Review of Yungblud’s The Weird Time Of Life Tour .

Over the course of this year, YUNGBLUD has been gearing up for the release of his sophomore album, titled “Weird!,” and in support of its release, he’s been doing a virtual tour. The shows were live streamed at various times, depending on what time zone certain cities were in, and I watched the Chicago livestream on December 3rd.

Royal & The Serpent hyped up the growed before Yungblud took the stage, and the lead singer’s voice instantly intrigued me once the performance began. The band brought a bit more energy and became even more interesting to watch as it went on. The setlist concluded with the song that made me discover this band in the first place – their smash hit, “Overwhelmed,” a song that has recently gone viral on platforms such as TikTok. I really enjoyed that song when I first heard it earlier this year, and it was great to get the chance to hear it being performed in a live setting and hear some other songs from the same band.

A few minutes after Royal & The Serpent’s set ended, YUNGBLUD’s set finally began, and frontman Dominic Harrison brought plenty of charisma from the moment he ran onto the stage to start performing. A lot of his set consisted of some of the more energetic tracks from his new album “Weird!” (“Strawberry Lipstick,” “Ice Cream Man,” “Weird!,” and “Cotton Candy”), but he also spent several minutes slowing things down for a bit. There was so much emotion in his voice while he performed the meaningful and impactful ballad “Mars,” and he broke out the acoustic guitar for “It’s Quiet In Beverly Hills,” before beginning the album opener (and set closer) “Teresa” with piano. All three of those songs really showcased his talent as a vocalist, and overall, his set as a whole showed just how phenomenal of a performer he is.

The Weird Time Of Life tour was a very entertaining show to watch I suggest checking out Royal & The Serpent and Yungblud if you haven’t yet.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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The Word Alive’s “Searching For Glory” Virtual Show Review.

Since the pandemic began, The Word Alive has put on quite a few virtual shows. I attended one a few months ago where they performed their album “Deceiver” in its entirety in honor of its ten-year anniversary, and the night before Halloween, I attended their “Searching For Glory” virtual concert.

The band opened their set with their standalone single, “Misery,” followed by its counterpart, “Numb Love (Misery II),” a song from their most recent album, “MONOMANIA,” which dropped earlier this year. “Numb Love (Misery II)” was one of quite a few songs that were performed live for the first time during this virtual show. Most of the songs that were performed for the first time were from “Violent Noise” (“War Evermore,” “I Don’t Mind,” and “Stare At The Sun”), but the band also performed another song off of “MONOMANIA” for the first time – “I’m Sorry You’re Sorry Now.” The setlist also consisted of a lot of songs that haven’t appeared in the setlist in a while, such as “Red Clouds,” “Entirety,” “Play The Victim,” and (one of my favorite songs of theirs) “Face To Face.” Towards the end of the set, they played one of their more popular tracks, “Why Am I Like This?,” as well as the track that this show was named after – “Searching For Glory.”

The Word Alive’s live shows have gotten better and better each time I’ve seen them, and overall, the Searching For Glory livestream contained yet another fantastic set from them.

A dollar from every ticket or ticket bundle purchased was donated to Save Our Stages. For more information on the organization and how you can support local music venues in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, visit www.saveourstages.org.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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Hawthorne Height’s Stay Home Virtual Tour 2020 | Review

With virtual shows becoming more and more popular, quite a few bands have put together some virtual tours, and one of these bands is Hawthorne Heights. The band put together a three-date run where they stream a show from local venues in different regions of the United States, with the proceeds from tickets and merch giveaways held throughout the night going towards various local venues within those regions. 

The opening act for this tour was Mark Rose, a solo musician and the former vocalist of Spitalfield. His setlist primarily consisted of Spitalfield songs (“Texa$ With A Dollar Sign” from 2005’s “Stop Doing Bad Things” and “Stolen From Some Great Writer,” “Those Days You Felt Alive,” “Kill The Drama,” and “I Loved The Way She Said ‘L.A.’” from 2003’s “Remember Right Now”), but he also performed a cover and a song from one of his releases as a solo artist – “Like A Dark Sky Holds The Moon” from 2015’s “The Wild Type.” Mark’s vocals really grabbed my attention, and the set showed how talented of a musician and performer he is. Although I wasn’t familiar with his music and had never seen him live before, I really enjoyed his set. 

A little while after Mark’s set concluded, Hawthorne Heights took the stage. Despite a technical difficulty later on in the set, the band soldiered on and still put on a fantastic show. They played a wide variety of songs from throughout their entire discography, starting with three tracks from their debut album “The Silence In Black And White” – “Life On Standby,” “The Transition,” and “Silver Bullet.” The band performed one song from their third album “Fragile Future” (“Rescue Me”) before going back in time a bit and playing a handful of tracks from their sophomore LP “If Only You Were Lonely” (“We Are So Last Year,” “This Is Who We Are,” “Saying Sorry,” “Pens And Needles,” & “Where Can I Stab Myself In The Ears”). The setlist also included “Crimson Sand,” a song from the band’s most recent album, 2018’s “Bad Frequencies,” and after that, the band stripped things down a bit to do a few songs acoustically. This portion of their set consisted of acoustic renditions of “Oceans” (from 2011’s “Hate”) and “Decembers” (also off of “If Only You Were Lonely”), as well as an acoustic cover of “Pet Semetary” by The Ramones, and after the acoustic performance, the band did an encore consisting of two of their biggest hits from “Silence” (“Niki FM” and “Ohio Is For Lovers”), as well as an extra song to compensate for the technical difficulty earlier on in the evening – “Hard To Breathe.”

The sets from Mark Rose and Hawthorne Heights were both very entertaining to watch, and between the incredible performances and the fantastic efforts the bands made to support the music industry throughout the evening, the Stay Home virtual tour was a special one.
For more information on how to support local venues during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the websites of Save Our Stages and the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA).

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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Bearings’ “Hello, it’s you” | Review

Bearings are a band that I’ve known about for quite a few years now, and it’s been great to see what they’ve accomplished as a band over these past few years. Their 2018 debut LP, “Blue In The Dark,” was one of my favorite releases of that year and is a release that I still return to for repeated listens, and – especially after hearing the band’s most recent singles from late 2019 and early 2020 – I couldn’t wait for their sophomore full-length, “Hello It’s You.”

A few of the tracks on “Hello, It’s You” definitely focus on the pop-punk influences within the band’s sound, and this starts right away with the album’s opening track, “Better Yesterday” – an upbeat, happy-sounding track with one of the most memorable choruses on the whole record. While this one definitely showcases these influences, it also hints at the experimentation found on the rest of this record – more on that later. “Sway” and “So Damn Wrong,” two of the singles released prior to the album’s release, are two more faster-paced pop-punk tracks with irresistible composition, from the guitar riffs that open and drive those tracks to the sing-along worthy choruses. The more mid-tempo “Love Me Like You Did” combines a lot of the influences within this band’s sound, and feels very reminiscent of some of the tracks on “Blue In The Dark,” such as “Beautiful Places” or “Aforementioned.” 

While the band is clinging to their pop-punk roots with a few of these tracks, they also changed things up a little bit with some of the others on this album. “I Feel It All” has a darker tone that listeners will hear a few more times throughout the record, and it instantly showcases the more pop-rock leaning sound with some cleaner guitars and the addition of a piano and synths throughout the track, and the huge chorus is where the vocals and harder-hitting drums really stood out and grabbed my attention. “Super Deluxe” is another single that hinted at the experimentation on this record, as it incorporates some indie/alternative and even some slight 80s influences into that pop-rock sound. “Over Now” also leans a bit more towards the indie/alternative and pop-rock side, as it’s driven by upbeat drums and shimmering guitars and synths before additional instrumentals come in, accompanying a captivating vocal performance in the pre-chorus.

The band also included a couple of acoustically driven tracks on this record. “Lovely Lovely” allows the vocals to shine a lot more since the instrumentals are a lot more laid-back, and the darker composition makes it stand out amongst some other acoustic tracks I’ve heard in this genre. “Dreams” also incorporates some darker composition, which fits perfectly on the track, and it mixes in some influences of emo-rap, which is definitely quite a departure from the pop-punk and pop-rock influences heard on most of these tracks, but it works really well.

The album concludes with “Transient Colours,” another track that not only focuses in on the band’s pop-punk influences but puts a new twist on them and proves how the band are experimenting with their sound. The catchy instrumentals bring so much energy to it, especially leading up to and during the chorus, and overall, this makes a solid closing track.

The experimentation on “Hello, It’s You” adds a lot of variety to not only the record but the band’s discography as a whole. The balance between the band’s older and newer influence makes the album an interesting listen and a solid sophomore LP from Bearings.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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Jet Black Alley Cat Virtual Show | Review

Jet Black Alley Cat presented by Music City Bandwidth

Jet Black Alley Cat is a band that I’ve been a fan of since sometime in 2018, after finding out they were playing a show near me and checking out the record that they released a year prior. The band recently put on a virtual concert, and I finally got to see a performance of theirs for the first time.

The show began with an instrumental intro as the band walked on stage and prepared to perform, and they followed that up with one of their most recent tracks, “Ex Lover Syndrome.” This song is off of their brand new EP “The Black Era,” which came out earlier this year. They also played three more songs off of this EP throughout the rest of their set – “Fight XVIII,” “Rewind,” and an interlude called “Unrealistic Love/Us.” The rest of the setlist consisted of a mixture of songs from both of their albums. They played almost the entirety of their 2017 debut “Part One” (except for the interlude and introductory track), which includes some of my favorite songs of theirs – “Poison,” “She’s Alright,” and the track that got me into their music in the first place, “Roxy.” They also played their debut single “Pretty Girl” early on in their set, as well as a few songs from their 2018 album “Motel” (“Nightlife,” “Foolish,” “Miami Baby,” and another interlude called “Pretty Magic”).

The vocalist put on a captivating performance throughout the entire set (and the vocal harmonies added more emotion and emphasis to the performance), the instrumentalists brought so much energy, and the entire band just brought so much charisma to the stage and were really engaging performers. This was technically my first time watching a live performance of theirs and it did not disappoint.

SETLIST:

1. Intro 2. Ex Lover Syndrome 3. Golden

4. Nightlife 5. Electric Raazors 6. Pretty Girl

7. Unrealistic Love/Us (Interlude) 8. Memphis Blues 9. Fight XVIII

10. Roxy 11. High Class Women 12. Pretty Magic (Interlude)

13. Foolish 14. Miami Baby 15. Rewind

16. She’s Alright 17. Poison

The show was streamed at The End in Nashville, Tennessee, and was hosted by Music City Bandwidth. For more information on their virtual live shows and how you can support The End and other local Nashville venues, go to www.musiccitybandwidth.com.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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Free Throw Virtual Show | Review

October 25th, 2020 presented by Music City Bandwidth

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in-person concerts haven’t been going on for the large majority of this year. However, virtual shows are becoming more and more popular, and in recent months, more and more bands and artists have started to put on shows in this particular format. A few weeks ago, a handful of local venues in Nashville, Tennessee – known as “Music City” – began hosting a series of free virtual shows with local bands and musicians, and one of the bands performing was emo quartet Free Throw.

I saw this band perform in Denver, Colorado last September, and over the past year, I’ve become a bigger fan of them, so I decided to watch this virtual performance.

They opened up their set with one of my favorite songs of theirs, “The Corner’s Dilemma.” This is arguably one of the most popular songs off of their latest full-length, last year’s “What’s Past Is Prologue,” and they played a couple of other songs off of this record as well: “You Don’t Say That,” “Tail Whip, Struggle,” and “Cerulean City.” To follow up that release, the band also dropped two new singles earlier this year, and they played one of those two songs – “Motorcycle, Motor?.”

While the band incorporated some of their most recent hits into their setlist, they also played a lot of older material. In addition to playing some of their more popular songs from their first couple of albums (“Tongue Tied,” “Pallet Town,” “Two Beers In,” “Randy, I Am The Liquor,” and “Better Have Burn Heal”), they also played some underrated tracks that haven’t been in their setlists as much (“An Hour Pissed,” “Weight On My Chest,” “Andy And I, Uh,” and “Hope Spot”). Similarly to the last tour I saw them on, their setlist spanned across all three of their LPs, and I liked the fact that they put so much variety into this sixteen-song, hour-long setlist.

One thing that I love about this band’s music is the amount of emotion that they put into it, and I think that in a live setting like this, that raw emotion gets to shine through even more. Musically, I really like the dynamics and intricate instrumentation found within their songs, and those aspects of these tracks really stood out during the performance as well.

I thought that Free Throw put on a really good live show when I saw them for the first time last fall, and I can definitely say the same for this virtual show as well. This performance incorporated everything I love about the band’s music and live shows, and overall, it was an entertaining one to watch.
The show was streamed at The End in Nashville, Tennessee, and was hosted by Music City Bandwidth. For more information on their virtual live shows and how you can support The End and other local Nashville venues, go to www.musiccitybandwidth.com.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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Young Culture’s self titled album review

Artwork Credit: Danny DeRusso

Young Culture is a band that’s been on my radar for quite a few years now, and the release of their third EP “(This Is) Heaven” last year only made me a bigger fan of their music, so I’ve been highly anticipating the release of their self-titled debut full-length.

The album opens with its introductory track, “Bloodthin,” beginning with softer guitars and vocals that bring catchy riffs and melodies early on before the instrumentals get louder and harder-hitting in preparation for the huge chorus that concludes the song as it transitions into the next track, “Compass.” The instrumentals are softer in the verses, letting the vocals show off at first, and the guitars, bass, and drums help build up the first couple of sections to the song’s very catchy chorus. 

That track is one of quite a few that traces back to the band’s pop-rock and alternative roots, and a perfect example of this is “American Idle,” which contains harder-hitting instrumentals that bring so much energy to the song, especially leading up to the anthemic chorus. Another great example of this is the lead single “Holiday In Vegas,” which is driven by catchy guitars and drums leading up to another unforgettable chorus that listeners will likely want to sing along to. “Better Off As Friends” is another pop-rock influenced track filled with catchy composition as well, and it perfectly showcases the transition from the sound of the band’s older material to the sound of this album.

Speaking of which, the band experimented with their sound quite a bit on this record – primarily by incorporating a lot of poppier influences – and quite a few tracks on here showcase that side of the album’s overall sound. The second single, “I’ll Be There,” is led by softer instrumentation, which accompanies the vocals as they provide catchy melodies and a positive message to remind the listeners that no matter what they are going through, things will be okay. “Anywhere I Go, I’m Taking You With Me” sounds kind of similar musically, as it’s also slower and led by softer vocals and instrumentals at first, but the hard-hitting drums help prepare the song for its bigger choruses, especially the final one, which contains a stellar vocal performance. “Fantasy” begins on a softer note as well and brings some very catchy melodies and riffs as it leads up to the chorus, where the shimmering synths aid the guitars and drums that drive the more midtempo rhythm. The fourth and final single “Hailey Beverly 2016” contains soft instrumentals and poppier influences as well, and it’s arguably the most experimental track found on the album. The album concludes with the acoustically driven “Laylo,” and while the vocals are a lot softer for most of the song, they get louder during the bridge, where they put on a strong performance with a lot of emotion.

Young Culture’s self-titled debut shows the experimentation and evolution of the band’s sound through the combination of various influences found within these ten memorable tracks.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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The Word Alive hosted a 10 yr anniversary of “Deceiver” virtual show | Review

Just over ten years ago, The Word Alive released their debut album, titled “Deceiver.” Last summer, they did a tour where they played this album in full, and recently (just over a year after that tour), the band did a virtual show to commemorate this anniversary one final time.

The band’s setlist consisted of “Deceiver” in its entirety, from the popular singles “Epiphany,” “The Hounds Of Anubis,” “The Wretched,” and “2012,” to some of the more underrated tracks like “Dream Catcher,” “You’re All I See,” “Consider It Mutual,” and “Epiphany,” songs that didn’t appear much in their setlist until the tour they embarked on last summer (which I attended the Denver date of), where they played this album in full. One major difference between the setlist for that tour and the setlist for this virtual show is the fact that this time around, the band also played a couple of the tracks that were on the deluxe edition of this album – “Lights & Stones” and “Apologician,” as well as a cover of Kanye West’s “Heartless.”

There were quite a few things that stood out about the performance in this virtual show. For instance, this record has many impressive guitar solos, and those solos really grabbed my attention during this performance. In addition, this band puts a lot of emotion and passion into not only their music and lyrics but also their live performances, and this performance was no different; I feel like that emotion and passion really shined through during this show.

“Deceiver” is an important album in The Word Alive’s history as a band and this virtual show was a great way to celebrate a decade since its release.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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Knuckle Puck’s ” 20/20″ Review

Over the course of the 2010s (and particularly within the second half of this past decade), Knuckle Puck has gotten a lot of recognition and has quickly become one of the biggest bands in the modern pop-punk scene. With the new year and the new decade came new music from the Chicago, Illinois-based quintet, leading up to the release of their highly anticipated third full-length album, titled “20/20.”

The album kicks off with its title track, “20/20,” which brings catchy guitars in its intro before more instruments and the vocals come in during the verses. The hard-hitting drums really stand out in the song’s pre-chorus and memorable chorus, and both the guitar and bass bring some more catchy riffs during the bridge. Second up is the upbeat lead single “Tune You Out,” where the vocals really grabbed my attention during the captivating chorus, and some shouted vocals and a spoken word section are incorporated during the bridge. The third track, “Sidechain,” is one of the catchiest on the record, “Into The Blue” brings hard-hitting and catchy instrumentation and a vocal performance with tons of emotion, and both tracks bring just as much energy as the first two tracks on the album.

Speaking of which, there’s plenty of energy to be found on the remaining tracks of “20/20,” particularly within tracks four, five, and six. The second single “RSVP” shows that right off the bat through the catchy riffs that drive the intro, as well as the drumbeats and bass riffs that stand out in the verses, where the vocals bring some catchy melodies, and catchy composition is also found in the third single “Breathe,” leading up to its huge chorus. The fourth out of the five singles released, “What Took You So Long?” is probably one of the most energetic tracks on here, and the instantly memorable hooks and choruses made it quickly become one of my favorites on the record. The instrumentation in the intro of “True North” brings plenty of energy early on as well, leading up to another upbeat and catchy chorus before the song slows down at the very end and fades out beautifully.

“Earthquake” was a track that quickly stood out to me, partially because it’s a lot slower in comparison to most of these tracks, and in addition to that, it’s filled with very catchy riffs and melodies, and the chorus is one of the most memorable ones on this album. “Green Eyes (Polarized)” is another standout, with some softer vocals and instrumentation leading up to the bigger chorus, as well as a catchy guitar solo before the chorus returns for the last time. The closing track “Miles Away” has a huge chorus as well, followed by a harder-hitting bridge with passionate vocal and instrumental performances, before the softer ending concludes the album strongly.

Across its eleven tracks, “20/20” is filled with many memorable moments, from the catchy instrumentals and melodies to the attention-grabbing performances, and it’s a remarkable new record from Knuckle Puck.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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The Maine sends off “You Are OK” via a virtual performance | Review

Arizona-based band The Maine released their seventh studio LP, “You Are OK,” around a year and a half ago, on March 29th, 2019. The band has been working on more new material, but before preparing to release LP8, they decided to bid this album farewell with the “Flowers On The Grave” livestream show. 

The show took place at the Orpheum Theatre and was streamed via a platform called Pillar, where the band’s fan club is, and where the band shared exclusive content and interacted with the fans via an afternoon pre-show stream in preparation for the actual concert a few hours later. Once the clock struck 4:00 P.M. PST, the concert finally began. 

To celebrate the end of the “You Are OK” era, the band started off their set by playing the entire album in full and in order. They’ve played a handful of these songs live before in the past, from singles like “Numb Without You,” “Slip The Noose,” and “My Best Habit” to some of the more underrated tracks on the album like “Tears Won’t Cry (Shinjū)” and the cinematic closer “Flowers On The Grave.” This show was also the first time that two of the songs on this album – “One Sunset” and “I Feel It All Over” – were performed live.

Even after the band finished performing the album in full, the show wasn’t over yet. The band finished out their set with several other songs from throughout their discography, including fan favorites such as “(Un)Lost,” “Another Night On Mars” and “Black Butterflies & Deja Vu” to hidden gems that they haven’t included in their live set as often, like “Don’t Give Up On ‘Us’” and “Bliss.”

The Maine put on a captivating performance, just like they have every time I’ve seen them in the past, and this show was a great send-off for “You Are OK.”

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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