Tech N9ne w/ UBI | It Goes Up Tour | Photos

Worcester, PA at The Palladium on 6/8/19

UBI

Tech N9ne

Tech N9ne | UBI

Photos courtesy of Ashley Grace

Keep up with us on social media! Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Blessthefall w/ Slaves and Glass Houses | Hard Feelings Spring Tour | Photos + Review

Blessthefall Brings Out the Hard Feelings in Anaheim

Venue: Chain Reaction on 6/8/19

Blessthefall is one of those bands I must see whenever they come out on tour. They were one of the first three bands I got into in the scene in 2008, with Escape the Fate and The Used being the first two. With their Hard Feelings Spring Tour, Blessthefall brought along with them Palisades, Slaves, and Glass Houses. Unfortunately, Palisades had to drop from the last third of the tour, as they had prior commitments out of country. But, the tour continued on and the remaining three bands came through and slayed the stage at Chain Reaction.

The first band was Glass Houses from Fargo, ND. The band came in swinging from the start of their set to the end. They played 6-songs, 5 of which came from their debut 2016 album “Wellspring”, as well as their new single “Lost Choices”. They are a perfect blend of metalcore and post-hardcore. This five-piece consists of vocalist Joshua Haider, guitarists Robert Whiteside and Tanner Leier, bassist Mark Sands, and drummer Lucas Chayne. Josh spoke about depression and the toll it can have on the psyche, which has been a common theme being brought up lately. It makes me happy to see more people talking about it so openly. Their lyrical content dives deeper into the concept of depression and coping, and you can feel the passion and drive through every instrument and lyric. I was thoroughly impressed by Glass Houses and will certainly be seeing them again when they return to California next!

Up next came Slaves from Sacramento, CA. This band has gone through a lot of struggles throughout their time, but they continue to use that pain to drive and catapult them to new heights. With many lineup changes, with the most notable being the loss of their vocalist and founding member Jonny Craig, the band had to move forward. They currently have Matt McAndrew, who was a finalist on the voice. Matt brought new renditions of the Slaves’ songs, which was cool to hear. The rest of the current lineup consists of bassist Collin Vieira, guitarists Weston Richmond and Felipe Sanchez, and drummer Zack Baker. The band played 7-songs, all from their 2018 record “The Beautiful Death”, which was released via SBG Records with critical acclaim. I was thoroughly impressed with their performance and recommend seeing Slaves when you get the chance.

SETLIST

  1. I’d Rather See Your Star Explode
  2. Back To The Roots
  3. Petty Trappin
  4. True Colors
  5. Warning From My Demons
  6. Patience Is The Virtue
  7. I Know A Lot of Artists

The final band up was the all mighty Blessthefall from Phoenix, Arizona. For this tour, the band prepared a 16-song set, with songs from every album from 2008’s Witness and beyond. The crowd was going nuts, especially when fan favorite songs like “Cutthroat”, “To Hell and Back”, “You Wear A Crown But You Are No King” and “Wishful Sinking Were Played”. The band always has a continuous amount of energy, which is catapulted by vocalist Beau Boken’s showmanship. Beau loves to make you wet and soaks the crowd with water throughout the whole set. The room became a hot and sweaty cesspool and everyone from members of the band to almost everyone in the crowd were covered in water by the end of the show. Blessthefall knows how to get the crowd hyped and sound identical on album as they do live, which is such a beautiful thing to see. I cannot recommend this band enough and will keep seeing them every time they come out to California on a tour.

SETLIST

  1. Wishful Sinking
  2. Cutthroat
  3. Hollow Bodies
  4. Youngbloods
  5. 0
  6. What’s Left Of Me
  7. Melodramatic
  8. Up In Flames
  9. Dead Air
  10. Sleepless In Phoenix
  11. 40 Days…
  12. To Hell and Back
  13. You Wear A Crown But You Are No King
  14. Sakura Blues
  15. Welcome Home

ENCORE

  1. Hey Baby, Here’s That Song You Wanted

The Hard Feelings Spring Tour was a masterpiece with a trio of bands that meshed beautifully together. Glass Houses were such a kickass way to start out the show, and Slaves fit perfectly as the night’s next act, and Blessthefall took the roof off the venue. If you ever get a chance to see a Blessthefall tour, be prepared for one hot and wild show filled with lots of energy and lots of water.

Blessthefall | Slaves | Glass Houses

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

Keep up with us on social media! Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Blessthefall w/ Palisades, Slaves, Glass Houses, and White Lights | Hard Feelings Spring Tour | Photos

White Lights

Glass Houses

Slaves

Palisades

Blessthefall

Blessthefall | Palisades | Slaves | Glass Houses

Photos courtesy of Ashley Grace

5/22/19 | Worcester, MA at The Palladium

Keep up with us on social media! Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Keeping NEPA Strange an Interview w/ Josh Balz by Emily Sulkowski

 

Being odd is typical for artists. It’s what makes us all unique. Josh Balz took the idea of odd and amplified it. Owner of the Strange and Unusual Oddities Parlor in Kingston and Philadelphia, PA, Josh has certainly added a little gem to the often dreary North East, PA. I sat down with him to talk about how life has been after his transition from being in a touring band to running his store full time.

I started by asking if the transition from touring to being grounded back in PA was strange?

“ I love the area, I grew up here and always lived here.” He says.

He certainly thought the transition was strange, since the hectic touring life took a lot out of a person, “ I never felt busy, I felt like I wasn’t doing enough, since I was only running the store, not doing both.” He said while talking about reconfiguring his life after leaving his band.

I asked about his music, Strange Kids, which he’s released two singles under, and more importantly if he was releasing more music, “ I’d like to, it’s more of a hobby right now.” Genre wise, Strange Kids and Motionless in White are very different. Josh said, “ It’s all based on my emotions, what I’m feeling at the time.”
In NEPA, Josh is somewhat of a hometown hero. I asked him if support from local fans had ever changed after coming home. “ I think there’s more support now. The store and Motionless have the same vibe. It goes hand in hand.” His employees at the store said his fair share of fans still come in, excited to meet him. Fans and locals alike still love the shop, enjoying how different it is among the repetitiveness the Valley seems to see often.

Owning a store like this comes from a love for weird things. “ I always enjoyed them (oddities). The stuff comes from all over. A lot of vintage taxidermy” He said when I asked how he finds his unique items, “ It’s definitely a process.”

In a town full of pizza shops, I wondered how a shop selling human bones and spell books does so well, “ I wanted to do something different here,” Josh said when I asked what inspired him, “ Everyone told me I was going to fail.”

Balz said that the shop does very well, being able to sell such unique, incredible items and still stay afloat, where in a huge city it would be difficult. Having the backing he did, it’s no surprise the shop is well loved and received. While wrapping things up, I asked him how it feels to know his music and his parlor help so many people. Being weird isn’t always easy, and he’s always made people like him feel a little less like outsiders. I asked if he ever wanted to have that effect on people. “ Always. I’ve always been a very supportive person. I love helping other people.”

Josh has always encouraged people to be themselves, and be interested in unique things. He’s very proud of who he is, and everything he’s built. “ I hope people come in, to see the shop and try the cafe.”

The Strange and Unusual Oddities Parlor sits at 467 Wyoming Avenue in Kingston, Pennsylvania. Now boasting a Harry Potter themed cafe called Steamy Hallows, serving cookies, Butter Brew coffee and hot chocolate covered in glitter, The Strange and Unusual is a little gem in a town that people seem to forget. Give the shop a visit, buy a skull or two with your coffee, and never be afraid to be a little weird.

Interview courtesy of Emily Sulkowski  | SHOP NOW :  The Strange and Unusual

Follow Josh Balz here

 

 

Architects w/ Thy Art Is Murder and While She Sleeps | Holy Hell Tour | Photos + Review | 5/20/19

On May 20th as I made my way past the line of fans literally wrapping around the punk-rock and heavy metal temple that is the Palladium in Worcester, MA, there was no doubt in my mind that the Architects show that night was going to be one for the books. Days later while the UK based metalcore band wrapped up the North American portion of their “Holy Hell” Tour in Chicago, I was still reeling from the show they put on. Whether it was the excitement buzzing through the venue, to the opening acts While She Sleeps and Thy Art Is Murder, to the granddaddy of them all Architects, the passion and energy felt that night was something I’ll truly always remember.

First up on the bill was While She Sleeps, hailing from Sheffield, UK. The metalcore band oozed energy and excitement and the crowd absolutely ate it up from beginning to end. From the very first song of the set “You Are We” the band came out packing a punch. Lead singer Lawrence Taylor delivered the highest quality of vocals and was backed by talented musicians Sean Long and Matt Welsh on guitars, Aaran McKenzie on bass and Adam Savage on drums. Seeing the crowd interaction with the band was one of the highlights of the night and you could certainly tell that each musician in While She Sleeps truly loved what they were doing. After this, I definitely put While She Sleeps on my list of bands I need to see again.

Next up was Thy Art is Murder. The Australian deathcore band came out swinging and absolutely delivered with every drop, strum and bang that they served us. Filling in for lead singer CJ McMahon was Nick Arthur from Molotov Solution and in my opinion, they couldn’t have picked a better vocalist. Nick’s vocal range, projection and energy was killer from beginning to end. For my first time seeing Thy Art is Murder, I was thoroughly impressed with the musical technicality the band brought and I can’t wait to see them again in the future.

Finally Architects graced the stage with not only amazing vocals and stage presence but a pretty kick ass light show, if I may say. The band never let up once during their sixteen song set, delivering hit after hit. Lead singer Sam Carter performed with such emotion and power that it was hard not to rock out with the crowd and scream all the words along with him. Architects never fails to put on a show that sends you on an adventure from beginning to end and if there’s any adventure I want to be on, it’s that one. The show simply was one of the best that I’ve ever been too and if you ever get the chance to see Architects in person in the future, don’t hesitate to buy your tickets because you won’t be disappointed!

Architects | Thy Art Is Murder | While She Sleeps

Photos + Review courtesy of Linette Ray

Keep up with us on social media! Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Stitched Up Heart w/ A Trigger Within and Darling | Spring U.S. Tour | Photos + Review

Stitched Up Heart Comes Home to Southern California

Venue: The Slidebar | 5/28/19

When Stitched Up Heart announced they were finally playing a show again in Southern California, I jumped on the opportunity to photograph them and finally see this band that I’ve been listening to for several years. When I went to go see them at the Whisky A Go-Go in 2017, the venue for the first time had to cancel a show due to them not being able to get the sound system up and running. So, when I found Stitched Up Heart was playing in Southern California again, I knew I just had to go. As the final date of an 8-week tour, they came through The Slidebar in Fullerton, CA to headline for the first time in California in almost 2 years, with local support from A Trigger Within and Darling. This show was a blast.

First up was Darling from Los Angeles, CA. Darling is an acoustic artist who also mixes in pop and rock. She and I met the first time at the whisky but actually seeing her showcase her talents was amazing. She has such an amazing voice and plays the acoustic guitar amazingly. She played 6 songs, which included her new single “Misery” as well as a cover of Bullet for My Valentine’s “Tears Don’t Fall”. She was joined on stage by Stitched Up Heart’s James Decker on drums and her husband and bassist of Stitched Up Heart Randy Mathias. She put on a breathtaking set and I cannot wait to see her again!

Next up was A Trigger Within from Los Angeles, CA. A Trigger Within came to The Slidebar to bring us some good ole Heavy Metal with an emphasis on symphonics and screaming anthems. Fronting the band is Jimmy Trigger, who commands the stage with a force. The rest of the band consists of bassist Eric Sinful, drummer Dylan Roy, and guitarists David Bruno and Tyler Morgan. The band played a powerful 7-song set, which consisted of new songs, as well as songs from their debut 2017 EP titled “I”. From just one listen to the band, you can hear just the melting pot of styles and inspirations this band has blended together to make powerful music. They are certainly enjoyable live, filled with a lot of energy. I cannot wait to hopefully see them again soon!

The final band up was none other than Stitched Up Heart, local to West Hollywood, CA. This band has been going since 2011 but didn’t release their debut album “Never Alone” until 2016 via Century Media Records. To my pleasant surprise, a majority of their 11-song set consisted of brand new songs most have not heard yet and only played 4 from “Never Alone”. It was so cool hearing the band’s new material and also being able to hear some fan favorite songs like “Finally Free” and “I Can’t Breathe”. The band consists of vocalist Alecia “Mixi” Demner, drummer and backup vocalist James Decker, bassist and backup vocalist Randy Mathias, and guitarists Merritt Goodwin and Jeremy Kohnmann. The band had so much energy on stage and even played around with me while I photographed them, constantly posing and jokingly covering my camera at times. I was so happy to finally see them and will certainly be making my way out again once they play Southern California again.

SETLIST

  1. This Skin (New Song)
  2. Warrior (New Song)
  3. Catch Me When I Fall
  4. Darkness (New Song)
  5. I Can’t Breathe
  6. Finally Free
  7. Lost (New Song)
  8. Dirty Secrets (New Song)
  9. Problems (New Song)
  10. City of Angels

ENCORE

  1. Crooked Halo

This was an amazing show from start to finish. I’m glad I was able to see Darling play her heart out. A Trigger Within was a great band to have for direct support, with dueling guitar solos and high energy. And finally being able to see Stitched Up Heart was exactly what I’ve wanted for over 2 years. Check out all of these amazing bands and artists.

Stitched Up Heart | A Trigger Within | Darling

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

Keep up with us on social media! Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

 

 

The Veer Union w/ NeverWake, Saved By Skarlet, and Cross The Divide | 10 Year Anniversary Tour 2019

Cross The Divide

Saved By Skarlet

NeverWake

The Veer Union

The Veer Union | NeverWake | Saved By Skarlet | Cross The Divide

Photos courtesy of Amanda Spring | 5/14/19

Keep up with us on social media! Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube