New Kids On The Block: The Mixtape Tour 2022

Enterprise Center | St. Louis, MO | May 14,2022

If you drove by Enterprise Center Saturday night, May 14th, you’d be forgiven for thinking there was a concert happening. In reality, it was so much more. Generations bonded together to celebrate the decade of hairspray, jean jackets, and the boys from Boston that rocked the world — New Kids on the Block. 

Jonathan, Jordan, Joey, Donnie, and Danny might be a few decades older (in fact, a cake was brought out to celebrate Danny’s 53rd birthday) but you wouldn’t know it from the screams of the crowd, ranging from the expected demographic to pre-teens just as excited. 

Opening with an 80s themed aesthetic intro video, the boys went straight into their hits, including “My Favorite Girl”, “Cover Girl” and “The Right Stuff”. Their dancing didn’t betray the years gone by, and neither did Donnie’s abs that he flashed the crowd several times, to ear piercing screams. 

As the guys ran through the crowd and off stage, pausing to high five and pose for selfies with their fans, En Vogue took the stage, dressed in gold and high ponytails, with vocals just as hot as their outfits. They sang two of their greatest hits, “My Lovin’”, and “Free Your Mind”, announcing that it was “good to see such beautiful faces!” to ecstatic screams. The ladies completely owned the stage. 

Following En Vogue, Rick Astley appeared on Stage B. You’d be forgiven if you thought his appearance might have a quieter reception, but you’d still be wrong. The crowd was delighted to see the meme star in the flesh, as he performed “Together Forever” and a lesser known hit, “It Would Take a Strong Strong Man.”

After NKOTB returned with a phenomenal 80s medley, Salt n Pepa arrived on stage with their backup dancers to perform “Let’s Talk about Sex” and “Whatta Man”, against a backdrop of the “Quick Change Cam”, which appeared to show a backstage view of the New Kids getting ready for their next set. 

If you’re tired of talks of crypto, and a world spent more on a screen in your hand than real life, take a trip back to the 80s with The Mixtape Tour. Spend a night with the music from your boombox, with NKOTB, En Vogue, Rick Astley, and Salt n Pepa. The present can wait.

Photos and review by Elizabeth Rajchart

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Trinity of Terror Tour 2022

April 16, 2022 | The Fillmore Philadelphia, PA

I’m starting this review with the obvious, I am very very lucky. Post covid life for photographers has been pure insanity. I’ve been denied more shows this year than any other in my 4 years of shooting shows. So being able to shoot such a monumental tour for the metal scene, I am beyond grateful. Obviously, this tour was absolutely a treat for me to shoot. I had more fun than ever, made tons of new friends, and was brought back to my days as a teenager with angst in my heart and eyeliner smudged on my face. Let’s recap one of the best nights of my emo kid life. 

Lilith Czar was definitely the artist most unfamiliar to me. I definitely had to jam her album in my two hour car ride, but despite how amazing it was, nothing beat seeing her perform in person. Apart from being stunningly beautiful, she was absolutely radiant on the stage. She was meant to be up there. Despite not bringing any rowdiness to the crowd, everyone was entranced watching her. Her entire band was outstanding, the rock music blended with witchy charm, making everyone in the crowd feel like they could conquer the world. I am definitely looking forward to some of the tour bills she is on in the coming months, as I am eager to see her perform again.  

Every elder-emo knows Black Veil Brides. The scene veterans still absolutely rule even after almost a decade. I found myself singing along to songs I forgot I knew every word to. The band was a very important part of my life and where I am now, as they were my introduction to the scene. And it’s always amazing to see the opener making the crowd wound up. While their music isn’t quite the same as the metalcore that makes people ready to mosh, the fans still made sure to keep the crowd moving. I cannot stress the overwhelming talent of both Jake and Jinxx, arguably the best guitarists in the scene to this day, CC and his outstanding drumming, and of course, the frontman of legend, Andy. Years later, and they still put on one of the best shows to watch live. 

At this point in my professional career, my love of Ice Nine Kills is no secret. And I can’t bring into words how much I absolutely adore this band. So I’ll let my friend’s words sum it up. I took him to his first Ice Nine Show this year, and as soon as we left the venue, he looks at me and says, “ When you said horror metal, I was expecting The Misfits, and you just showed me fucking Rammstein.” And he’s right. Ice Nine is always larger than life. I had a good laugh with a fellow photographer, who had never shot the band before. She expressed how she’s never seen such an insane act in front of her. And I agree. They are forever unmatched in the energy, presence, and entertainment value. The somewhat tame crowd came alive and almost feral as the first chords rang out through the Fillmore. Ricky and Joe are both incredible support vocally for the always outstanding Spencer. Chris is a magician on guitar, and Patrick’s bone shaking drumming is the perfect bow on top of the absolute gift of a show the band always provides. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t counting the days until I get to see them again. 

I was raised in the 570. Motionless in White are something of hometown heroes for me and many others. Philadelphia always ends up being a welcome home show for them, and that usually makes it the craziest show you will ever attend. Even down a man on stage, Motionless in White will never disappoint. I have to give huge credit to their photographer Bryce, as he created one of the most beautiful stage shows I’ve ever seen with LED screens and visuals. It was a treat to be able to take photos of it. I’ve been following Motionless around for years, and they quite literally just get better every time I see them. They have an amazing, natural way of making the entire crowd feel like they’re hanging out with their best friends. They also have a way of making a crowd go feral, and that’s sometimes a photographer’s nightmare. But dodging crowd surfers is worth seeing an entire room of people like me have an amazing time at a concert. Their setlist was packed full of heavy hitters that even the most casual of fans could scream along to. The entire band are outstanding performers, and you can see the joy in their faces while they do so. 

This tour was a really special thing for me, and a lot of people. I truthfully don’t think I will ever have this much fun at a show again. I’m always grateful I get to work with such amazing artists, and am beyond thankful for all the amazing photographers I met that night. I will always be chasing nights like this night I had in Philadelphia. 

  Photos + review courtesy of Emily Sulkowski

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Thoughtz & Prayerz Across America Tour 2022

March 30, 2022, Denver, CO

After announcing their first ever headlining tour, Heart Attack Man set out in early March with Covey, Arm’s Length, and Blood Root. They played at HQ in Denver, Colorado on March 30th, 2022. The bands arrived early to play rounds of cornhole at the venue with the fans before entering the venue. 

Starting off the night were the Nashville, TN locals, Blood Root. The lights were dark and blue, setting an intimate vibe as the fans were still filling inside of the venue. Playing songs off their most recent EP Crux, they played “O.H.E.” with meaningful lyrics and a soft vibe. Picking up the tempo a bit more, they played “Self-Medicating on a Weekday” the fans were more captured by the music. As the set went on, more fans arrived and was clear that the music from Blood Root was enjoyable and relaxing. 

Setlist: 

  1. O.H.E. 
  2. Self-Medicate
  3. Start A Fire
  4. Teeth 
  5. Tether
  6. Your Girl 
  7. Conversations 

Next up was Arm’s Length from Ontatio. I haven’t listened to them before but was presently surprised with their set that night. The tempo picked up more during their set with “Safer Skin” and the fans moved more and sang along. They played more songs off of their recent EP from last year, “Everything Nice,” with a mix of between emo and pop-punk, the wistful guitar interplays and poetic pretensions. Finishing off their set, they surprised the crowd with playing a cover of Taylor Swift’s “Mine.” 

Setlist: 

  1. Object Permanence 
  2. Safer Skin
  3. No Sleep/Blank Slate/Eve
  4. Gallows Humor
  5. Watercolour 
  6. Garamond 
  7. Mine (Taylor Swift cover)

Would you believe it if I said that Covey has over 1.4 million followers on TikTok? Neither would have I if I hadn’t looked it up myself. It’s not everyday that you see bands promoting themselves on social media in a way that benefits them in the best ways possible. Covey came out and played the most interesting set I’ve seen, and in a good way. They played “Sam Jam” which started off slow and melodic but was taken off guard at the end when fans were singing “F*ck that guy, I hope he’s dead.” At one point, I remember him chanting something about teeth and looking around as others were just as confused as I was. During the last song, they had everyone get on the stage with them singing along and dancing as they finished their set. 

The infamous Heart Attack Man was next and was most excited to see them as they’re one of my favorite bands these days. I heard and saw pictures on twitter of Eric coming out into the crowd on a tricycle and doing tricks before getting on stage and that was just the case.  It wouldn’t be right if they started off the set without playing “Puke” to get the energy up even higher. People were pushing, singing, and even two stepping. They played songs off their latest EP “Thoughtz & Prayerz” hence the name of the tour. After a few songs in, Eric asked if anyone had a birthday that night in the crowd and sadly there were none, but that didn’t stop them from playing “Old Enough 2 Die.” I was hoping they would play older songs from “Fake Blood” and they did. I caught myself singing along as they played “Crisis Actor,” probably one of my favorite songs off that album. The crowd was wild the entire night, with people crowd surfing left and right and even Eric himself as well. Finishing off the night, they ended with “Leap Year” as more people ended up on stage with them to jump into the crowd and sing into the microphone with them. 

Setlist: 

  1. Puke
  2. Low Hanging Fruit
  3. Sugar Coated 
  4. Out for Blood
  5. Old Enough 2 Die
  6. Boring
  7. Crisis Actor
  8. Blood Orange Sun
  9. Life Sucks
  10. Cool 2 Me 
  11. Thoughtz & Prayerz 
  12. Blood Blister
  13. Rats in a Bucket
  14. Cut My Losses 
  15. Fake Blood
  16. Bitch Black 
  17. Leap Year

Photos + Review courtesy of Jess Kelly | Instagram | Twitter

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Thrice ft Self Help Family & Touche Amore

October 20, 2021 || Denver, CO

Self Help Family

Touche Amore

Thrice

Photos courtesy of Jess Kelly | Instagram | Twitter

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State Champs w/ Real Friends, Four Year Strong, Just Friends, and Bearings | Pure Noise Records Tour 2021 | 10/10/21 | Photos + Review

As soon as I saw that this tour was announced, I knew that I had to go. The lineup was stacked, and with some of my all-time favorite pop-punk bands were all on this – State Champs, Four Year Strong, Real Friends, Just Friends, and Bearings.

First up was Bearings. The crowd was slowly starting to pour in before they took the stage. I remember the first time I saw them, and I didn’t know who they were. I instantly fell in love with their music because of the lyrics in the songs they played and was upbeat and happy. The type of music that makes you want to jump around and start singing along. I wasn’t expecting to see many crowd surfers during their set, but to my surprise, there was and their frontman, Doug Cousins even jumped off stage to help people coming over the barricade. They played songs off their newest album, “Hello, It’s You,” and some of their older songs from the past. Bearings set the show off with energy to carry on throughout the night.

Following Bearings, Just Friends was up next. It’s been a few years since I had last seen them live on Sad Summer Fest, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from them. It was the strangest yet most hypnotizing band I’ve seen in my years of going to concerts. They danced and swayed to the music and got the crowd hyped during the opening song, “Supersonic.” I’ve never seen a band like them with their energy and stage presence. At one point, most of the band turned around and started shaking their butts to the crowd. Everyone was cheering while Eric Butler slapped the bassists’ butt and taking a phone out, and taking selfies and random pictures of the other band members on stage during “Never Gonna Bring You Down” and “Flex.”

Next, we had one of my favorite bands playing – Four Year Strong. I’ve been listening to them since 2009 and have seen them countless times over the years, and they never disappoint. Starting off with “Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die” the crowd exploded while the lights flashed, and everyone was singing along. The set was a mix of songs from multiple albums, including their newest, “Brain Pain.” released last year. People were slowly coming back over the barricade crowd surfing, but even more, came during the third song they played, “It Must Really Suck to Be Four Year Strong Right Now.” The tempo was upbeat and fast-paced and the whole time. I always lose my voice when I see them live as the music is so much fun to listen to and scream to the top of your lungs.

Real Friends came out next. I was excited to see them live as this was my first time. I have almost every single album from them, and once I heard in 2020 that they parted ways with Dan Lambton, I was sad but excited to see what the future held for them. Cody Murano, formerly of Parting Ways and Youth Fountain, they came back with their newest album, “Torn in Two.” It’s been on repeat since it came out for me, and they played a mix of songs from that album, as well as older classics such as “I Don’t Love You Anymore,” “Late Nights in My Car,” and “Me First.” I was impressed with the sound, the lighting, and the energy they had on stage.

Then, it was time for the headliner – State Champs. Yet another band I’ve seen countless times over the years since I first discovered them. They started off with “Secrets” while cryo and streamers emerged from the stage. The venue was packed with people; everyone was singing along, more people came over the barricade, crowd surfing while the photographers did their best not to get hit or kicked in the process for the three songs. I was singing the whole time as they’re one of my favorite bands, and the energy they show on stage is unmatched. They played older songs such as “Elevated,” “Criminal,” and “Mine Is Gold,” as well as some of the newer songs they’ve released recently like “Just Sound” and their cover of Fall Out Boy’s “Chicago Is So Two Years.” After the last song, the house lights stayed off, meaning that they have encore songs. They came out from behind the stage and ended the night with more pryo and playing “All You Are Is History” and “Dead and Gone.” The whole show was full of energy throughout the entire night, making it one of the favorites I’ve been to in the last 19 months since the pandemic started.

State Champs | Real Friends | Four Year Strong | Just Friends | Bearings

Photos + Review courtesy of Jess Kelly | Instagram | Twitter

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Female-owned small businesses’ thrive at pop-up shops on Staten Island.

Inspired by last summers events surrounding George Floyd’s murder, Katherine Zarou started her business, Kat’s Cozy Chaos. In the midst of the pandemic, she says, “ I started with candles for donations for the Black Lives Matter movement, and that’s what started my business”. Although the intricate details of making her candles, inclusive of adorning charms and crystals, is time consuming she is currently attending school and working as well. “ I do find myself getting a busy schedule, but I love it so much I have to keep going”. The candles she sells are made with soy wax, sometimes she uses beeswax and rarely gel wax. Her most recent collection is called Balance, which consists of four candles. Each candle in this collection contains herbs and crystals specific to the intention of the candle. Grounding, intuition, cleansing, and manifestation are what these candles are believed to help you achieve. “ The best seller from that line is the manifestation candle, people really love the cinnamon scent, and the calendula flowers”.

Nature lover turned artist, Samantha Zarou, would collect flowers on walks and felt the need to preserve them. “ I learned how to preserve them in resin and it lead to this”, her shop, Day Triipper Creations. Zarou started her business just about two years ago by capturing nature’s beauty in handmade resin creations such as incense holders, trays, trinket dishes, suncatchers, and more. She sells wire- wrapped crystals as well. “ I would say creating the actual art is the hardest part, because a lot goes into it, it’s a process to make each thing”, she says. “ Staying consistent, it can be difficult, sometimes life gets in the way”. Balancing creating pieces with work and school may be the hardest part but she pushes forward. Zarou has many items to choose from when you visit her shop. Suncatchers and daggers are currently her best sellers.

Jayde Villeroel has always been creative and started baking cakes during quarantine as a way to stay busy. “ Actually, my first, I was doing cakes and I baked it for my boyfriend’s grandmother and then I started baking constantly”. Villeroel began posting her creations on Instagram and Facebook where people began to ask if she sold them, and so Lunar Love Cookie Co was born. “ In some ways I’m thankful for it (Covid 19 Pandemic), even though I missed out on a bunch of moments and stuff, I wouldn’t have had this. I wouldn’t have thought about it”, says Villeroel. “ I wasn’t a baker before quarantine”.

Her best seller at this time are her cookie kits, complete with twelve cookies, icing, and sprinkles that customers can decorate on their own time.

Lunar Love Cookie Co is a one woman show, so time management can be the most difficult. “ If you’re doing it solo like I am, it’s a lot of time by myself staying up late past when everybody else falls asleep”, she says. “Staying up doing paperwork by myself, finances by myself, going to the store and buying everything by myself, it’s a lot of putting things in order, it’s a lot”. She currently offers a Halloween cookie decorating class, which runs two hours long and is kid friendly. “If that one goes well, I plan on doing them for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, all the holidays”. Villeroel plans to do private bookings for birthday parties and events in the future.

Due to boredom of quarantine mixed with being inspired by her father’s past design work for Home Depot, Crafted by Caitlin came to life. “ One thing lead to another, I started doing clothing, then I saw cups and blankets. I was so bored, I had to do something”, she says.

Lally dyes each image into the cups so it doesn’t peel off or scratch. “It’s on there for good”, she says. The drinkware started out being the color white, then the image is dyed into it and baked on in the oven.

Lally talks about the difficulties of running a business and how orders can ebb and flow. “ You don’t get orders everyday, and it’s hard to stay positive when a week goes by and you haven’t gotten an order and you think, ‘should I just quit’. It’s hard to keep the orders coming, that’s the hardest part”. Despite difficulties, inspiration keeps flowing.

Caitlin’s chunky yarn blankets were inspired by TikTok videos. “ I just wanted one for myself, but then when I started making it, I posted it on my business page and it got a lot of traction”, she says. “ Everybody wanted one, and well I love making them, so why don’t I just make them and sell them”.

Attending these pop-up shops has created an uplifting community for everyone involved, as well as a great way to support women, and promote women supporting each other in a regularly male-driven business world.

Photography, interviews, & review by Cristine Trimarco

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Launch Music Conference ft Ice Nine Kills & more!

I feel I’ve earned the title of the “ Ice Nine Kills girl ” in my local concert scene. With their logo tattooed on my arm, my Google Drive full of photos from the last 5 years, and my car full of CDs spanning their entire career, my love for this band has become no secret. So at 10 pm, September 10th, seeing in my inbox, I was approved to shoot another Ice Nine show, I just about cried. 2 years without a concert is just about the worst possible thing for a concert photographer, especially two years without my favorite band playing shows. So I loaded my car, and drove the 3 odd hours to Lancaster, PA for the Launch Music Conference.

A venue of this size is intimidating after not shooting a show for a long time, so making my way to the photo pit was the scariest thing I had done in months. The night kicked off New Jersey natives, Enox.

 It was hard not to bang your head to the punchy guitars, crashing drums, and the vocals full of emotion and frustration. They started the night off with an insane amount of energy, getting the crowd warmed up for what else was to come.

Gladiators took the stage next, offering a vibey, heavy performance. The melodic vocals mixed with the deep and bassy guitars, I was in awe of the somehow soft, but powerful performance. The PA band offered a different vibe to the night, setting them apart from the heavy, angry acts we’d see with them. Speaking to them after their sets, they were overwhelmingly kind, and super supportive of all the artists attending the show. It was heartwarming to see a band connecting with fans after two years of isolation, and I could tell how much it meant to the guys in Gladiators.

Lancaster hometown act Hawk was a band I had never seen, despite following singer/guitarist Ricky Armellino’s music since This Or The Apocalypse. It was exciting to see a band I knew, and being able to scream the words back at them had me smiling their entire set. They offer a simple, yet insanely unique approach to metalcore. Ricky’s vocals pack a punch, complimenting the heavy, beautiful guitar work. I could see the emotion in their performance, the entire band clearly overwhelmed to be performing in front of their hometown. There were familiar faces I had seen at shows, all of them looking at the stage with happiness, excitement, and a proudness you rarely see at shows anymore.

Currents was a band I had seen open for bands before, and I heavily regret not giving them my full attention in years past. The energy was turned up to eleven, crowd surfers hammering the barricade. Currents may seem like a traditional metal band at heart, but their music seems to fill your body, forcing you to start moving. It was a chaotic set to shoot, all of us photographers moving to try and capture the incredible stage presence of the band in front of us. After the shoot, I was beyond excited to hand my camera off to a friend, and jump in the pit myself.

I had seen Ice Nine Kills 10 times before this show. I knew all the songs. I knew all the words. I was expecting a typical, incredible set from them. But this set seemed to move me more than usual. INK isn’t exactly a band with sentimental songs, as horror movies and theatrics have taken a hold on their music. But I felt myself getting choked up watching their set. It had been so long since I saw them, that the tears filled my eyes before I even knew. It’s a bit awkward to have tears pouring down your face while your favorite band sings about slashers and demons, but it wasn’t about the music. It was about all the people I had missed over the pandemic. The friends I made and haven’t seen in years. The ability to use my camera and make more art. Their set was, as usual, outstanding. Spencer works the crowd in a way that no frontman could, the other members of the band adding to the chaos happening in the crowd behind me. The horror behind their music comes to life with chaotic vocals, costumes, and of course their amazing makeup artist, Shevy, dressing up as the final girls from the movies inspiring their songs. They make the movies you love come to life before your eyes. It was so rare to see a band who sounds just as good live as they do on record, their entire performance rivaling any movie you could see. My 15 minutes were up before I knew it, and I made my way into the crowd, and finally let loose. Two years without a moshpit, without friends to headbang with. It was an emotional night. The exhaustion didn’t hit my bones until I finally sat down in my bed. 

This tour is a gift for everyone involved. Fans, bands, crew and security. Everyone missed this. I know I did. I eagerly look forward to seeing Ice Nine Kills on the second leg of this tour. And I can’t wait to see what every single band on this bill has coming for the future.

Review & photography courtesy of Emily Sulkowski

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A Photographer’s Return to the Local Pennsylvania Music Scene

A year and a half off of work will put a dent in anyone’s career. In my case, my career has never been my 9-5 job, it was always my work done in the music scene. I felt as if 2018-2019 was a nonstop time, show after show, album after album. When the world slammed on the breaks, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I sat at home, my camera in its case collecting dust. How does a concert photographer do her job with no concert? It was a horrible 19 months for me, my love for art crashed and burned, and I didn’t know how I’d be able to get back into it. Luckily, on July 11th, everything fell right back into place.

This show was a local event, not a huge tour with flashing lights and pyrotechnics. But it was exactly what I needed. Heavy music, friends, and a damn good location to take some of my favorite photos to this day.

Two of these bands I didn’t know very well, Elsewhere and Escape Artist. Their live sets blew me away, full of passion and an eagerness to get back. I wish I could recite their pre-show speeches word for word, but the tears in everyone’s eye told me what I needed to know. I was happy to take photos, banging my head to the infectious music as I always do. While not knowing these bands before that day, I made new friends and connections that I already plan on working with in the future.

Elsewhere

Escape Artist

Toothless

Toothless and Renovare are bands that have been in my life a long time, and been my friends even longer. Every time I see them, I’m reminded of the overwhelming support I have in the scene. Toothless has been allowing me to photograph them since I was in middle school, and have always been supportive of my growth. Renovare is the same way, and have always been a band that has supported me growth and fought for me to be respected as an artist. Their music drew me in first, Toothless having the chaotic, heavy sound that makes you want to get moving. Renovare has intricate riffs and long, drawn out songs to show the sheer talent of everyone in the band. The lead singer, one of my closest friends, shows her vocal talent in melodic, ethereal performances, mixed with grit and anger from her lyrics. 

Renovare

This show was less about seeing my favorite bands, and more about seeing those who gave me my photography career. There were tears, laughter, hugs, and moshpits. It was the most beautiful welcome back I could have wanted. And I cannot wait for the scene to come back swinging.

Photos and review courtesy of Emily Sulkowski

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PVRIS ft Royal & the Serpent @ The Summit

August 24, 2021 – The Summit – Denver,CO

Royal & the Serpent

PVRIS