Silverstein with special guests The Plot In You and Can’t Swim | Silverstein 20th Anniversary Tour | 11/19/21 | Photos + Review

Silverstein Sells Out Their 20 Year Celebration In Los Angeles

11/19/21 at The Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, CA

              In March of 2020, Silverstein was set to go out on their 20th Anniversary Tour. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the tour was postponed twice. Finally setting out on tour in November and December of 2021, the band now hit their 21st anniversary as a band. To prepare for just a significant anniversary, the band prepared one of the longest sets I’ve ever seen a band play, and they brought along with them The Plot In You and Can’t Swim for the ride. This lineup made for a night of diverse music that kept fans entertained from start to finish.

              First up was Can’t Swim from Keansburg, New Jersey. I’d best describe the band’s sound in the subgenre known as “easycore.” Easycore is basically the merging of pop-punk and metalcore. Similar bands in sound would be A Day To Remember, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk, and more. The band started with the song “Set The Room Ablaze,” which comes from their newest album, “Change Of Plans,” released in 2021 via Pure Noise Records. This song has a heavy edge, with metalcore-inspired riffs courtesy of Danny Rico and Mike Sanchez. This song also features some raspy screams from guitarist Chris LoPorto. The song’s studio recording features Caleb Shomo from Beartooth, which honestly pushes the song over the edge. This is easily my favorite song from the band and having them open up with it was incredible to witness. The band then went on to play their song “Sometimes You Meet The Right People At The Wrong Time” from their 2018 record “This Too Won’t Pass,” released via Pure Noise Records. This song has an overall pop-punk feel, with the stand-out elements being the drum patterns and overall atmosphere. I focused during this song on drummer Blake Gamel, who was absolutely smashing those drums like crazy. Bassist Greg McDevitt also did a superb job on backup vocals, adding amazing harmonies that pushed the songs to another level. The third song in the set that I captured was their song “Sense of Humor,” which has a very lighthearted feel in the melodies and atmosphere. The song changes up about two-thirds of the way through with a breakdown, adding an extra layer of contrast and depth to the song that kept me jamming while in the photo pit. The band was tight as hell during their set and had incredible energy. They absolutely blew away my expectations. They played a nine-song setlist, playing songs from four of their releases. They’re a fantastic band, and I highly recommend attending their headlining tour in the spring if it comes near you!

SETLIST

  1. Set The Room Ablaze
  2. “Sometimes You Meet The Right Person At The Wrong Time”
  3. Sense Of Humor
  4. Prick
  5. Deliver Us From Evil
  6. Power
  7. My Queen
  8. Your Clothes
  9. Stranger

Up next was The Plot In You Hancock County, Ohio. This was my second time ever seeing The Plot In You, with the first and only other time being back in 2016 when they were headlining their “Happiness In Self Destruction” tour in support of their album they had released the year prior of the same title. The band has made quite the transformation since then. The band was previously a through and through metalcore band. They experimented with more melodic elements in the album “Happiness In Self Destruction” before diving deep into their new sound in 2018’s “Dispose” via Fearless Records. Going more towards a post-hardcore and progressive rock sound, the band has genuinely diversified their more recent records. The band opened with the song “Face Me” from their 2021 record “Swan Song,” also released on Fearless Records. Face Me opens up with a beat, and vocalist Landon Tewers before the full band comes in during the chorus. The band really brought the theatrics, with a gorgeous light show that really brought their performance to the next level. The instrumentals have a truly modern vibe to them. The bass from Ethan Yoder is vibrant and prominent, the guitar is deep and full from Josh Lewis Childress, and the drums are clean and solid from Michael Cooper. The band then went on to their second song, “Fall Again,” which is my favorite track from the new record. This song plays with the band’s heavier elements, bringing in some nu-metal inspiration in the guitar tones and vocalizations. Landon Tewers is truly on fire vocally on this record, showing his vast repertoire and prowess. The band then went on to play their song “Enemy,” which has an r&b feel to it, while still dialing into their post-hardcore sound. I love the new addition of the electronics into the music, as it adds a whole other layer to their sound. The crowd was eating them up, jumping, and singing along to every word. The band played a total of ten songs, spanning from “Swan Song,” “Dispose,” and “Happiness in Self Destruction,” which are three albums that really meld nicely in the band’s current discography and their more modern sound. The Plot In You has truly grown a lot since I last saw them, and I cannot wait to see them again. 

SETLIST

  1. Face Me
  2. Fall Again
  3. Enemy
  4. Not Just Breathing
  5. Time Changes Everything
  6. Paradigm
  7. One Last Time
  8. Too Far Gone
  9. Disposable Fix
  10. Feel Nothing

Silverstein from Burlington, Ontario, Canada, hit the stage next. Hitting two decades for a band in the heavier music genre is a massive milestone for bands in our genre and music in general. It can be easy to burn out and give up, but Silverstein has proven that a band can not only succeed but push themselves further and thrive through perseverance, growth, and rebuilding. For those who somehow have never heard Silverstein, they are that perfect blend of metalcore, post-hardcore, pop-punk, and punk rock. They started out as one of the classic emo bands and have constantly expanded upon their sound to keep previous fans impressed and gain a new, innovative following. For their 20th Anniversary Tour, the band went the whole nine yards, preparing three sets in total. They also brought an extensive amount of colorful and vibrant lighting, timed and themed perfectly to their music. The first set Silverstein played was a greatest hits set, performing songs from their whole discography. They opened with one of their newer singles titled “Bankrupt.” This track is an explosive and heavy track with a deep guitar groove courtesy of Josh Bradford and Paul Marc Rousseau. The crowd went bonkers, with crowd surfing and moshing galore. This track showcases vocalist Shane Told’s intense screams and solid clean vocals. He is a powerhouse vocalist and truly showcased that with this song. The band then went into the song “Massachusetts” from their 2013 album “This Is How The Wind Shifts,” which has a lighter sound compared to “Bankrupt.” Those intricate drum patterns from Paul Koehler are a standout in this song for me. The next song the band went into was “Smashed Into Pieces” from their debut album “When The Broken Is Easily Fixed,” which really has that classic emo and post-hardcore vibe the band founded themselves on. Bassist Billy Hamilton was on point with those harmonies and backup screams on this song, and that deep bass grove really helped push it over. The band then went into songs like “Bad Habits,” “It’s Over,” “Infinite,” and “The Afterglow.” The band even did a massive melody of songs, which included “The Artist,” “Sacrifice,” “I Am The Arsonist,” “The Continual Condition,” “My Disaster,” “Vices,” “Je Me Souviens,” and “Broken Stars.” After a short interlude, Shane Told came out to do an acoustic set while a few members joined during a song or two. The acoustic set consisted of “Rescue You,” “Untitled” by Social Distortion, “Red Light Pledge,” and “Where Are You,” all of which once again showcased how diverse and strong Shane Told’s vocals are all these years later. The band came on for their third set just a minute later to play their second album, “Discovering The Waterfront,” in its entirety. Songs like “My Heroine” and “Call It Karma” were standouts on the album for me, so to hear them live, along with the rest of the songs, was absolutely incredible. The band gave us a special treat for their encore to top it all off. As a final song, the band played “Bleeds No More” from their debut album. However, they changed things up, putting Shane Told on bass and having Billy Hamilton absolutely demolish those vocals. He was on fire, and Shane was plunking away at those chunky bass notes. This song finished off their set on such a high note. Silverstein again proves why they are a staple in their cohort, and I cannot wait to see them again in the new year. 

SETLIST

  1. Bankrupt
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Smashed Into Pieces
  4. Bad Habits
  5. The Artist/ Sacrifice / I Am The Arsonist / The Continual Condition / My Disaster / Vices / Je Me Souviens / Broken Stars
  6. It’s Over
  7. Infinite
  8. The Afterglow
  9. Replace You
  10. Untitled (Social Distortion Cover)
  11. Red Light Pledge
  12. Where Are You
  13. Your Sword Versus My Dagger
  14. Smile In Your Sleep
  15. The Ides Of March
  16. Fist Wrapped In Blood
  17. Discovering The Waterfront
  18. Defend You
  19. My Heroine
  20. Always And Never
  21. Already Dead
  22. The Hours Back
  23. Call It Karma

ENCORE

24. Bleeds No More

Silverstein really went above and beyond for their 20th-anniversary tour. I am beyond grateful I could see and photograph them again, along with The Plot In You and Can’t Swim. All three bands played amazing sets and made the crowd go NUTS. Give some love to all of these bands and go see them live when they hit cities near you!

Silverstein | The Plot In You | Can’t Swim

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter |

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Grayscale’s “The Umbra Tour” 2021 ft Young Culture, girlfriends and Cemetery Sun

Pop punk. One of the most up-for-interpretation genres. You have a million pop punk bands, and not one of them will ever sound the same. It’s a genre that fits a wide definition, which makes so called ‘ pop punk ‘ shows a wonderful mixed basket of bands. Grayscale’s Umbra tour gave a show that had something for everyone. I made my way to Easton, PA, for one of the most amazing nights I’ve had in a long time.

I was immediately given an amazing welcome by the band Young Culture. Not only were they outstanding people, who were appreciative of every fan and photographer alike, but their music was some of the best I have heard in years. Their set was, in the best way, a throwback for me. I remember the Golden Era of pop punk bands from 2015-2017. Young Culture’s amazing sound fits right in with the likes of Neck Deep, The Story So Far, and State Champs. The entire band appeared to be having the time of their life, which helped the crowd get rowdy. The entire building danced, laughed, and sang along together. Good vibes are an understatement when it comes to Young Culture. 

Cemetery Sun was this beautiful experience that reminds me of bands like Badflower and Nothing, Nowhere. While it wasn’t exactly music to crowdsurf to, the entire crowd was mesmerized by this unique take on the genre. Along with the music getting the crowd ready for the night, every member of the band was a fantastic performer. This usually isn’t my type of band, but I was blown away by the dedication to their set, and fans. A friend I attended the show with was a first time listener, and he had nothing but good things to say. “ These are my favorite types of bands, and to be able to see one reach out to a broader audience was very exciting to me.”

My best way of describing the band Girlfriends is as if the most famous people you knew made music. Their sound is big, exciting, and sounds familiar even if you haven’t heard it. They blended a chart topping pop sound with a punk edge that makes the most mainstream and obscure listeners alike happy. Once again, a band full of unbelievably kind people. That’s the one thing I can stress about this tour. Every single artist on it is grateful, kind, and willing to connect with other people. It’s refreshing to see these connections after being away from each other for so long. 

The last time I had seen Grayscale before 2021 was way back when in 2017. Adornment was one of my favorite albums of all time, and they solidified themselves as one of my favorite bands with the release of Nella Vita. Umbra was a release I had looked forward to since they announced it, and it was everything I wanted. With emotional, beautiful composition, and vibe you can’t help but dance to, Umbra is easily my album of the year. I was excited to see how that translated to a live show, and I was not let down. For a band who’s music isn’t exactly rowdy, Grayscale can move a crowd like no one I’ve ever see. Crowdsurfers we’re flying through the air during songs I wouldn’t think would be appropriate, but it all made sense in the end. The entire band sounds almost as perfect as they do on record while playing live. I cannot stress Colin Walsh’s vocal talent enough, but it was beyond perfect during a live show. They played their entire new album in full, playing their most popular older hits as the encore. They were an absolute delight to talk to after the show, and absolutely one of my favorite bands I’ve ever taken photos of. 

Every band on this bill is incredible, and they show their passion every night when they play.

Photos + review by Emily Sulkowski

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Pop Punk’s Still Not Dead Yet tour hits New York City!

Let’s go back to 2002 – you wake up for school, turn on MTV (back when they actually played music) and see the video for New Found Glory’s “My Friends Over You.” This was how I first came across the band. At the time, I had no idea what the song was and had never heard of them up until that point, but my twelve-year-old self was blown away and I instantly became hooked on their music. Fast forward over twenty years later, and New Found Glory is still at it and going stronger than ever. They have done many Warped Tour runs alongside different genres of bands, and in early 2019, they released a trailer with fellow pop-punk band Simple Plan announcing a tour called “Pop Punk’s Still Not Dead Yet.” I was super excited and bought tickets right away.

A few months later, a huge pandemic hit us and stopped bands from touring at all. The tour was cancelled and rebooked a few times over the next year or so, but even with line up changes it was set to continue no matter what. Finally the day came. It was a nice, breezy, and cool day in New York City, and the fact that the venue was up on top of a building overlooking Brooklyn made the show that much more special. The tour now consisted of LOLO (a pop/pop punk artist based out of Toronto), as well as Hot Mulligan and the infamous Less Than Jake.

The show started out a little lighter with LOLO, who has a poppy sound, but mixes some pop punk in there as well.

Then Hot Mulligan came on, with a very intense punk sound that punches you right in the face.

After Hot Mulligan was the infamous Less Than Jake, who is known for playing the style of punk music called Ska and were famous on the Vans Warped Tour route. Less Than Jake hit the stage hard with their strong ska sound.

Finally, it was time for the legendary New Found Glory. The mood was set by using a Backstreet Boys song “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back). They kicked into their set with the song “Understatement” and continued to kick ass all night long playing classics like “All Downhill From Here,” “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Vicious Love,” “Dressed to Kill,” and the song I fell in love with them through, “My Friends Over You”. It’s not often that you come across a band that has been going strong for over twenty years, but it has been an amazing experience so far.

Photos & review by Anthony Petrizzo

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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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The Phoenix Within Takes on Blue Ridge Rock Festival 2021

A quick pit-stop while on vacation, our photographer Chyenne Conner, stopped by the annual Blue Ridge Rock Festival to cover The Phoenix Within’s set. You can read a bit more about the band below.

The Phoenix Within is a rock project based out of Queens, NY. The band was founded in 2013 and fronted by its founder singer-songwriter, guitarist and author Omar Feliciano. The Phoenix Within is backed by bassist Nicholas Narlis, guitarist John Narlis and drummer James Narlis. The bands discography is extensive and a direct reflection of their never ending dedication and output. Four of their most recent singles South Ozone, Copycat, Daddy Issues and Hypothetical each showcase very different and distinct musical elements and unique lyrical topics. Consisting of songs that range from autobiographical origins; to telling/advising artist that they need to embrace originality and authenticity in their own musical/lyrical work; to self-evaluation and diagnosing; to tales of the relentless heart and its ability to love.

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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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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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Frank Iero & The Future Violents “Heaven Is A Place, This Is A Place”

Over the course of the past few years, Frank Iero has released quite a lot of solo material under a variety of different monikers and projects. The most recent of those is The Future Violents, and to follow up the project’s 2019 debut LP “Barriers,” Iero has returned with a brand new EP for this project, titled “Heaven Is A Place, This Is A Place.”

The EP kicks off with “Violence,” which opens with a memorable guitar riff before more instrumentals come in to finish out the intro. The first verse begins on a softer note, the darker guitars make the song feel a bit eerier, and the charismatic vocals get to take the reigns leading up to the song’s harder-hitting chorus where the other instruments return. “Sewerwolf” brings dynamic vocal performances in the verses, which are accompanied by the bass and drums leading up to the choruses, which are a lot more aggressive both vocally and instrumentally and easily some of the highlights of this track.

The second half of this release begins with a cover of R.E.M.’s smash hit “Losing My Religion,” and this cover has a much more simplistic beginning led by softer vocals and a ukulele at first. The added vocal harmonies are a nice touch, and the drums help drive the rhythm to make the song much more upbeat when the second first comes in. This song fits Frank’s voice very well, and I feel like it’s one of the stronger tracks on this EP. Another highlight of the EP is its closing track, fittingly titled “Record Ender.” The bass opens the song with a simple riff before more guitars and the drums kick in, and the more laid-back verses consist of softer vocals and instrumentals that build the song up to its much bigger choruses. The added piano was a very nice touch, and the bridge later on contains one of the best vocal performances on the whole EP.

Frank Iero once again showcases his virtuosity as a musician and performer with “Heaven Is A Place, This Is A Place,” an emotive, passion-filled and overall solid EP release from him and The Future Violents.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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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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