Calum Hood and Luke Hemmings from 5SOS / Photo by me

Since 2015, I have attended at least 10 live music shows a year. February of 2018 I had five concerts planned with two the final week. I may have only ended up going to three of them but that is besides the point. At the beginning of 2020, I was feeling that this year might be a repeat of 2018. I was obviously very wrong. Live music has been a part of my life since before I was born. My parents were so immersed in the scene that my mother went to a Black Sabbath concert while she was pregnant with me. So when I say before I was born, I mean it literally. After my first concert in 2013, I knew live music would be my home and I would never let it go. I never expected that I would have to go an entire year without it.

Caleb Shomo from Beartooth / Photo by me

I started this year with Set It Off and the Motionless In White and Beartooth co-headline tour, I was set to follow that up with Bad Omens and Thousand Below in early March, which we all know is when everything came to a halt. I was shocked and incredibly saddened by the news that I wouldn’t be seeing Thousand Below again this year. That soon became that I wouldn’t be seeing any artist again this year. So I started some side projects to try to keep my mind off the issue. Yet, I was always thinking about how terrible I felt not being able to go to a concert. However, I have been racking my brain to find something positive to take from this year, find something that we could use to grow from. After a lot of considering, I think I have found it.

Brian Van B photographing Thousand Below / photo by me

Live music is not only a place for us, but a place for the artists, crew, and venue staff. We love concerts and we love the environment it allows us to be a part of. I think a lot of us failed to realize that we wouldn’t have our home without the crew and staff involved. When their lives and careers were ripped out from under them, we had to step up too. We’ve probably bought more merch than we ever have before, we’ve tuned into live stream shows and twitch streams, we’ve purchased music after years of focusing on streaming, we have even made donations to venue funds to keep places afloat. This year has made me and hopefully some others understand what it really means when we hear “music is a give and take”. As fans, it was often overlooked that we were meant to give too. We would go to shows and buy merchandise before but it was something we also got enjoyment out of. This year we had to step up and help the artists and crew that help us so much during normal times.

So, my hopes for live music in 2021? Well, I hope we can get back to seeing live music. I also hope that we tip a little bit more at merch, we don’t complain too much about some technical difficulties, we always show up early for the opener, we make friends with everyone around us (even if they may be tossing us around the pit later), and we never again take this experience for granted. Live music truly is a give and take, this year has taught us that. I hope that after we get back to some sense of normal, we are giving more than we have been before and doing it because we realize we need to.

James DeBerg from Thousand Below / photo by me

I miss live music more than anything in the entire world, I know we all do. So when we get back to jamming together in a crowded and dark venue I am sure we will all be screaming a little louder and buying a little more merch. Until then, we’ll keep making amazing friends on twitter who all want the same thing, keep buying merch and livestream tickets, and keep holding on for the day we get together again.

Stay entertained!

I am so happy to finally be able to write this post, because that means this mess of a year is almost over. I decided to combine albums and EP’s because there were so so so many amazing EP’s that dropped this year. Most of these could be swapped around and still fit my opinions on them but I made myself rank them. Here are my releases of the year! I know Beartooth released the remastered version of Aggressive last night but I’m still not over how amazing it sounds to talk about it on this level.

*Honorable Mentions are not ranked in any particular order*

Honorable Mention: The Amity Affliction Everyone Loves You…Once You Leave Them

Songs: “Baltimore Rain” “Fever Dream” “Soak Me In Bleach”

  • It was really hard to not have this one as my third place album. This is such an emotional album and Amity is known for that. The breakdowns in these songs are amazing, the lyrics hit you in the gut, and I have always been a fan of Joel and Ahren’s vocals. This is a great album front to back and I will always enjoy it.

Honorable Mention: HAWK, Tolerance’s Paradox

Songs: “Alibi” “Clvrmfkr” “Milage”

  • I am a huge fan of Ice Nine Kills and Ricky is one hell of an entertaining person in general, so I have been a fan of HAWK since they started putting out music. This is such a well put together EP and these songs are all so intense, I am eager to finally get to see HAWK play live. I love this EP and cannot wait to hear more amazing tunes from the group.

Honorable Mention: Yungblud, Weird!

Song: “god save me, but don’t drown me out” “ice cream man” “charity”

  • I’ll link my review to this album right here, but it deserves a spot in the releases of the year for so many reasons. Yungblud is such an important artist and this album is incredibly genuine and true. I enjoyed it a lot and think it’s a solid and unique record. For more of my thoughts you can check out my review of it!

3rd Place: Boston Manor, Glue

Songs: “Brand New Kids” “Stuck In The Mud” “Monolith”

  • This album is absolutely incredible. Boston Manor has one of the most unique sounds in this scene of music and I wish more people knew about them. They create amazingly deep and interesting songs in tons of intriguing ways. This album has songs that are eerie, songs that are fast and harsh, and songs that make you want to sit in a corner and cry. Henry’s voice isn’t similar to anyone else’s in the scene right now and he knows how to make so many different vibes and sounds out of every song he creates. Plus they are amazing live so I am always eager to hear new music from them. I love it and I’m sure anyone who has listened to it does too.

2nd Place: Ozzy Osbourne, Ordinary Man

Songs: “Today Is The End” “All My Life” “Goodbye”

  • I think this album is a great culmination of the sounds that Ozzy is capable of. I was very close to putting this album in the number one spot, as it could easily fit there as well. These songs are true to Ozzy and his character. The fact that he is still wanting to tour and still putting out music after everything he has gone through in his life, this album being as amazing as it is creates a true sense of who he really is. There are songs on here that remind me of No Rest For The Wicked and others that take me back to Black Sabbath days. Ozzy is one of, if not the most influential rock musician still with us today. The fact that we are still getting amazing music from him is truly a gift. I will always take it and will always appreciate it.

1st Place: All Time Low, Wake Up, Sunshine

Songs: “Melancholy Kaleidoscope” “Glitter and Crimson” “January Gloom”

  • This is the one album this year that I fully love every single song on. I found absolutely no flaws in this album and the songs stuck with me both musically and lyrically. This album dropped at a very rough point in my life, and “Melancholy Kaleidoscope” was the first song that I really connected to and my connection to it and the rest of the album has only grown stronger over time. “Can’t be 100 if you’re only giving 95” was something very simple, very obvious to most, but it hit me like a truck. It was a big wake up call for me. Musically, this album is flawless, all the songs are well constructed and get stuck in your head instantly. I will always love this album and I will always stand by the statement that this is the best album the band has put out to date.

What are your releases of the year? Let me know on twitter @/justmenat_ and if you want to hear all of my albums of the year in one place (even the ones that didn’t make the list) check out this spotify playlist!

Stay entertained!

The album starts off a little slower…but only for a couple verses and then we know Yungblud is here and he has a lot to say.

Yungblud has proven through his activism, lyricism, and vocal techniques to be one of the most influential up and coming artists of all time and a key figure in shaping this generation of musicians and fans. His connection to his fanbase is unbreakable and true, with many songs on “Weird!” coming directly from experiences with fans and his fanbase as a whole. Musically, this album covers all sounds and genres while simultaneously never conforming to a solid definition of one. There are twists and turns in every song and through the track list listeners are taken on a journey through emotions, be those happy, sad, loving, or “I want to flail around in a punk pit RIGHT. NOW.”

This album is one of the most raw and real records I have ever heard. In my entire life. It is an open book into the struggles within yourself, within those around you, and within life itself. Songs like “cotton candy” and “strawberry lipstick” are anthems for self-expression and acceptance. Yungblud is very open about his sexuality and expression which is something incredibly valuable. His fans are able to see themselves in him and begin to feel more comfortable with themselves through his music, especially these tunes. “mars”, “teresa” and “love song” are moments more than a song, to which we can hold onto and find comfort in. “quiet in beverly hills” gives us all a real look into Yungblud as a person and what he values in his art and himself. This is vital and incredibly refreshing to see from an artist these days.

“god save me, but don’t drown me out” knocked the wind out of me. Life has not been easy for anyone recently, myself included. This song was a perfect way to sum up everything I think I have been needing to hear and I definitely had a bit of a breakdown over it. I can tell that this song will always have a place with me and I am certain it will always have a place with all that listen to it.

This album front to back is creative, authentic, loving, and thorough. Not to mention musically intricate, vast, and enticing. Yungblud has become a voice for people in this generation who are finding themselves and looking for a new way to be who they want to be. His music and his artistry is impeccable and uniquely his own. “Weird!” as an album is a calling card to all people struggling with their feelings, but in a full spectrum of the good, the bad, and well, the “weird”. Overall, I think this may be one of my favorite records of all time, and it is definitely one of my favorites of 2020. If anything made this hell of a year livable, it’s this album.

Hey guys! I hope all your holiday events went well and lots of love was shared! Back to your regularly scheduled posting!

Everyone has the albums that made their year and the albums that made their decade. While that was originally what I had planned to make this post, I decided that there were certain songs, artists, albums, and aspects that should be highlighted as big parts of the decade for me as well…and why not have some fun with it?
All Time Low: My first concert in the alt-rock/lesser-known rock scene and my first GA show. The guys in All Time Low and the music they provided are so important to my musical preferences and my life today.


Breakdowns: This decade has brought us SO MANY amazing breakdowns, here are some of my favorites.

  • A Day To Remember “Resentment” (2:35)
  • Bring Me The Horizon “House Of Wolves” (1:47)
  • Ice Nine Kills “Thank God It’s Friday” (2:39) and “Me Myself and Hyde” (2:54)
  • Beartooth “Used and Abused” (2:18) and “Censored” (2:34)
  • I Prevail “Deadweight” (2:14) and “Come And Get It” (2:13)
  • Motionless in White “Thoughts & Prayers” (2:22) , “Disguise” (2:22) , and “Soft” (2:07)

Covers: Who DOESN’T love a good helping of Punk Goes Pop? Some of the most memorable covers include…

  • Beartooth “Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones
  • A Day To Remember “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson
  • Ice Nine Kills “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)” by Green Day
  • I Prevail “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift
  • Hands Like Houses “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia

Disease: When Beartooth dropped this record it sort of solidified them as my favorite band of all time. The raw emotion, the intensity of the tunes, the heart, and soul that Caleb Shomo poured into every song, makes for one of the best and most important albums of the decade in general. This album is also one of the most important albums to me personally as well. If anyone needs some music to relate to during hard times, give Disease a listen.


Entertainment: “Rare”, “11:11”, “Crybaby”, “Not Warriors”, LITERALLY the entire album is beautifully written and produced. These songs create a feeling of true love and heartbreak and even make you wanna punch some people in a pit…and by that I mean “Tantrum”…its a bop.

Waterparks_Entertainment_cover_3000-1024x1024

Features: There are few things cooler than hearing an artist that you love chime in on a song from another artist that you love. Here are my favorites from this decade

  • Tonight Alive ft. Corey Taylor, “My Underworld”
  • All Time Low ft. Joel Madden of Good Charlotte, “Bail Me Out”
  • Simple Plan ft. Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low, “Freaking Me Out”
  • Pierce The Veil ft. Jeremy McKinnon of A Day To Remember, “Caraphernelia” (This one is better than “King For A Day” and I will argue that to my dying day.)
  • Neck Deep ft. Sam Carter of Architects, “Don’t Wait”
  • Ice Nine Kills ft. JR. Wasilewski and Buddy Schaub of Less than Jake and Will Salazar of Finix TX, “IT Is The End”

Gone In Your Wake: Thousand Below is one of the best up and coming bands out there right now and this record solidifies that. The songs are catchy, intense and all-around amazing.

Screen Shot 2020-01-01 at 3.49.32 PM

Headspace: I am not really a fan of issues anymore, but this album will always be a 10/10 record. The bass is so fun on it and Tyler Carter really shines on the vocals in many of the songs. It’s a fun listen for sure.

8d85d36ccdd2af51b011b19aae994b4e

Ice Nine Kills: This band is one of the most, if not THE most, creative bands in existence. If you guys know of a band that can put together an entire record based on books and then follow that up with an entire record based on movies and then put on the same intense shows that these guys do…please inform me of them.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Justified”: When A Day To Remember released Bad Vibrations, I knew the album would have its place in history. It is easily the most diverse and well put together album that the band has created and it brings in EVERY aspect of them as a group. “Justified” makes that album what it is. It’s intense, it’s emotional, it’s really the backbone of the record.

Keep Your American Dream”: I really don’t have anything to say about this song, other than it is probably the best song on Disgusting and I seriously want to mosh to it. I never mosh. It’s that good.

Screen Shot 2020-01-01 at 4.18.59 PM

Lyrical genius: There are so many songs that I could highlight for this but this decade brought some of the most emotional and well-written songs. From tunes like “Clever” by Beartooth to songs like “And The Snakes Start To Sing” by Bring Me The Horizon, listeners were able to hear wordsmithing at it’s peak. The intense music behind the words was great too.
Motionless In White: Motionless In White OWNED 2019. They put out the album of the year and did extensive touring before the album even dropped, then they booked a co-headline with Beartooth to kickoff 2020. Plus they put on amazing shows throughout the decade and totally made themselves icons of the scene.


Neck Deep: The Peace and The Panic was easily one of the best albums of the decade and this bad seriously reinvigorated pop-punk. I sadly haven’t had the chance to see them yet but they’re on my list and very high on it too.

Overthinking”: Coming from the band’s most recent record “Anon.”, this song is easily one of the most important songs of the decade and creates such a unique mix of Jazz and Blues sounding guitar riffs with musical techniques that tie the song to this scene of Rock. It truly is a masterpiece.
Photography: I have been able to grow tremendously in my photography skills this decade and most of that growth has come from this past year. I had the opportunities to photograph The Wrecks, Thousand Below and Waterparks professionally this decade and had so many other great shots taken straight from my phone. Anyone can achieve great shots, all you have to do is try!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Quitting: I couldn’t think of a word for Q and I know that while many members didn’t necessarily “quit” their bands, this decade had a lot of hiatuses and switching of members. Most recently My Chemical Romance ended their hiatus and Black Veil Brides parted ways with bassist Ashley Purdy. There were many others but I won’t list them all!
Revolution Radio: This solidifies that Green Day wins this decade. It was never debated that this group of guys weren’t afraid to make a statement when there was one to be made. Revolution Radio is just the statement that this decade needed and deserved. Plus the album is full of absolute bangers and the tour was INSANE.

Screen Shot 2020-01-01 at 4.02.03 PM

Set It Off: This decade brought me to one of my favorite bands of all time. Set It Off has been a huge part of my life for the last five years and I have made so many good memories with them and appreciate them and their music dearly.


Tours: I was able to experience SO many good tours this year and I am certain that they all did well.

  • Shinedown “Attention Attention” tour with Papa Roach and Asking Alexandria
  • Papa Roach “Who Do You Trust?” tour with Asking Alexandria and Bad Wolves
  • Set It Off “Midnight World Tour pt 2” with Emarosa, Broadside, and Selfish Things
  • A Day To Remember “Degenerates” tour with I Prevail, Beartooth, and Can’t Swim
  • Green Day “Revolution Radio” tour with Catfish and The Bottlemen
  • The Rolling Stones “Zipcode” tour with Ed Sheeran

Unopened Windows”: Cody Carson seems to know how to write a song that gets me right in the feels no matter how many times I listen to it. This song means so much to me and it has gotten me through so many rough nights and continues to do so. My heart goes out to Cody and the boys in Set It Off, as it always does.

Vessel: This album is easily the best album Twenty One Pilots have put out to date. Songs on the album are iconic and all-around amazing. House of Gold and Trees are the two that stick out to me most. My favorite, however, would have to be Guns For Hands.

Screen Shot 2020-01-01 at 3.58.41 PM

Warped Tour: There is no denying that the ending of Warped Tour was a defining moment in music for this decade. Warped Tour was the biggest platform for exposure that this scene had and it allowed for thousands to be brought together in one place for a day of acceptance and fun. This tour was a huge relief for kids and will be missed dearly.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

X: Okay so does anyone ever have anything for “X” when they do this stuff? No? Cool, because neither do I.

Youngblood: 5 Seconds Of Summer have been a part of my life for almost the entire decade. So when I finally found my way back to them with this album I was thrilled with the way it sounded and the new sides it brought out. I absolutely adore this album and this band!

Zero”: When Crown The Empire dropped Retrograde, saying I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. This is easily the best song on that album and I will always love it.

Not that these guys need any sort of introduction now, but I recently had the chance to see them again, and I feel that talking about them is pretty necessary.

IMG_20191116_200635

In 2013 I was totally head over heels for One Direction, but what 13-year-old girl wasn’t at that time? I was lucky enough to have a set of tickets for their Take Me Home tour with 5 Seconds of Summer as the opener. I did what any person does (or at least should do) and looked into them since I would be seeing them live. I was immediately hooked. I ended up being a bigger fan of them than I was of One Direction by the time the show rolled around. I’ve had a place for them in my heart and playlists since.

IMG_20191116_202317

When looking at the band from 2013 to now, it is honestly crazy to me to see how they’ve grown. First off, they had such a garage pop-punk vibe when they first started. It was almost like Luke wanted to BE Alex Gaskarth from All Time Low. They were energetic and young and new on the scene, but that didn’t slow them down one bit. Not much has changed in 2019, they’re still the energetic and fun-loving dudes that they were before but with slightly less heavy accents. They’ve also found their new sound and have become probably a staple fusion of pop and rock. While I am someone who tends to enjoy heavier music, I can easily say that there isn’t a song 5SOS have that I can’t enjoy. Seeing the band live again was something I never thought I would get to do. I was in the very back of the arena in 2013 and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to truly enjoy the performance from that far away. They proved me wrong. I was drawn into their performance then and I was drawn into it the same way when I was right in front of them this time.

 

When I got the chance to go to this show, it was really eye-opening for me. I sat back and considered all that this band has done for me. I wouldn’t be in the position that I am without the music that I listen to, and I wouldn’t have found the music that I listen to without 5SOS. When they wrote with Alex from All Time Low, I looked into All Time Low. They did a song with Vic Fuentes of Pierce the Veil, and so on and so forth with features on songs. That was the spiral into music. It all started with a small group of dudes from Australia, and I couldn’t be more thankful for them.

 

Until next time…

 

While I may listen to mostly metal, Waterparks have a special place in my heart. I was able to take photos of them this time and while that was an experience in itself this was the biggest headline that I have seen them play and I absolutely loved everything about it. This post will be a bit heavier on the photos but if you want to see all the photos I took head to my Flickr which can be found on my home page menu!

First, the show opened with D’Wayne Jackson, who has toured with the band previously. I absolutely love the energy that D’Wayne gives the crowd and he truly puts his all into performing. He has a very bright future in performing. Plus, damn can this man DANCE!

Then Kitten took the stage and absolutely CRUSHED it. From the stage to the barricade, to securities shoulders and finally, to the rafters, Chloe Chaidez was an absolute firecracker. With energetic songs and even covers, they covered Sk8r Girl…come on…they win, Kitten knows how to party. I can easily say that Chloe is one of the best lead singers out there right now and I am so glad that I got introduced to them through their live show first.

Finally, we have Waterparks. They always put on a fun show and are some of the nicest guys around. They always know how to create a tour that is fun for everyone and interact with the crowd so much. This was also the first show that I saw them where they had a video wall and their production/packages for that were mesmerizing. For the band themselves, Awsten is definitely a character and I have never left a show without laughing at least 12 times. Plus the band’s chemistry is absolutely adorable and you can tell that they really are the best of friends, no matter what they say about each other in Q&A’s. They’re close with each other and with their fans, which makes for an experience and atmosphere that can only be found at their shows and should be experienced by everyone.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

More photos are up on my Flickr if you are interested in looking further!

 

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

I know that I talk about Thousand Below quite a bit, but since they’re one of my favorite artists out there at the moment it doesn’t make sense for me to not post a review of their most recent record.

The band’s sophomore album “Gone In Your Wake” was released about a month ago. The record follows “The Love You Let Too Close” which the band toured for a couple years, so you could say it had a lasting effect and I can assure you, this new record will too.

 

1. Chemical: This was the first single that the band released for the album and I was excited to say the least. It’s quite the tune to start out with and starts the album with a bang. The chorus is really fun and the art for the single is incredible.

2. Disassociate: This was the second single the band released and probably the hardest song on this album. This tune is an absolute banger and is so fun to hear and experience live. When I saw the band perform it, I could tell that this one was the song that really got the crowd started and brought the energy up. Plus the chorus is incredible.

3. Fake Smile: Hearing this song for the first time had me in tears. We can all, and I mean everyone, can relate to this song somehow. The feeling of having someone they thought they could trust only to have that person begin to make them feel like they aren’t able to be themselves. I think that this song’s message is important and to add to that it gets stuck in your head so easily.

4. Alone (Out of My Head): When I saw Thousand Below recently they played this song before it had been released and it immediately made me stop taking photos and just listen and watch. Then they released the video for it the day before the record dropped and I was hooked. This is by far my favorite track on the album and quite possibly one of my favorite songs ever. The chorus is so catchy and the song overall is something that anyone can relate to in certain times. The song is beautiful lyrically and musically. There are very few songs that I would call flawless but this is one. I can’t find a single thing about it that I don’t love.

5. The Edge Of Your Bed: Feels. All of the feels. But seriously, this is one of the more emotional songs on the album and it really puts the band in perspective for me and hopefully for others as well. This song is a perfect example of how James focuses on the reality of hard times that he has gone through, which allows for the songs and lyrics to resonate with people easier and that is something I respect with any artist. This song also features Michael McGough of Being As An Ocean. His vocals are incredibly smooth and add another dimension to the song, especially since they lead into a harsh replay of the chorus which up until this point had been done softly.

6. Vanish: I think that this is going to be a really interesting song for them to play live if they chose to do so. The chorus is definitely one for crowd involvement and I think that the energy the band has mixed with the energy of the song would really bring a show to new levels. The intro is unique in itself and sets the song up well. Plus the faded vocals leading into the heavier guitar are executed perfectly. I think the bridges and the chorus in this song are the big-ticket items.

7. 171 xo: This one comes in a close second for my favorite tracks on the album. The chorus is super emotional and honestly, this song is so real that it hurts sometimes. Plus the vocals on this song hit differently than the other tracks. The easy flow of the verse to the shorter and harsh chorus is something I truly love about this song.

8. Learn To Lose And It All Gets Easier: There really isn’t much that I can say about this song other than its such a contrast from the previous songs on the album. It really shows the different techniques and routes that the band wanted to bring in. The lyrics are still emotional and sort of heavy but the use of more technical elements is something that they hadn’t really explored before and I think it worked out so well.

9. Lost Between (feat. Marcus Bridge): The transition in the intro is impossible not to sway along to, seriously. I also have listened to this album probably close to 50 times and I think I’ve cried to this song close to maybe…47 times? It really hits you hard, especially on those days when you just sit and think. While I’m not a fan of crying (who is really?), it’s always nice to have a song that you feel gets you and that you can relate to.

10. The Other Side Of Things: This song has an incredibly personal tie to lead singer James Deberg and you can hear it in every aspect of the song. Going through a loss such as the one he did is something that completely alters a life. Hearing the emotion in the lyrics and delivery that this song has, it’s really incredible.

11. Gone In Your Wake: Speaking of crying. The pure emotion James pours into this song absolutely broke me the first couple times that I listened to it. Knowing the struggles that he has faced and hearing this song be almost an episode of closure is something so intense that you can’t help but respect him and honestly just want to give him a hug or something.

 

In conclusion, “Gone In Your Wake” is probably one of the most vulnerable and honest records out there. It’s beautifully put together and there isn’t a bad song on it. You smile, you get your anger out, you cry and you do it all in the time span of 11 songs. Thousand Below are seriously such a unique group of musicians that have firmly planted themselves in this scene and I can not WAIT to see what is next for them, because we all know it will be incredible.

 

Until next time…

 

Some of my favorite moments during shows are when we get massive drum solos from some of the most intense people around. Drummers have always happened to be some of the funniest and most sassy people out there, and I am not complaining. You also can’t really go without smiling when you’re around them and honestly, they bring most of the adrenaline to a show for me. I would also like to note that it is very difficult to get pictures of drummers performing so most of the pictures used here will be meet and greet pictures including the drummers, sorry for that.

5. Otto Wood of Waterparks: I have been seeing and meeting Waterparks since their very first tour in 2016. They opened for Never Shout Never at the Granada in Lawrence and were the smallest band on the bill. The very first thing I noticed about the band was Otto, his long curly hair constantly down around his face and constantly moving. I think the most memorable moment from this show was when he attempted to stab through the snare drum with a drum stick. I have since seen the band five times and will always stand by the fact that Otto is one of the most entertaining drummers to watch and he always keeps the energy up. He is also one of the sweetest dudes out there and we share a birthday so, that is pretty cool.

IMG_20170616_190156
Warped tour 2016, Otto is directly on my left

4. Ryan Seaman of I Don’t Know How But They Found Me formerly of Falling In Reverse: I had the opportunity to see Ryan with both bands and something that I find really awesome about him is that he fits into so many different attitudes and vibes during one set. When performing with Falling In Reverse, Ryan is intense and thrashing and crashing and bringing such an energetic and fast-paced feel to the show. Then seeing him in the IDK How habitat is completely different. He holds it down and still exudes the sassy and blingy energy that Dallon also brings. Not to mention he can play bass and drums at the same time? Mega bonus points.

IMG_20160804_192444

3. Barry Kerch of Shinedown: Shinedown is pretty much at the top of my list for live bands right now in general, but Barry is one of the best drummers around. His style and his hair and his attitude all lend to the bands overall persona in such a big way that it truly stands out. His energy is insane and no matter the song, you can always tell that he absolutely loves every minute of it. His intensity is so focused and he seems all around centered constantly during their set.

IMG_20190319_221050

2. Patrick Galante of Ice Nine Kills: Can you wear a taxidermy style pig mask and black cloak while playing drums for intense metalcore songs? I know I can’t, but Patrick sure can and he absolutely kills it each time. Yes, that pun was intended. Patrick is insanely talented when it comes to putting on a show and adding to the personality the band has live. We all know that the boys in INK love the costumes and make-up but that never distracts from their amazing performance live, especially Patrick. He really brings the band together in my opinion, plus he’s a pretty funny guy in general.

IMG_20190512_161905

1. Maxx Danziger of Set It Off: I can easily stand by the fact that Maxx is the best drummer in this scene. The personality that he brings to the band and the live shows is off the charts. This most recent time that I saw Set It Off, he had this MASSIVE drum solo with tons of random songs and that was the most energetic part of the show. He never fails to bring sass and attitude to a show and yet still be one of the nicest dudes around. His talent is undeniable and I think that overall he brings such a unique feel to the band that without him, they just wouldn’t have the presence that they do. Maxx is truly one of a kind and he knocks it out of the park every time I see him. Also, we take meme pictures so, that makes him even better.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Honorable Mentions

  • Matt Traynor formerly of Blessthefall
  • Connor Denis of Beartooth
  • Lou Vecchio of New Politics
  • Billy Nally of The Wrecks
  • Rian Dawson of All Time Low

So those are my favorite drummers, and I apologize for the crazy posting, I will eventually get it together enough to stick to a schedule!

 

Until next time…

A band is a puzzle, with each member being a different piece. This series of posts is taking that puzzle apart and putting it back together. We’ve talked about lead singers, now we’re going to talk about bassists. Bassists seem to be the ones at live shows that really keep your attention on the music itself and keep peoples attention on certain songs. Let’s highlight some of them…

5. Ahren Stringer of The Amity Affliction: My first time seeing The Amity Affliction was at Warped Tour in 2015. I was completely nervous about being in a different city and state and being at the festival for the first time. The Amity Affliction was the band that I saw first that day and I am honestly so glad that was the case. Ahren has one of the strongest “this is my time to shine” attitudes on stage and totally rocks it. Both times that I have seen them since then, he still keeps my attention. Focusing on the way he plays to the crowd and balances vocals with some of the deeper riffs in many of their tunes is captivating. (I lost my pictures from their live shows so here’s a meet and greet picture).

IMG_20170616_190208

4. Oshie Bichar of Beartooth: Honestly, not only is Oshie one of my favorite musicians in general but he kills it live. He’s consistently putting his all into it and there are times during Beartooth sets where I literally cannot take my eyes off of him. He knows his stuff and knows how to put on a show, I know the band wouldn’t be near as cohesive if Oshie wasn’t a part of it. He will ALWAYS be one of my favorite bassists. Next time you guys see Beartooth, do yourself a favor and watch this guy for a second, you’ll feel the same way that I do.

 

3. Jared Wrath of Blessthefall: Of the four times I have seen Blessthefall, I have always been in awe of their show in general. Jared is absolutely no exception. This dude is a powerhouse and that is putting it lightly. With his screams and how he absolutely commands the stage, it’s difficult not to focus on him and the intensity of what he’s playing. If you’re not focused on what he’s playing, you’re probably focused on his screams so either way, this guy keeps your attention. Not to mention he’s usually the base of the shred pyramid so you know he’s a pretty big deal.

Snapchat-1844502980

2. Dallon Weekes of I Don’t Know How But They Found Me: Now, we all know Dallon was a member of Panic! At The Disco before starting IDK with former Falling In Reverse drummer Ryan Seaman, so did we really expect him not to be one of the best out there? I have seen Dallon perform once and honestly, that is enough to make anyone understand that he is one of the best bassists around. As weird as it sounds, the way he plays matches the bands vibe to a T. It’s poppy, it makes you want to dance, it makes you want to wear a sparkly black jacket and split the crowd in half for a sort of “come to Jesus” type thing. I don’t know how, but he’s got it all down. Sorry, I had to take the opportunity.

Snapchat-693082859

1. Zach Merrick of All Time Low: I have had the opportunity to meet All Time Low, and therefore Zach, four times. Zach is probably one of the sweetest, most shy guys you could meet when talking about the music scene. The first time that I saw them, I was absolutely blown away by Zach for a multitude of reasons. Going from the meet and greet where he was quiet and shy to seeing him absolutely blossom on stage was incredibly refreshing. He’s jumping around, carrying Jack around on his back, jumping on and off of platforms, he’s taking every opportunity he can to move around. Then there are some songs, primarily from their most recent album “Last Young Renegade”, that allow him to find a more centered performance and give him the chance to be a little more emotional in his playing. He is one of the most impressive bass players that I have seen to date in his performance, personality, and chemistry with his bandmates.

 

Honorable mentions (In no particular order, *pictured)

  • Justin Morrow of Motionless in White formerly of Ice Nine Kills
  • Eric Bass of Shinedown*
  • Mike Dirnt of Green Day
  • Josh Woodard of A Day To Remember* (featured photo)
  • Sam Bettley of Asking Alexandria
  • Aaron Kelley of The Wrecks*

Stay tuned for the next set of “best of the best” and follow my Instagram @nat.lindz to help me decide who gets highlighted next! Until next time.

So, I had this idea to sort of break down a band by members and highlight my picks for the best of the best, and I think that the best place to start with that would be lead singers. There are multiple aspects that make a lead singer truly captivating, being how they sound, what liberties they take with their own songs, how they interact with the crowd and much more. I’ve been to many shows in the past six years and four of them were warped tour shows, so even more sets than shows. These five vocalists have held my attention and kept the energy going through their entire show each time I have seen them,

5. Oliver Baxxter of Broadside: I won’t lie, the first time that I saw Broadside I was a little disappointed. There was little crowd engagement and honestly little engagement with the music itself. Oli was sick that night and their guitarist at the time didn’t really seem to be with it either. So, when I found out they would be opening for Set It Off I decided that I would give them another chance and see if it was just a fluke show, which it was. Oli danced around and owned every moment on stage and had the entire crowd singing along and wondering what he would do next. His vocals were incredible and I am honestly so glad that I could see Broadside again and be able to experience how great they really are and how great Oli is as a frontman.

 

4. Bradley Walden of Emarosa: In 2015 I had tickets to see Blessthefall and Emarosa were set to open for them. I found out the night of the show, in the venue, that Emarosa had dropped the tour. I was absolutely crushed and then come 2016 when they played Warped tour, I missed them AGAIN. Then I finally got the chance to see them when they also opened for Set It Off and I can easily say it was worth the four-year wait. Bradley came out swinging and wasn’t slowing down anytime soon. Flipping his bassist…literally…and putting his guitarist on his shoulders to walk through the crowd was just the beginning of it. The banter with the crowd had people laughing and snapping back at him with huge smiles on their faces. There’s also absolutely no denying his vocals, if I could listen to him sing all day every day, I think I would cry.

 

3. Jeremy McKinnon of A Day To Remember: For being one of the founding bands in this scene of music, you have to be able to command a crowd and draw people in. This is something that seems absolutely effortless to Jeremy. Both times that I have seen these guys have been the most intense shows that I have EVER been to. The split-second Jeremy takes the mic in his hand the energy in the room soars through the roof. I didn’t realize all the bruises that I had from those shows until the next day and in the end, I didn’t even care. Jeremy doesn’t stop moving either, even when he’s playing acoustic he is swaying and moving around, he never seems bored or like he doesn’t know what his next move is. Throwing rolls of toilet paper and slapping massive beachballs into the crowds also seem to be his thing.

2. Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco: You all know who he is and have probably heard about his antics many times. He is one of the best out there, no doubt about it. Brendon Urie is the definition of a showman and having seen him in both a bar and an arena, the energy that he exudes and radiates doesn’t change a bit. It’s always filling the room and the hearts of everyone around him. You’re never bored watching him play or sing or dance or pretty much just exist. I am so thankful that I have had both opportunities to see him do his thing. You all also already know that his vocals are flawless and there are notes that that man can reach that I wouldn’t have a chance at hitting so, falsetto.

1. Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach: I don’t think he has a low energy setting if we’re being honest. The stage is his no matter the size or the position on the lineup, plus how many lead singers do you know that would make merchandise out of a meme that came from one of their songs? I’ll link that shirt for you down below. Plus are we going to talk about the vocal transition and musical transition along the way and how absolutely amazing all their music is? Adding to that, Jacoby has fronted Papa Roach for almost 30 years, talk about longevity. I will always say that Papa Roach is a great band and overall seem to have a pretty great grasp on how this industry seems to run itself. With his energy, the time he’s been singing, and how much the band has accomplished, I can say with ease that Jacoby Shaddix is my pick for best frontman out there right now.

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):

  • Trenton Woodley of Hands Like Houses
  • Chris Motionless of Motionless In White
  • Brent Smith of Shinedown
  • David Boyd of New Politics
  • Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low
  • Caleb Shomo of Beartooth

 

I do understand that a band isn’t their lead singer. So I’ll be making sort of a series out of this with polls on my Instagram deciding which one to make next so stay tuned. Until next time…

 

https://kingsroadmerch.com/papa-roach/view/?id=13336&cid=2683

As you all know, I have a special place in my heart for Set It Off. So when it had been over a year since I had seen them and they finally made their way back to Lawrence I had tickets and VIP bought within minutes of when they went on sale. Especially since they had Emarosa opening for them who I had been waiting four years to see (I told Bradley three but in reality its four because they were supposed to open for Blessthefall the first time I saw them…so there’s that).

IMG_20190612_182237

First we had Famous For A Day A local band from KC. They were super cute and had some really good presence. I am really excited to see what they grow into and where they go.

 

Then we had Selfish Things, who I hadn’t heard of before and oh my gosh do I recommend. Their lead singer Alex helped set up their stage and while he did that, he talked to all of us by the stage and made an effort to actually hold a conversation. Then you see him perform live with the company of the other members of the band and it is more than incredible. His voice is fantastic and if we’re being completely honest I think that Alex resembles Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots and I mean that whole heartedly and in the best possible way. Then, when added to the band the chemistry is undeniable.

 

Next, we have Broadside. I had seen Broadside live before on their past co-headline with With Confidence and I will be honest I wasn’t super impressed with that show. Something must have changed between December and this most recent show because I was astounded by the difference in atmosphere, energy, and overall performance of Broadside. There was massive crowd involvement, all you wanted to do was jump around, and can I also say that Ollie Baxxter is a great dancer? I definitely recommend Broadside, both in sound and in performance.

 

Emarosa is by far one of the GREATEST live bands I have seen to date. Period. They interact with the crowd heavily, interact with each other constantly and you can see just how much they love playing their music. Not to mention, the music is incredible and Bradley Walden has one of the best voices around. Waiting four years was definitely worth it and Emarosa has been added to my list of bands that I will do absolutely anything, to see live. Not to mention, they’re super nice guys? Great music, great performance, great people, you should love them just as much as I do. Thanks.

 

Finally, Set It Off. What can I say, I love them and they love their fans and the music they make. They are genuine musicians and people and know exactly how to put on a great show, complete with a massive drum solo, a tear jerking ballad, and a song that makes you wanna punch someone in the face. The tech screens were so impressive and the meet and greet was super personal as always. These guys honestly care about their fans and make every effort to make them feel appreciated. Once you love them, you can never really stop. So again, pay attention to Set It Off, if I haven’t said that enough already.

 

Until next time.

I am so so so excited to share this with you all and to have had this opportunity in the first place. I received an email awhile ago from a post that I made on Reddit, which eventually led me to find heavyvibe.blogspot.com … or for them to find me. After many many emails back and forth deciding the best way to go about this, we created this collaboration post about each others blogs. Here are the answers to my, and some of your, questions for Heavy Vibe!

_________________________________

1. What is your name and what is your publication?
Hi there everyone! I say my screen name is Coleman, just because I wouldn’t want to go by my full real name due to the fact I am a wussy. I am the head (cough cough, only) author on my blog/wannabe entertainment website Heavy Vibe. A collection of shitposts that I try to make look professional because I have no idea what I am doing.

2. How long have you been blogging?
I have actually been blogging for more than 6 years if I gauge it correctly. I haven’t had Heavy Vibe for 6 years, but when I was younger. (probably 7th or 6th grade) I started a blog on this National Geographic game called Animal Jam and became famous on it. It was really weird and I had a better posting schedule on that blog when I was 12 than I do now and I am 17, so that says a lot about ambition. I’m joking, AP classes suck your soul out of you, and having a blog/website project on the side is like a ninja kick to the breadbasket.

3. What was the first concert that you attended?
The first concert I attended was this dinky screamo garage band in my town before my parents took me to Aftershock so I could get a taste. Well, that taste I hated 100%. I clearly remember shoving toilet paper in my ears because I still had a relative sense of hearing that I have now lost completely, because of the strategy the band employed or if it’s loud enough, they’ll think it’s good.  Just imagine a monkey banging on a drum set while someone screaming off mic and a guy in the corned strums the bass to some Metallica song that wasn’t even what the other band members were playing, and I don’t think they had a guitarist. The only thing I really remember about it was that the flyer for it had Goku from DBZ in the background, and that’s all I remember about my first concert.

4. What led you to start blogging about music? (Caitlin H., KS)
I was already going to all of these concerts, and one night after I had shepherded my group back to the hotel I saw this guy smoking cigarettes next door to my hotel room, and my dad approached him and I think offered him a beer or something and they got to talking. Well, it turns out that guy worked for Honest Brutality, they have a radio show for Rock Rage Radio- it’s like an online radio thing. He gave me a rolling tray he got from the backstage that was signed by a bunch of bands I liked. I told him I was thinking about being a blogger or something- he said doing Youtube is a nice safe thing to do. I decided later on that A: I didn’t want to have to look decent when I want to make content and I already know how to blog, where I can look as bummy as I want to make blog posts. And B, I don’t want anyone I know at school finding a video of me on youtube trying to Gordon Ramsay some Black Sludge Metal. So yea, that’s the overcomplicated answer as to why I made Heavy Vibe.

5. What has been your favorite show or interview that you have done? (Megan S., KS)
I can’t exactly say I have had a favorite interview because I like certain things about every one of the INterviews I do that are unique to each person I do. But hypothetically if I do get a press pass for Aftershock this year (praying on it), and I could slink my way back into getting an interview with Ghostemane- that would be a plus. My favorite show was probably going to see The Fever 333, other than hoping he wouldn’t throw a mic stand at me, the concert was so full of energy that felt really genuine rather than when I see some really big bands that are just going through the motions.

6. How do you go about listening to an album to review it? (Zach Z., KS)
Find a super comfortable place- my bed
Open your post template or a Google Doc
Open the album and play it, then go back to whatever your writing on.
Write down whatever pops into your head at that exact moment while listening to the music, you can sort it all out later.
After you’ve got it all down, go through it and turn your gibberish into complete sentences (or not, sometimes I don’t)
Finish it up, and Publish it
Send an email/DM to the band
Hope they don’t make you feel horrible about your advice/critiques/things you didn’t like about the submitted album
Advertise the heck out of it
Finally, start your homework at 1 am


7. What has been the most challenging part of being a music blogger? (Gavin S., KS)
Time management, management in general actually. I’ll go in waves of having maybe 5 bands or singular artists asking for a review or something really simple, that I can crank out in a day. But then I’ll get 55 bands with super fancy requests for really unique things, that I do all for free, that takes much, much more time. And the majority of the time gets much fewer thanks that doing a simple posting of someone’s new music video. Another problem I have is finding shows/ bands coming to my area. Or simply venues that would let me get the press pass to go and do my thing. Maybe it’s my age, because to some it’s a liability to have a minor go backstage and talk to a group of guys. And I have been warned of bands to stay away from, and not to be alone with. Which is really scary to me, because what if the guy I am going backstage with (my roadie, or Broadie I call them) aren’t allowed back there, and something bad actually happens. It’s all speculation for that last part. But having your stuff together, being professional, and finding people that take you seriously are some really hard parts about being a music blogger.

8. What are some difficult aspects of promoting your blog? (Kacy T., KS)
It’s actually not that hard. Other than the fact it’s hard to get your blog up on the google rating list because apparently, MetalSucks.com is more relevant when you Google “Heavy Vibe”. But something really easy I wish people knew more is this amazing thing called Facebook. Make a profile on FB, join a bunch of groups, and friend a bunch of people (that are typically band members, etc.). Share the links to your blog into those groups. Then bang, the targeted audience that you wanted to reach is condensed into that Facebook group. But the tricky thing is, is using the algorithms to your advantage. The more comments- the more people the post is put onto people’s timelines. Then it turns into a once they see it, they link and comment- so it sends it to more people. It is all reliant on those first few mins of it being posted on those groups. If no one takes a bite on the post. (Mobile-friendly, have some pictures breaking up the text, basically the “Scroll Friendly” rules, it will do amazing and you’ll wake up the next morning with 5 thousand new views on a post.


9. How do you go about getting interviews at shows? (Alexa G., KS)
Make a good email (relevant to your blog, like Heavyvibeoffical@gmail.com)
Find the contact info of the venue/show manager.
Say that you are a blogger, Youtuber, etc. Explain what you want to do, that you aren’t looking for freebies and already have tickets. And give links to whatever your thing is.
Harass them relentlessly until they tell you no-or yes. Don’t let them ghost you, they like doing it.
Make sure you send emails at least a few months in advance.
Rinse and repeat.


10. If you could give one piece of advice to a beginner blogger, what would you tell them?
Simple: Facebook is your best friend. Make everything scroll friendly. Bands are super happy to work with you- for free. (Smaller ones at least). There is TONS of music out there, don’t be afraid to post about a smaller band that doesn’t have a lot (or any) attention on them, and don’t be afraid to post your love letter to Ivan Moody of FFDP, do whatever you want to do. Find other bloggers- like the amazing one that runs this blog. People are willing to work with you if you put yourself out there, and if you do and a few don’t reply, keep trying! Trust me, plenty of people are trying to make there way in the music world. And you as a blogger can help!

 

_________________________________

 

Make sure to check out Heavy Vibe and keep up to date with their posts! Thank you again for the collab and thank you all for reading!

 

PS. Follow my socials

Twitter: @Natlindz

Instagram: @nat.lindz

Facebook: justmenatalie.com