was a brilliantly fitting way to begin a reunion show.

On runs like this, when albums are being played in their entirety and the crowd knowing what’s coming next, there are always certain moments when the excitement reaches just that little bit higher. One of these moments was undeniably as the feedback at the end of “Audio Blood” dove directly in to “Chain Me Free,” with every hand in the crowd pumping a fist.

As “The Restless” wound down, Harris addressed the crowd – “I can’t believe there are this many people here,” he joked. “We were always a kind of ‘weird’ band, so I guess if you’re all still here after this long, you guys are pretty weird too. So thanks. And these are my best friends in the world, this feels just as great as it did way back when.”

Keeping pace with the album’s tracklist, Devoto soon scraped down his guitar to lead into “Destination: Nowhere Near.” After the first couple of lines, Harris interrupted, leaning on to the microphone stand laughing. “So even though this song is all about ‘I wanna be on the road again,’ we had never actually been on tour yet when we wrote this one,” he chuckled. “It’s like, when a rapper puts out their first single and it’s all about ‘rollin’ in bitches and money’ and you just think ‘no, dude! This is your first song!’ But it’s okay. You guys are like our bitches and money. I prefer you guys and shitty tour vans.”

Concluding with album closer (and my personal favorite) “Scratched Out,” the lights lowered as the band placed their instruments on the ground. “And that,” Harris said with a bow, “was E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals. Thank you.” The stage lights went dark as they walked backstage.

Minutes later, to the welcome of another roaring applause, they retrieved their instruments as “Salty Eyes’” eerie violins crept through the PA. After a semi-acoustic “Wake the Sun,” Harris told the story about their choice to include the next song, “Didi (My Doe, Part 2).” Before the show, a pair of Midwestern fans who had been following the tour tweeted a photo to the band’s account. The picture contained a bracket, with each of the band’s songs listed head-to-head. “So, according to these two ladies, this next one is the undisputed champion out of all of the Matches’ songs. Nobody has come along to dispute that, but who knows, maybe a new champion could come along in 2015,” Harris said, deviously.

And with that, a room of fans began exchanging eager, cautiously-optimistic looks and whispers.

As a second encore, they returned for “Superman,” which had been shouted for during the first batch of songs. The guys briefly exchanged stories about the song, talking about how it was the first band they wrote after officially becoming The Matches, and how it feels weird to actually be playing it in-tune. “It won’t win an NCAA bracket or anything, but it’s the feeling, man.”

I’ve been to a lot of concerts. I mean a lot. Anything ranging from arena shows to weekend-long festivals to coffee shops to dive bars and whatever is in between. And I’ve seen a lot of bands, all of which I have possessed various levels of interest in. It’s only on certain occasions where I can say that I know every word to a band’s set.

When I was twelve, I sang every word to The Matches’ set that night in Albany. And to this day, I still have that setlist stuck onto my bedroom wall, a bright green guitar pick with the band’s logo adorning it taped to the paper. Back then, the set was a scattered collection of E. Von Dahl played frantically on the smallest stage I’ve seen a show on.

Saturday night, with the album played in sequence, followed by a mixed bag of fan favorites, I still sang every word. While we can’t be sure how long they’ll stick around, it feels great to have The Matches back for now. And it felt like they had never left.

And if we’re lucky enough to get a Decomposer tour in 2016, you can bet I will be back in the front row again.

Setlist:
E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals

First Encore:
Salty Eyes
Wake the Sun
Didi (My Doe Part 2)
What Katie Said
Little Maggots
Papercut Skin

Second Encore:
Superman 


Written by Eric Riley.

Show Review:: Five Finger Death Punch & Volbeat 9/25

HELLYEAH, Volbeat and Five Finger Death Punch
The Baltimore Arena – Baltimore, MD
Thursday, September 25th 2014

Five Finger Death Punch and Volbeat’s arena tour made it’s way to Baltimore Thursday for a night full of hard rock and metal. Unfortunately, I was not able to catch Nothing More’s set so my night started with the legendary HELLYEAH. Big cheers greeted the band as they arrived on stage, especially for former Pantera drummer, Vinnie Paul. 


HELLYEAH wasted no time in getting the crowd energized. The screaming vocals from singer, Chad Gray, were a perfect match to the heavy sounds coming from the rest of the band. It was no surprise that there were mosh pits going on throughout most of their set. Their finale song was their self-titled track “Hellyeah”. Most of the crowd sang along with every word which ended their set on a high note. For more photos of HELLYEAH, check out our photo album over on our Facebook, here!

An uproar of noise erupted when Volbeat walked onto the stage with fans holding metal horns in the air. Vocalist/guitarist Michael Poulsen, was humbled by the reception and smiled as he went right into playing “Doc Holiday”. With more crowd-surfing than at any other point in the night, the adrenaline level was through the roof. 

At one point Poulsen dove offstage and crowd-surfed to deliver a 9 year old boy a t-shirt while the rest of Volbeat played him on. He then invited all of the kids in the audience to join the band on stage. There ended up being around 20 little rockers on stage, heads banging and fists pumping. Poulsen even put his guitar over the shoulder of a little boy, standing behind him and assisting in playing the notes.

After the kids came off stage Poulsen asked the audience if they’d like to hear some of the new material they’ve been working on. The crowd cheered in excitement. Volbeat played only a snippet of a new song which left the audience eager for more. I didn’t realize the amount of radio hits Volbeat has put together. Their live show brings it all to life with a full and passionate delivery.

The lights dimmed and the arena built up with anticipation for Five Finger Death Punch to come on stage. Drummer, Jeremy Spencer, entered first, decked out in a full skeleton bodysuit that lit up with an array of colors. The rest of the band followed behind him shortly after and broke right into “Under and Over It” which set the tone for what would be a “loud and heavy” closing act. 

Like Volbeat, FFDP also invited the kids from the audience to come on stage for part of their most well known songs, “Burn MF”. Considering the lyrics of the song, I found it kind of funny yet wrong all at the same time, but their parents must have known what they were getting into when they came to the show. 

The kids and the band cleared the stage, leaving drummer Jeremy Spencer alone behind his enormous kit. Spencer wailed on the drums for a thrashing four-minute solo. The crowd was enthralled with his performance as many fans recored it on their phones. During the encore FFDP played an acapella version of "Far From Home,” which was followed by “The Way of the Fist.” The set ended with their hit “The Bleeding,” to close out the night.


Written by Caitlyn Willard

Show Review:: Live Forever Tour 8/14

The Highline Ballroom held an enormous line as the doors opened for the Paradise Fears crowd. As the first band began, it was apparent that the techs knew what they were doing with their active and alluring lighting, along with their astounding sound system. Each member of the audience was an engaged and enthusiastic participant for every band.

We Are Stations kicked off the night. They had an energetic and upbeat stage presence that had everyone in the audience dancing. Though some of their lyrics were slightly cliché, they were optimistic and came across as remarkably happy which, in turn, made the audience happy to be there. The band incorporated diverse instrumentation with a keyboard that was uniquely and correctly utilized with their music. They were a wonderful choice to get the energy elevated for the entire night.

After We Are Stations finished their last song, William Beckett took the stage. Formerly of The Academy Is…, William Beckett has created a name for himself as a solo artist after touring on the Acoustic Basement stage at Warped Tour last summer. He had many jokes to share that made everyone laugh, including having an intense introduction where the lights dimmed and he made a dramatic appearance which he did after playing his first song. He taught his lyrics to the audience for certain songs and made sure they were enjoying singing along with him. He had a captivating stage presence for a solo artist with only an acoustic guitar (and a laptop with additional instrumental sounds). Before he played “Just You Wait,” a song he wrote for his younger sister when they were going through a very difficult time, he had Sam and Michael, the vocalist and keyboardist of Paradise Fears, come on stage to help him out. The lyrics, “No one else seems to have it this hard/ No one else has to cover their scars,” seemed to stand out to the entire audience. Overall, Beckett played an intimate, humorous set that was well received.

Against the Current took the stage afterwards. The female vocalist, Chrissy Costanza, had an amazing vocal ability. The band utilized distinct harmonies that amplified their performance. They were constantly in motion which engaged the audience tremendously. They had enjoyable, simple lyrics that brought smiles to everyone witnessing their performance. They covered “Ain’t It Fun,” originally by Paramore, and while this was a moderately stereotypical thing to do with a female-fronted band, they did it justice. They then went on to cover a song by The 1975. The band radiated confidence throughout their entire set which was alluring. During their last song, Against the Current went all out, using every last bit of their energy to leave a fantastic impression.

As they closed, the band everyone had been waiting for began to set up. It took them noticeably longer for them to take the stage, but with good reason. Instead of the standard two guitars, a bass, and a drum kit, this band had three keyboards, an octapad, a drum kit stationed towards the side, along with the other standard instruments. Before the band members took the stage, the lights cut out and a dramatic entrance began. Their dynamic sound, which combines electronic music with an acoustic vibe, entered the venue as they began to play “What Are You Waiting For?” The crowd’s cheers reverberated across the room as their excitement went haywire. As Paradise Fears went through their set, they played their own rendition of Macklemore’s famous song, “Same Love,” including their own verses that went with the rhythm. Towards the middle of the set, they announced that they would do a showcase of their songs from the beginning of their career until their most recent, starting with their most recent. Their songs evoked emotion from their seriously dedicated fan base, many of them wearing Paradise Fears merchandise and some of them even showing off their Paradise Fears tattoos.

It was apparent that everyone in the audience was having a stupendous time as they exploded with joy, singing the lyrics to each song the band played. New York City’s edition of the Live Forever Tour was absolutely marvelous due to the talented musicians and devoted audience that came to admire what the bands put their lives toward.


Written by Sara Barber.
Check out our photo gallery of the show, also taken by Sara, by clicking here!

Show Review: The Reunion Tour 3/28

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The Reunion Tour Featuring:
Candy Hearts
State Champs
William Beckett
Set It Off
We Are The In Crowd

The Reunion Tour hit the Greene Street Club on Friday, March 28th, in Greensboro, NC. Before doors even opened, there was already a long line of fans eagerly awaiting the music filled night ahead of them. This tour is We Are the In Crowd’s first time headlining in the US and it has been a successful one so far. 

Candy Hearts started off the night to a slightly slow start. They received a quiet welcome to the stage from the audience, perhaps because they were the least well known of the bands on tour. Lead vocalist, Mariel Loveland seemed a bit nervous for the first few songs of their set, but eventually she began to loosen up and the crowd did too. For the last song of their set they asked for the audience to sing a line from the chorus and they cheerfully sang along until the end. 

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Next up was State Champs, a pop punk band from Albany, NY. The energy was brought as soon as they hit the stage. Vocalist, Derek Discanio, immediately asked the crowd to move up closer as soon as he arrived to the stage. Discanio has an incredible voice that blends perfectly with the high energy instrumentals from the rest of the band. The band has an amazing stage presence and are constantly moving around the stage and interacting with fans in the crowd. Throughout their set fans were singing along to the words, but it was fan favorites, “Remedy”, and closing song, “Elevated”, that really sent the energy in the room to the next level.

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Set It Off was next on the bill and having seen them on multiple occasions I knew they were going to be one of my favorite acts of the night. Their set began with a slew of theatrics, including black hoodies, red masks and a voice over of a storyteller explaining what the show was going to entail. Frontman, Cody Carson, continued the theatrical story of a romance gone wrong, telling a little more of the story between each song. My favorite part about Set It Off’s live performances is that they leave no member of the crowd unattended. Each member of the band was singing and making eye contact with fans throughout their set. Carson reached into the crowd multiple times, stood on crowd’s hands and crowd surfed, putting huge smiles on fan’s faces. My only complaint would be that their set was too short and I wanted to see more. 

The lights began to dim and the sound of Eminem’s “My Name Is” started to play with an overdub of William Beckett’s voice saying “Hi, my name is, William Beckett”. It’s clear that Beckett wanted his set to be a fun and enjoyable one. Beckett also showed a soft side, he is a great story teller and shared stories of bullying and struggles and encouraged people to keep their heads up and to keep looking forward. Beckett invited Carson back on the stage to perform a song and claimed that they would be performing “a new song that they just wrote that day”. They then began to break out into Katy Perry’s hit song, “Dark Horse”, much to the amusement of the audience. Beckett ended his set with, “About a Girl”, one of his hits from his former band, The Academy Is…. This got the crowd very excited and ended his performance on a high note. 

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Finally, after all the energizing performances from the opening acts, it was time for the headliners, We Are the In Crowd. The band began with their new hit, “The Best Thing (That Never Happened)”, off their recently released album, Weird Kids. This instantly got the crowd energized and excited for the rest of the show. Vocalists, Tay Jardine and Jordan Eckes’ voices bounced off each other beautifully and you can tell that based on the fun interactions with all members of the band on stage that there is great chemistry in this group. Midway through their set, WATIC slowed things down to play, “Windows in Heaven”, a personal song about Jardine’s late father. You could tell by the emotion in her voice that this song is very special to her. WATIC continued playing a mix of new and old songs throughout the rest of the night, which included fan favorites, “Kiss Me Again” and their finale song, “Rumor Mill”. The night ended well and I believe WATIC are going on to do great things. 


Photos and written by Caitlyn Willard

Show Review:: Illuminate Tour 3/22

Lydia’s Illuminate tour made its way to Washington, DC on Saturday, March 22nd, at the Rock & Roll Hotel. This tour was dedicated to their 2008 album, Illuminate and the band would be playing the entirety of the album, front to back. Lydia was joined by support acts HRVRD and Golden Sun.

Golden Sun was the first band to hit the stage. I had never heard of them before, but was instantly drawn to their music shortly into their set. They did a great job of warming up the crowd with their soulful music and getting everyone ready for a great show. They quickly won over the attention of the audience with their fun music and smiling faces.

HRVRD’s sound was much moodier than the upbeat opening act, Golden Sun. HRVRD style is very unique and I appreciate bands that aren’t afraid to challenge the rules of traditional music. During the show they recorded samples and loops as the show went along, making every show they play one of a kind. Not only was their music enticing, but they were very engaging with the crowd, which is always nice to see. Frontman, Jesse Clasen, was continuously making eye contact with fans and starting small conversations with the crowd in between songs. During the last song of their set Clasen jumped into the audience playing his horn instrument, walking amongst the crowd until the final note played. 

As soon as Lydia took the stage roars of excitement projected from the audience. It was now time for the band everyone had been waiting all night to see. Lydia kicked off their set with “This is Twice Now”, the first song off their album Illuminate, which could arguably be their best album to date. There was an amazing energy that filled the entire room throughout their performance. The crowd sang so passionately to every song and were ready to sing their hearts out every time vocalist, Leighton Antelman, held the mic into the crowd. The crowd became extra loud during fan favorite songs, “Stay Awake” and “I Woke Up Near the Sea”. After Lydia played their final song from Illuminate they left the stage, but shortly returned to play four songs off their album, Devil. Lydia finished strong and did not leave one person in the crowd disappointed. They left fans with a night that they would not soon forget. 


Written by Caitlyn Willard