Neck Deep rolled through Philly on The Peace and The Panic Tour this past Friday. This 30+ stop North American headlining tour is in support of their chart topping album under the same title. They’re supported by Creeper, Seaway and Speak Low If You Speak Love, a stellar line-up that made perfect sense together and makes this tour one for the books.
Creeper opened the show with an energetic set jam packed with great songs and emotion. The band came across with an authentic aesthetic and mood that perfectly described them without being gimmicky at all. A wonderful balance of genuine lyrics and generally upbeat yet headbang-worthy songs made this set an absolute treat to watch. The fanbase name of “Creeper Cult” was more than well earned as a girl showed off her Creeper jacket and countless others passionately sang the lyrics back to them. The band even changed the last song in their set, closing with “Black Mass” after a zealous man in the front row chanted asking them to play it. This is a band I'll definitely be listening to and hopefully seeing more often in the future.
The Electric Factory was completely packed and the rowdy crowd was more than ready to make this show not only the biggest US headliner Neck Deep has ever played, but also the best. This was the most “Philly” show I’ve ever been to- the excitement of the Eagles playing the Super Bowl for the first time in 14 years could be felt throughout the entire venue and chants of “f*ck Tom Brady!” and “E-A-G-L-E-S Eagles!” broke out periodically.
Neck Deep lead singer Ben Barlow built off of this energy, taking the stage in a “Philadelphia Eagles” shirt and earning extra points in all of our aggressively-dedicated-sports-fan hearts. There were 3 different pits at any given time and everyone from the floor to the balcony was dancing and singing along. Their setlist featured a great balance of new and old songs, hitting everything from their hit single “In Bloom” to older classics like “December.” The vibe at this show was genuinely unparalleled and I’ve found myself listening to all of the bands on the lineup nonstop for the past few days. Thankfully there are still plenty of dates left and you can purchase tickets for upcoming shows here: https://www.neckdeepuk.com/#tour
February 5 - Rochester, NY - Anthology
February 6 - Montreal, QC - Club Soda
February 8 - Toronto, ON - Phoenix Concert Theatre
February 9 - Detroit, MI - The Majestic
February 10 - Cleveland, OH - Agora Theatre
February 12 - Chicago, IL - Concord Music Hall
February 13 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
February 14 - Kansas City, MO - The Truman
February 16 - Denver, CO - The Ogden Theatre
February 17 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Complex
February 18 - Boise, ID - Knitting Factory Concert House
February 20 - Calgary, AB - MacEwan Ballroom
February 21 - Edmonton, AB - Union Hall
February 23 - Vancouver, BC - The Vogue Theatre
February 24 - Seattle, WA - The Showbox
February 25 - Portland, OR - Roseland Ballroom
February 27 - San Francisco, CA - The Regency Ballroom *
February 28 - Los Angeles, CA - The Henry Fonda Theatre *
Rapper Hoodie Allen’s new album is very accurately named The Hype. After the longest break he’s ever taken between album releases, Hoodie is back with one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year. The Hype clearly demonstrates his growth and does more than enough to justify the wait, going back to a more People Keep Talking-esque sound and delivering variety from subtly shady tracks like “Fakin’” to “Know It All,” showing off his stellar vocals and growing confidence in them. This past Friday, The Hype Tour stopped at Union Transfer in Philadelphia.
Opener Myles Parrish and his DJ and brother, Jake, started the show off with a high energy set. From the second he stepped on stage, his happiness was contagious and the crowd was more than ready to vibe with him. His short set still managed to include all of his most popular songs, even including “Trampoline” and “Do My Step” from his former duo Kalin and Myles. During “Tommy Bahama,” Myles encouraged friendly mosh pits, a nod to his multiple lyrics referencing Warped Tour and moshing- while it didn’t quite work out, he did join the front row to sing the last verse. Clear Myles fans were spread throughout the crowd, yelling every word to his songs and following his dance moves. Rapper and singer Luke Christopher took the stage next, starting with the extremely catchy “The Lights.” His strong vocals shown and were perfectly accentuated by his DJ, Cecil, and his backing harmonies. He unfortunately seemed to lose his grasp on the audience as his set went on but overall demonstrated a lot of great potential, especially as this is his first tour.
Intensely flashing lights and the first verse of “Believe” set the stage for Hoodie Allen’s set. The incredibly energetic rapper made the small stage feel huge, bouncing around during the entirety of his set and only slowing down for moments like a short, minimalistic clip of “Overtime.” The setlist was comprised of the perfect balance of new and older songs and did a great job promoting the new album while still catering to long time fans. Hoodie, the jokingly self-proclaimed King of the Fans, let the audience choose multiple songs and truly did everything he could to please everyone (including a wonderfully sped up version of “Fakin’”). While I genuinely love going to rap shows, I’ve found a lot of the performances to be a little lackluster just because of the typical structure of having one person rap over tracks. Hoodie breaks this mold by bringing out an entire band, adding a true live music component that does a lot to set his shows apart. This worked especially well with the pop punk vibes in “All My Friends,” an upbeat song written with State Champs. He closed the show with long-time fan favorite “No Interruption,” leaving the stage only after drenching the crowd in water.
While the US part of this tour just ended, the European leg is right around the corner and kicks off in Dublin, Ireland on the 29th. Find dates and purchase tickets here.
Just a few weeks ago, legendary rock band Kansas released their first new album in 16 years: The Prelude Implicit. To celebrate not only this album but also their 40th anniversary, the band will spend the next few months touring the country on the Leftoverture Tour.
The uniqueness of this tour is apparent from the very beginning of their set. They start with an acoustic portion that lasts 5 songs, really allowing lead singer Ronnie Platt's vocals to shine. Backed by harmonies and soft guitar, this portion of the set was beautifully uncharacteristic of the typical concert format. Their last acoustic song was "Refugee," a powerful track off of their new album that attempts to draw awareness to the thousands of young people affected every year by sexual trafficking. The members left the stage one by one, gearing up to start the first half of set with the full band.
They described this set as "the most ambitious setlist" they've ever played, dividing the set into two parts and playing about a full 2 1/2 hours of music. Their incredible musicianship was clear throughout the entire show and aspects like the live violin really made this show like none other. I could be mistaken but I didn't hear really any tracks being played and it seemed as though almost 100% of the music and instrumentation were actually being played live. The audience was full of people singing excitedly with the occasional concert goer jumping up in a burst of passion. I'm 19 years old so Kansas is before my time and I still enjoyed this show so much I went home and told all of my friends about it. They still have lots of tour dates left so if they're coming near you I HIGHLY recommend picking up tickets!
Remaining tour dates:
10/8 - Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
10/15 - Dallas, TX - Majestic Theater
10/21 - St. Louis, MO - Peabody Opera House
10/22 - Kansas City, MO - Kauffman Center for Performing Arts
10/27 - Indianapolis, IN - Murat Theatre at Old National Centre
10/28 - Detroit, MI - MotorCity Casino
10/30 - Cincinnati, OH - Taft Theatre
11/1 - Akron, OH - Goodyear Theater
11/3 - Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theater
11/4 - Chicago, IL - Copernicus Center
11/6 - Kalamazoo, MI - State Theater
11/11 - Clearwater, FL - Ruth Eckerd Hall
11/12 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Au-Rene Theater at Broward Center for the Performing Arts
11/18 - New Bedford, MA - Zeigerion Theater
11/19 - Huntington, NY - The Paramount
11/25 - Baltimore, MD - The Lyric
11/26 - Boston, MA - Berklee Performance Center
12/1 - Daytona Beach, FL - Peabody Auditorium
Nashville-based singer/songwriter Alexander will be releasing his debut, self-titled EP on August 12. The EP consists of 5 pop songs with strong electronic roots that could all easily fit into Top 40 radio. While the songs maintain a strong pop vibe, Alexander gracefully blends genres and keeps the EP fresh and unique.
The opening track, "Need You To Know" tells the story of someone he just can't seem to let go of... & he likes it that way. The breakdown in the chorus has a vibe reminiscent of that in Justin Bieber's "Sorry," bringing a beat that's easy to dance to and easy to love.
Her released a music video for the second track, "Can't Sleep Without You," on July 18th. The chorus really showcases how strong his vocals are and accentuates them with subtle harmonies. This song is my personal favorite!
The EP gets stripped down quite a bit in the song "Melody of You." This sweet love song uses clever metaphors to describe how he feels. The incorporation of the simple acoustic guitar line is a nice shift from the largely electronic instrumentation present throughout the rest of the EP.
Alexander's upbeat sound spreads positive vibes without coming across as superficial or formulaic. While I don't tend to gravitate towards pop often, I'm really enjoying this EP & I hope you all love it too! Keep an eye on Alexander's social media for updates and download links when it's released in just a couple weeks.
Pierce The Veil kicks off the Misadventures tour TODAY in Los Vegas. At every show, they will be performing their new album Misadventures in its entirety. Supporting them on this incredible and unique tour are California rock bands I The Mighty and Movements.
I had the pleasure of seeing I The Mighty support Hands Like Houses in November and, since then, they've become one of my favorite bands. They bring so much energy to the stage and their style is so unique, I don't know any other band quite like them. I've heard nothing but good things about Pierce The Veil's live performances and I think any time a band decides to play an album all the way through is a treat.
The tour hits Philadelphia on Friday, June 17th. Unfortunately, this show sold out insanely quickly but there are a few resale tickets left. I also recommend searching "selling Pierce the Veil Philly" or something similar on Twitter because people often decide not to go last minute and will sell tickets at or below face value.
If you're not from Philly, check out their other tour dates below. Many of the other shows are also sold out or have very few tickets left so check ticketmaster ASAP if you're interested in going!
Artist Maurice Rush released his debut EP on May 11th, featuring 5 tracks that tell stories with raw emotions and touch on real issues. He has been writing for less than a year but already has an impressive handle on the balance between creating great music and using his lyrics as a platform for change. Despite having to endure rough times and encountering struggles that made him consider quitting, Maurice has continued to push forward and is excited to share his first EP with the world.
The first song is titled "Young", starting off with a catchy piano motif that continues throughout the rest of the song. In this song, Rush reminisces about some of the best memories of his life and talks about how important enjoying life is.
The same piano style featured in "Young" is also present in the song "We'll Be Better". It starts off with Rush speaking about how he attempts to use his music to tell the truth and to speak about what other artists aren't willing to. My favorite lyric in this song is "be the change you want to see." I really appreciate how he weaves the theme of being true to yourself into virtually every song on this EP.
My personal favorite is the song "Transcendence" where Rush treats the listeners to wisdom that is far beyond his years. The lyrics in this song also speak about being the change that you want to see, touching on issues such as police brutality and poverty.
The lyrics throughout this entire EP are very powerful and thought provoking. This is an excellent debut EP and clearly demonstrates Rush's talent not only vocally but also as a lyricist. Props to him for tackling touchy subjects and for writing about serious things rather than just making lighthearted, feel-good songs.
2. We'll Be Better
Find him on Facebook / Soundcloud: Maurice Rush
The Life Electric is back (and better than ever, of course!) after a 3 year silence since the release of their Calico EP. The Boston 5-piece released their 11-track album The Real You on March 25th. The album is a lovely mix of gritty alternative tracks with a few ballads artfully sprinkled in.
The opening track “Gone, Gone, Gone” sets the tone for the rest of the album, giving listeners a riff driven, up-tempo song to head bob to. Up next is “Call It Karma,” one of my personal favorites largely due to the introduction of piano. This song has attitude that makes it even easier to groove to, telling the story of a relationship that ended and the consequences that come with this ending. Even though the lyrics are about bad karma, this song certainly sounds like good karma to me.
“The Real You,” the title track, is one of the most pop-influenced songs on the album, incorporating a good amount of synth and treating us to a melodic chorus about being yourself even when life gets tough.
The songs up next introduce a different vibe to the album with the feel of the songs changing from upbeat to more ballad-like. My favorite of these slower tracks is definitely “Innocence,” another track involving lots of piano. This song really showcases Joey Chehade’s vocals, giving him a chance to demonstrate his control and how expressive he can be.
The last song on the album, “A Ghost,” is also one of the strongest. It starts off with acoustic guitar and gradually builds up the instrumentation while keeping a slower tempo. This song is about watching a loved one struggle with addiction and giving up on them despite not wanting to.
Overall, The Real You is very well put together. It crosses genre lines while still maintaining a grooving, alternative rock vibe. I would highly recommend this album to anyone looking for a unique alt-rock album!
The Bergamot, an indie rock husband and wife duo from Brooklyn, New York, released their latest album Tones on February 11th. Tones is a wonderfully innovative album with a classic indie vibe, showcasing both member’s vocals and accentuating heartfelt lyrics with lots of guitar and a wide range of other instruments. As someone who is usually prone to choosing a hard-rock band over an indie/alternative group, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself turning on tracks from this album again and again.
The opening track “Forget About Tomorrow” perfectly introduces the positive vibe that continues throughout the rest of the album. This catchy track features Nathaniel’s vocals in the forefront with a nice balance of harmonies provided by Jillian.
The second song on the album and the title track, “Tones,” is my personal favorite. This song poses a critique of society’s use of media. Lyrics such as “all of these tones ringing in your head” and “stop texting when we’re talking” draw attention to our constant use of technology. It makes the listener really think about their use of technology and how it’s preventing us from really living in and enjoying the present while still keeping an upbeat mood.
Next up is “Burst Out,” a song that really showcases Jillian’s vocals. Her beautiful vocals are controlled while still highlighting the raw emotion that should come with lyrics like these. The song tells the of the struggles they’re faced with while on the road, accentuating the often solemn lyrics with a wonderful orchestral arrangement. This one is a close second for my favorite.
Skipping ahead to the 7th track, “School Notes,” an adorable song that essentially tells the story of how Jillian and Nathaniel fell in love. Every time I’ve listened to this song, it has immediately put me in a better mood. While this song also highlights Jillian’s wonderful vocals, the instruments really stood out to me. The track starts off with a gentle acoustic guitar in the background, slowly adding in other instruments such as piano, bits of percussion and quite a bit of violin.
The last track that really stood out to me was “Money Honey,” an upbeat track featuring loads of guitar and a super catchy chorus. Overall, I really enjoyed this album and would recommend it to fans of Indie music looking for new music to listen to. The upbeat vibe, fantastic instrumentation and high quality vocals made it a very enjoyable listen.
Less than 2 weeks ago, on October 15th, I attended the AP Tour featuring As It Is, This Wild Life, Real Friends and Mayday Parade. The show was at one of Philly’s most popular GA venues, The Electric Factory. First of all, I’d like to say that this is one of my favorite tour line-ups ever. The bands work together very well but all have their own distinct sounds. Also, I will upload photos from this show as soon as possible! I have had some issues with my photo editing software but am working to get it fixed now.
The first band was As It Is. I also saw them on last summer’s Warped Tour and this pop punk band always puts on a great show. Lead singer Patty Walters is small, super cute and super energetic. While Patty seems to be best known for his Youtube videos, his passion for music is clearly shown in his performances. Their setlist consisted of mostly (or maybe all) songs from their newest album, Never Happy, Ever After. They played songs such as Cheap Shots & Setbacks, Can’t Save Myself and crowd favorite Dial Tones. Although they were the openers, they were no strangers to the crowd and were very well received. I thoroughly enjoyed their and hope they return to Philly to play a longer set soon.
As I consider the pop-punk duo This Wild Life one of my favorite bands, I was excited to see them again. Their set was very similar to the songs they played on Warped since they haven’t released new music since then, but it was still a treat. They sound virtually exactly the same live as they do recorded, which is extremely rare. They have true talent and the simplicity of their songs allows them to showcase Kevin Jordan’s voice and both Kevin and Anthony DelGrosso’s guitar. Their set included songs such as Puppy Love, which Kevin jokingly introduces as a love song only to reveal it’s really about his dog, Concrete and, my personal favorite, History. They successfully play a very energetic and entertaining set, destroying the notion that acoustic sets are boring.
A friend of mine who has been to multiple Real Friends shows informed me that the crowd may get a bit intense during their set. At first I didn’t believe her as I tend to associate rowdy crowds with bands that have heavier styles than Real Friends, but she was right. Their set seemed to have the most crowd surfers and the crowd had a very high level of energy. This Chicago pop punk band has a strong connection with the audience due to both their talent and their relatable lyrics. Lead singer Dan Lambton has a wonderfully gritty voice that translates well into live performances and guitarist The band conveyed a lot of emotion in their set and came across as very genuine. They started their set with Cover You Up and finished with Summer.
Pop rock band Mayday Parade is headlining the tour. The band has been together for about a decade and recently released their fifth studio album, Black Lines. My first impression was of their beautiful stage set up with lots of intricate lights and smoke. They came out to the song One of Them Will Destroy the Other, with Dan of Real Friends joining them onstage. The two bands coming together was fantastic and I’m glad they used this tour as an opportunity to play the song live. Their set also included songs such as Jaime All Over, Keep in Mind, Transmogrification Is a New Technology, the live debut of Just Out of Reach, and the long time favorite Oh Well, Oh Well. The timing of the tour seemed a little too early for fans to know the songs as the album was just released and production issues prevented many from receiving their album before the show, but they did play a nice balance of older and new songs. The crowd was very excited to see Mayday, so excited that it almost seemed as if the entire audience was made up of dedicated fans. During older songs, it felt like every person in the crowd was singing every lyric. They finished their set (before the encore) with a piano rendition of Miserable At Best where Derek left the stage before the end of the song, allowing the beautiful collective voice of the crowd to finish the last verse.
Overall, I was very pleased with not only the tour line-up itself but also with the performance of each individual band. The night was filled with great music and lots of talent. The crowd responded very well to every band, starting the show with lots of energy and keeping that same level of excitement up throughout the night. I highly recommend attending this tour! There's still well over half of the tour left so check out the remaining cities and purchase tickets HERE (a few shows even have a few VIP packages left).