Kansas @ Merriam Theater 10/01

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

Alexander- Self-Titled Debut EP Review

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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. 

 

Tracklist 

1. Need You To Know

2. Can't Sleep Without You

3. Comin' For You

4. Melody Of You

5. Hush Hush

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alxandermusic

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/alxandermusic

Instagram:  www.alxandermusic.com

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/c/Alexandermusicvideos

I The Mighty with Pierce The Veil @ TLA, 6/17/16

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! 

Maurice Rush- The New Generation EP

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. 

Tracklist

1. Young

2. We'll Be Better

3. Hero

4. Choosing

5. Transcendence

Listen to the EP here

Find him on Facebook / Soundcloud: Maurice Rush

Instagram: Mauricerush_newgeneration

 

The Life Electric- The Real You

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!

 

Listen Here

 

 

The Bergamot- Tones

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.

The AP Tour 10/15/15

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). 

Intergalactix Show Preview: October 31st @ World Cafe Live

Sydney, Australia's "indie electro funk" duo Intergalactix is playing Philly in just a few weeks! They will be at World Cafe Live on Halloween, Saturday, October 31.  Tickets for this all ages show can be purchased HERE for just $14. Read their answers to our questions below to get to know the duo, get a better feel for their music and get a preview of what you can expect to see on this tour! 

How would you describe your sound?


Kristian: We like to call it indie electro funk. It definitely has an underlying funk pocket driven mainly from the guitar and bass. We color that foundation with analogue synths that have hints of New Wave and Minneapolis funk. Vocally it's very "Indie" which is a weird word but I think most people get what that means.

What are some of the most prominent features of your music?


Kristian: I think the vocals and New Wave synths are definitely a point of difference and help pair us well with indie electronic bands on tours and festivals. Basically it's a fusion of a lot of things and we like to keep it open to grow but we know we definitely have a particular sound that is our own. 

 How does your EP “S.T.S - R.N.D” differ from your prior release “I.W.S.O.M”? 


Serg: With the new EP, we were more selective with the song choices and wanted to make it more uptempo and something you can connect with instantly. You can definitely hear some of our influences come through on these new songs. We definitely have fun with these songs live and we wanted to express that feeling through the music.

What are you favorite aspects of the new EP? 


Kristian: I think this release definitely brings out our funkier edge, where our first EP showcases more of our Indie Electro side. I think these two singles definitely define our sound as a whole and both tracks have the right combination of all our influences. 

What can fans look forward to seeing on this tour? 

Kristian: Flashing bright lights and UFO excerpts as well and some impromptu jams with Strange Talk lol. We've changed up the live show quite a bit, we've integrated percussion and some lights to our synths which has really added a new energy to the set. Without giving too much away this is a really different show for us and we are really excited about sharing it with everyone that comes out to the shows. We've played 5 shows so far and they've all been unique experiences. I'm sure the set will continue to grow as the tour progresses. 

What songs are you most excited to play?


Serg: We're really digging playing some really new tracks that we've written called "The Now", "All I Got To Say" and "1995". "Something To Say" (our new single) is definitely one of our favorites as it feels great and we have a lot of fun musically with it. On this tour we've introduced a remix of one of our favorite songs from one of our favorite bands. "Shout" by Tears For Fears. This is so much fun to play and we've definitely remixed it to fit our style and sound. 

Will the setlist be primarily songs off the new EP? 


Kristian: It's going to feature the new songs primarily but there's definitely some I.W.S.O.M tracks in there to balance it out. We also have a few brand new tracks that we've never played before and they are going over great at shows which is a good testing ground for us. 

Anything special planned for the Philly date since it’s on Halloween? 


Serg: Philly's going to be one big party! We love playing in Philly and have a lot of friends there and we met a whole bunch of new friends from Philly when we played the Firefly Music Festival in June this year. Our last show at the Milk Boy was killer and we're planning on making this one even bigger and plus it's Halloween so anything can happen! 

Northernmost- Pinedale

Massachusetts reverb rock band Northernmost has been together since early 2014. Despite facing struggles in previous bands and having difficulty finding permanent band members, Northernmost is here to stay. On May 1st, 2014, the band released their debut self-titled EP, featuring tracks such as the perfectly angst-filled Fighting in My Sleep and the calming Taylor. The band’s latest release further proves how underrated they are.

On September 18, 2015, Northernmost released their Pinedale EP. The 5 song EP is characterized by beautiful guitar, illustrative lyrics and a soft, flowing melodies. It’s the type of EP that makes you want to go on a 5 hour road trip and play it on repeat the entire ride.

The EP opens with a softer song titled “Greenbrier.” This song is my personal favorite, not only because of the clean guitar, but also because of the lovely harmonies that strengthen the chorus. The emotional lyrics and vocals make this mellow track relatable and enjoyable.

“Greenbrier” is followed by “Milo.” The same harmonies, guitar work and emotion that characterized the first song are also very prominent features in this one. “Milo” is a little less calm and a little grungier, with a bit more harshness in the vocals and a more present bass line. Skipping ahead a bit, the 4th track “Afterglow” features the heaviest guitar and drums.

“Cloudy” is the third and one of the more melodically uplifting songs on the EP. In oversimplified terms, it tells the story of not wanting to let go of someone, conveying senses of desperation and worry in the lyrics. The last track on the album tell this same story but, by stripping it down to an acoustic version, makes it sound much sadder.

Overall, this is a very successful EP. I would recommend it to listeners of bands like Brand New and those who are looking for a more chill genre of rock. I’m excited to see what else Northernmost has in store and I hope they get some well deserved recognition. 

We Came As Romans 10/4/14

We Came As Romans hit Indianapolis on October 4th as part of their Tracing Back Roots tour. Joining them were PalisadesThe Color Morale and For Today.

Palisades warmed up the crowd with a typical opener setlist length of about 5 songs. I enjoyed their set but I didn’t really think it was memorable- none of their songs really stood out to me. Their drummer, Aaron Rosa, was definitely a stand out though. He had a huge smile on his face for the majority of the show and was just radiating good vibes. The Color Morale played about the same amount of time as Palisades, but their set resonated with me a bit more. Garret Rapp has great vocals and just seems like a genuinely good person. They closed with “Strange Comfort” which I absolutely love; well written and well performed. I’ll have to give both them another chance, I have a strong feeling I’d appreciate them more if I knew their music better.

The crowd was especially rowdy during For Today- their energy was unparalleled. They started strong with “Break the Cycle” and kept the same level up throughout their entire set. I’m really into Sam’s driving guitar and the strong contrast between Mattie’s screaming and clean vocals. Many bands have similar vocalist, but what makes Mattie stand out is how well he has mastered both vocal styles. The messages in their songs are inspiring. I constantly find myself using Mattie’s preaching as an example of why you should listen to the message in songs rather than jumping to conclusions and assuming, 99% of the time very wrongfully, that metalcore is hateful and/or demonic. They played a great set, I almost wish they had played longer.

This is my third time seeing We Came As Romans, but my first time seeing them as headliners. While I loved Mattie’s solo vocals, I also really enjoy having both Kyle and Dave as vocalist. The complexity of their songs is really enhanced by the duo. Their setlist was probably the best grouping of songs I’ve seen to date. They weren’t missing a single one of my favorites and, even though it was the Tracing Back Roots tour, they included a nice balance of older songs along with songs off of Tracing Back Roots. The intensity of Joshua’s guitar in the intro to Mis//Understanding has made it into one of my all time favorite songs and their live performance of it did not disappoint. Regardless of having 6 band members, everyone is allowed to shine and all of their personalities show through while they’re performing. I really appreciate the messages of hope and brotherhood these guys are constantly delivering. I really have nothing even slightly negative to say- it was definitely a great set, they never fail to impress.  

By the end of For Today’s set, I was more focused on remaining standing than on the music, but I can truthfully say that I had a great time. Looking at the faces of people standing near me, it was clear that a number of them were upset, but that’s just what you have to deal with when you’re attending a “post-hardcore concert”, if you will: there will be mosh pits, people will be jumping and you will have virtually no personal space. That’s something that I can tolerate and have actually come to enjoy, especially since it’s only for one night (or afternoon/evening in this case). It was a very enjoyable show and I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up seeing at least one of these bands again.