8/16/21 | Beartooth | The Below Tour | Photos + Review

Beartooth Dominates Anaheim With A Sold Out Show on The Below Tour

Venue: House of Blues Anaheim in Anaheim, CA on 8/16/21

As music fans, we all have bands that we want to see. But then something seems to always come up. Whether it be scheduling issues or another show overlapping, that’s always been my issue when it’s come to seeing or photographing Beartooth. I’ve been listening to their music since their debut in 2013, but this show was my first time actually seeing or photographing them. To say it was amazing would be an understatement, and I was so glad to finally see and photograph Wage War and Dragged Under as well. California hasn’t been getting as many big tours since we reopened live venues post-pandemic. So to have a show of this caliber come through was absolutely amazing.

First up on tour was Dragged Under from Seattle, Washington. I’d best describe Dragged Under’s sound as being that perfect blend of metalcore and hardcore punk. Their sound is right up the same vein as bands like Stick To Your Guns, Beartooth, and Stray From The Path, which are all among some of my favorite bands of all time. The band started off their set with the songs “Instability” and “The Real You”, which really showcased vocalist Anthony Cappocchi’s vocal prowess and control over the stage and crowd. Bassist Hans Hessburg was an animal on stage, headbanging and jumping around the stage like crazy. The band then went on to play their newest single, “Brainwash Broadcast”, which has received critical acclaim and has garnered a lot of views, streams, and radio play on SiriusXM Octane. Ryan “Fluff” Bruce shines on this song with his’ leads and hooks, which translate well live as well. Sean Rosario on rhythm guitar adds that dynamic sound that pushes the band over the edge. Kalan Anderson is the final piece to the puzzle, slamming the hell out of those drums and keeps the beat on time. The band played 7 songs, 6 of which came from their debut album “The World Is In Your Way”. I was thoroughly impressed with their set overall, and I’m glad they could play a good number of songs as the opener. I cannot wait to see these guys shine on a stage again soon!

SETLIST

  1. Instability
  2. The Real You
  3. Brainwash Broadcast
  4. Chelsea
  5. The Hardest Drug
  6. Just Like Me
  7. Hypocondria

Up next was Wage War from Ocala, Florida. Wage War has been a band that has always been on my bucket list and has always been on my radar, but I never got the chance to see. For my first time seeing them, I was blown away. The first thing you will notice about Wage War is how much of a presence lead vocalist Briton Bond has on stage. He absolutely commands that stage and screams the hell out of those words. The band played a great mix of songs, 3 of which came from their 2019 album “Pressure”, 3 from their 2017 album “Deadweight”, 2 from their 2015 album “Blueprints”, their newest single “High Horse”, and an unreleased track “Teeth”, presumably coming from their upcoming fourth album. One of my favorite things about Wage War’s sound is the clean vocals provided by Cody Quistad, who also plays rhythm guitar in the band. Those melodic choruses on songs like “Who I Am”, “Low”, and “Alive” are what really hooked me on Wage War, and I was so happy to hear these songs live. Lead guitarist Seth Blake really adds some unique hooks to the band’s sound. I consistently find myself humming some of those down-tuned guitar hooks from their songs in my head, and they sounded even better live! Adding to those lower tones, Chris Gaylord hits deep with those groovy bass tones that keep those heads banging. Finalizing their lineup is Stephen Kluesener, who adds some dynamic beats and rhythm that really grounds the band. I’m so stoked I was finally able to see Wage War, and I cannot wait to see and photograph them again soon!

SETLIST

  1. Stitch
  2. Who I Am
  3. Prison
  4. High Horse
  5. Alive
  6. The River
  7. Don’t Let Me Fade Away
  8. Teeth
  9. Gravity
  10. Low

Finally, Beartooth came to the stage from Columbus, Ohio. Beartooth has a sound that has always been unique. They’re riff-heavy metalcore with more of a hardcore punk style edge mixed in. But what sets them apart from many bands are their melodic choruses and hooks that really drive home with audiences. For their fourth record entitled “Below”, the band set out to really go back to their roots, with an aggressive yet diverse showing of music. Beartooth opened the show with the first track off the album, titled “Below”. This aggressive start to the album and set truly set the stage for the show they were about to put on. As vocalist Caleb Shomo ran out stage and screamed out those opening lines of the song, it was chaos from then on. The band brought an extensive lighting setup and LED light panel behind them, which lit up lyrics to songs and showed dynamic visuals for each song. Caleb really honed in on his’ musicianship on this record, taking elements from each of the three previous records while also trying out some new styles as well. Bassist Oshie Bichar was on fire, constantly moving about on stage and helping with the sing-along sections. Guitarists Zach Huston and Will Deely shredded on their parts and added a lot to the band’s sound. Connor Dennis is a superb drummer and was incredibly energetic throughout the entire set. The band played a whopping 17-song set: 8 from 2021’s “Below”, 4 from 2014’s “Aggressive”, 3 from 2018’s “Disease”, and 2 from 2016’s “Aggressive”. With a wide array of songs from both the new album and the rest of the discography, Beartooth made sure to make this headlining set something new fans and old would love. I am so glad I could finally see and photograph them, and I cannot wait to do so again soon.

SETLIST:

  1. Below
  2. Devastation
  3. Hated
  4. Sick of Me
  5. Fed Up
  6. Dominate
  7. The Lines
  8. Beaten In Lips
  9. Body Bag
  10. Hell of It
  11. Skin
  12. You Never Know
  13. Bad Listener
  14. Disease
  15. In Between

ENCORE

16. The Past Is Dead

17. The Last Riff

All in all, The Below tour was an absolute dream come true. Beartooth has been a huge bucket list band for me to see for quite some time, so seeing and photographing them was a dream come true. A massive shoutout to the fantastic crew and the other bands Wage War and Dragged Under, who absolutely DESTROYED that stage! Thank you for bringing this tour to California and for presenting us with live music once again!

Beartooth | Wage War | Dragged Under

Photos + Review By: Jamie Kaufman | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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Have Mercy Final Tour 2020 | Photos + Review

Have Mercy have been a very important part of the emo, alternative and pop punk music scene, and after a decade of music and touring, they announced they have decided to break up, and that they would do one final North American tour.

Glacier Veins started the show off strong with a very captivating performance. The band has such a good stage presence and looked like they were having so much fun performing their set. The set-list primarily consisted of songs from their newly released debut LP, “The World You Want To See,” including upbeat songs such as “Talk,” “Feel Better Now,” and “Everything Glows,” as well as some slower ones like “Driveway.”

 

Young Culture was up next, bringing another really impressive set. This band brings something refreshing to the modern pop punk genre, and their live set brought a ton of passion and energy from start to finish. They performed all of the songs off of last year’s “(This Is) Heaven” EP (with the exception of “Never Changed”), as well as two older songs, “Party Girl” and “Pure Gold,” and their newly released single, “Holiday In Vegas.” 

 

Second to last was Fredo Disco. The band has so much charisma, especially lead vocalist Fredo Fosco, and they really engaged and captivated a crowd full of people who were very excited to see them perform. Their set-list included their two latest songs (“never tell u” and “harmony korine (the game)”), as well as several others from the project’s past few releases: “burnt and worn out,” “dad jeans,” and “jimbo” from 2019’s “Very Cool Music For Very Cool People,” “saturn suv” and “shower song” from 2017’s “school spirit,” and “Ghost Of Mariano’s” and “Frankenstein” from their 2018 EP “The Boredom Keeps Me Up At Night.”

 

Finally, Have Mercy took the stage to perform the last Denver, Colorado set of their career. Their set-list spanned from throughout their discography, from playing songs from their final record “The Love Life” (“Clair,” “Heartbeat,” “These Streets,” and “Dressed Down”) to classics in their catalogue (“Let’s Talk About Your Hair,” “My Oldest Friend”) and songs from the other albums and EPs that they’ve released from throughout their career: “Spacecrafts,” “Pete Rose And Babe Ruth,” “Two Years” and “Howl” from “A Place Of Our Own,” “Coexist” from “Make The Best Of It,” and “Hell,” “Levelhead,” “This Old Ark” and “When I Sleep” from “The Earth Pushed Back.” 

 

Every band on this lineup put on very impressive and captivating performances, and as a whole, this might have been one of my favorite shows I’ve attended in 2020 so far.

Photos + Review courtesy of Meg Langley | Instagram

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Fitz & The Tantrums ft Twin XL | All The Feels Tour 2020

February 12, 2020

Twin XL

Fitz & The Tantrums

Photos courtesy of Angel Haines

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Atreyu w/ Whitechapel, He Is Legend, Tempting Fate, and Santa Cruz | 20th Anniversary Tour | Photos + Review

Atreyu Closes Out Their 20th Anniversary Celebration In Ventura

Venue: The Majestic Ventura Theater in Ventura, CA on 11/20/19

When a band hits a milestone in their career, it’s a big deal. From hitting 1 year as a band, to selling out a show, each of these milestones for bands has sentimental value in their growth. Atreyu hit twenty years of being a band, which is huge considering the many bands in their cohort of metal that have come and gone since they started. While it seemed the band would be done after 2010, the band came back in 2014 stronger than ever, continuing with the momentum they had before and then some! With seven albums under their belt, the band let the fans vote on their setlist, which showcased songs from each record. Atreyu brought along with them an interesting mix of bands. With Whitechapel as direct support bringing the deathcore, He Is Legend bringing their southern influenced Mathcore, Tempting Fate bringing the post hardcore, and Santa Cruz throwing it back with some glam rock to the table, this tour was a blend of bands that were different from one another and kept the show truly interesting. Those of us in attendance at this final date of the tour has a wonderful time!

First up was Santa Cruz from Helsinki, Finland. Opening the show up, the band brought out a flare completely different than any other band on the lineup. Their sound is a mixture of glam metal, heavy metal, hard rock, and has some elements of post hardcore mixed in. As the oddballs on the tour, they really hyped the crowd up with energy, especially frontman and founding member Archie Cruz, who shredded to his’ hearts content center stage and captivated the audience with his vocal abilities reminiscent of hair metal from the 80s. The band’s touring guitarist Joe Perez was on point, shredding both the rhythm and lead parts when he and Archie switched off, with incredible stage presence and lots of hairflipping action. On stage left, you’ll find the band’s bassist Eemi Lamberg, who played his basslines with precision and class, while also giving lots of windmills and high energy. Closing out the band’s lineup is drummer Tuomas Lehtonen, who did backup vocals along with his fast and intense drum playing. Throughout the band’s six-song set, you could feel the energy thriving on the stage. I wasn’t able to meet the band, as they took their merch away shortly after they played, but they slayed their set and executed their performance brilliantly. It was a great way to start out the show!

SETLIST

  1. Changing Of Seasons
  2. Bang Bang (My Worst Enemy)
  3. True Believer
  4. We Are The Ones To Fall
  5. Wasted & Wounded
  6. Aiming High

Up next was Tempting Fate from Los Angeles, CA. This band sits on the borderline of post-hardcore and metalcore, while also blending in some nu metal influences, shown especially in their song “Sik”. As an independent band, they have released two EPs and one full length record, which they incorporated songs from each release into their eight-song set. The band has an interesting dynamic, with brothers Cory Beecher on vocals and Shane Beecher on guitar. Drummer Alex Rivas played the heavy blast beat sections with ease and had a lot of energy behind the kit. Eemi Lamberg from Santa Cruz filled in on bass, providing a lot of energy and bass lines to the band’s set. It was cool for me to see the variety in the band’s sound, with songs like “Filthy” showing their heavier side, and other songs like “A Place Called Home” showing off the band’s hard rock side. I was thoroughly impressed by their set. Tempting Fate is definitely a band to keep your eyes on!

SETLIST

  1. Filthy
  2. Questions
  3. Eminence
  4. 99
  5. Falling To Pieces
  6. I’d Rather Burn
  7. A Place Called Home
  8. Sik

Next to the stage was the all mighty He Is Legend from Wilmington, North Carolina. Starting out as a metalcore band, the band’s sound has progressed throughout the years, becoming more of a fusion between a plethora of sub-genres, most notably being a mixture of hard rock, alternative metal, stoner rock, psychedelic rock, sludge metal, and southern rock. Watching their set and listening to their music takes listeners on a journey, as songs can sometimes mix several of these influences together, creating an album where each song is dynamic and impressive. Vocalist Schuylar Croom is an entertaining person to watch on stage, grooving along with the music as if he is entranced in it. Lead guitarist Adam Tanbouz and rhythm guitarist Andrew Gaultier played their parts with ease and headbanging to their hearts content. Bassist Matty Williams strummed in those deep basslines that hit the spot in the band’s music, while providing tons of hairflips and energy. Jesse Shelley on drums is the final piece to the band’s lineup, holding down the fort and keeping the band on track while playing the drums with precision, even through the many random tempo changes. The band has a total of six albums, four of which they played songs from in their seven-song setlist. Overall, I was blown away by their set and cannot wait to see He Is Legend again in the future.

SETLIST

  1. White Bat
  2. Burn All Your Rock Records
  3. The Seduction
  4. The Widow of Magnolia
  5. Attack of the Dungeon Witch
  6. Everyone I Know Has Fangs
  7. Boogiewoman

Whitechapel from Knoxville, Tennessee was up next as direct support. Whenever I prepare for a Whitechapel set, I know what to expect: lots of energy, lots of strobing lighting, and those groovy heavy tones that match perfectly with vocalist Phil Bozeman’s deep guttural vocals. Since they released their album “The Valley” earlier in the year, which was released via Metal Blade Records, the band played six-songs from the album, along with three other fan favorite songs, adding up to a nine-song set. Whitechapel has interesting dynamics in their band, with three guitarists: Ben Savage, Alex Wade, and Zach Householder. While Ben technically does a majority of the leads, each guitarist shines during the set, truly adding to the band’s groove metal infused deathcore. Vocalist Phil Boseman really stepped out of the box on the new record, showing off more of his’ vocal abilities in terms of clean vocals, shown in songs “When A Demon Defiles A Witch” and “Hickory Creek”, both of which they played on this tour. I’m also very amused whenever I see Gabe Crisp on stage, as the dude has a really intense presence on that stage, truly jamming out and grooving along while playing those piercing bass tones. The band’s live drummer Alex Rüdinger closes out the current Whitechapel lineup, and he does not disappoint, nailing all of the bands intricate drum patterns. One funny part of the set that stuck out to me was when Phil Boseman said, “We just wrote this next song this morning, so I hope you enjoy it”, and then going on to play the band’s most recognizable song “This Is Exile”. I always love seeing Whitechapel live because they truly have an amazing arsenal of music and it’s cool to see what songs they’re going to pull out of the vault for their sets. Whitechapel never disappoints in concert, and I am looking forward to seeing them again when they come out to Southern California next!

SETLIST

  1. Forgiveness Is Weakness
  2. Brimstone
  3. Black Bear
  4. Third Depth
  5. When A Demon Defiles A Witch
  6. This Is Exile
  7. Hickory Creek
  8. Our Endless War
  9. The Saw Is The Law

Atreyu from Yorba Linda, California was up next to celebrate being together as a band for 20 years. The band’s setlist was voted on by the fans, adding up to a setlist with 20-songs spanning their entire discography, except songs from 2015’s “Long Live”. For the anniversary tour, the band brought an elaborate light show that lit up the whole venue, which made the 1200 capacity venue feel like a stadium show. The band’s lead vocalist Alex Varkatzas was filled with energy, truly utilizing every inch of that stage and engaging fans from every part of the crowd. One thing Atreyu never strays from is their guitar solos, and co-lead guitarists Dan Jacobs and Travis Miguel truly showcased their abilities throughout the set. Brandon Staller is the member that truly sets Atreyu apart from many other bands, as he plays the technical drum parts while providing the clean vocals for the band. Bassist Marc McKnight is truly a hype man on stage, playing his bass lines while engaging the audience members and headbanging with his epic beard waving around. Since the fans voted on the setlist, it consisted of mainly songs from the band’s earlier albums “The Curse” and “A Death-Grip On Yesterday”, but I was glad to see that fans at least voted on some songs from the band’s later albums. I am truly lucky and happy that I was able to see Atreyu two times in a span of five months. They’re a very entertaining band to see and photograph. I cannot wait to see them again when they come back out here!

SETLIST

  1. The Time Is Now
  2. Right Side of the Bed
  3. Ain’t Love Grand
  4. Doomsday
  5. My Fork in the Road (Your Knife in My Back)
  6. Ex’s and Oh’s
  7. Our Sick Story (Thus Far)
  8. The Theft
  9. Bleeding Mascara
  10. Demonology and Heartache
  11. The Crimson
  12. Her Portrait in Black
  13. Bleeding Is a Luxury
  14. House of Gold
  15. Becoming the Bull
  16. Falling Down
  17. Blow
  18. Five Vicodin Chased With a Shot of Clarity
  19. Untitled Finale
  20. Lip Gloss and Black

Atreyu has been dominating the rock and metal scenes for two decades and truly went all in on their anniversary tour. Whitechapel, He Is Legend, Tempting Fate, and Santa Cruz all brought it and meshed with Atreyu beautifully to create a wonderful night of music and a beautiful end to this tour! Make sure to check out all of these bands and see them on tour at a city near you!

Atreyu | Whitechapel | He Is Legend | Tempting Fate | Santa Cruz

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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Issues w/ Polyphia and Sleep Token | Beautiful Oblivion North American Tour | Photos + Review

Issues Runs Los Angeles Into Beautiful Oblivion

Venue: The Mayan in Los Angeles, CA on 11/14/20

When it comes to sound progression in a band’s discography, Issues almost instantly comes to my mind. While they started out sounding a lot like vocalist Tyler Carter’s previous band “Woe, Is Me”, the band started to slowly but surely incorporate influences from genres such as R&B, Funk, Jazz, and EDM. Their newest record “Beautiful Oblivion” saw the band taking a giant leap in terms of their sound. With the departure of long-time vocalist Michael Bahn, the band distanced themselves a bit from the metalcore sound, incorporating more of those influences than ever before. To celebrate the album, the band set out on their world tour, with the first stop being North America with support from Polyphia and Sleep Token: a mixed bag of talent that worked well for the tour!

First up was Sleep Token from London, England. Sleep Token is a fully conceptual band, with each member sporting masks and black body paint. They’ve created this story of being united in worshipping their god known as “Sleep”. The lineup still remains completely anonymous, which adds to the appeal. Sleep Token has taken the scene by storm, garnering a cult-like following with their diversified sound that blends together alternative rock, progressive rock, progressive metalcore, ambient, and EDM. It was surreal to see them on stage, as they looked very ominous on stage with their masks and look. But their music is very melodic and can completely change genres mid-song, which continuously keeps the listeners on their toes. I was personally thrilled to hear the band play songs from their debut album “Sundowning”, which was released in 2019 via Spinefarm Records. The band played a total of six songs, five of which came from that new album. The band played a flawless set with a lot of energy, and I cannot wait for the band to return to the U.S. in the future!

SETLIST

  1. The Night Does Not Belong To God
  2. The Offering
  3. Dark Signs
  4. Higher
  5. Sugar
  6. Jaws

Up next was Polyphia from Dallas, Texas as the direct support for the tour. Polyphia is a very dynamic band. And while they are fully instrumental, they got the crowd going wild like no other, blending together progressive metal, progressive rock, math rock, funk rock, and even some elements of electronic music. Both guitarists Scott LePage and Clay Aeschliman played some insane riffs, with odd time signatures that fit perfectly into the songs. Bassist Clay Glover acts as the band’s front man, hyping up the crowd between the songs and grooving along with his’ deep hitting basslines. With three full length records and two EPs under their belt, the band has garnered a very passionate following, selling out shows country wide on their headlining tours. As direct support, the band prepared a ten-song set, which showcased songs from each of their releases, the newest of which being their 2018 album “New Levels New Devils”, which was released via Equal Vision Records. Polyphia was truly amazing and blew my expectations out of the water!

SETLIST

  1. O.A.T.
  2. D.
  3. Saucy
  4. Goose
  5. 40oz
  6. Champagne
  7. Icronic
  8. Look But Don’t Touch
  9. Finale
  10. Euphoria