Bless SiriusXM’s Octane station for showing me this group, because WOW. VRSTY [pronounced varsity] is a group from New York that pack a big punch with vocals, riffs, and breakdowns. I alway love it when I get the chance to hear a new group and I am super happy that I was able to hear these guys when I did.

In terms of sound, I spent forever having a total brain fart as to who I was reminded of vocally. When I finally was able to figure out who I heard, I just kind of did that little head nod to myself, sort of like “yeah, I’m gonna stick with them for a long while”. With hints of Telle Smith from The Word Alive and Beau Bokan from Blessthefall, I was able to see why I loved this music from the moment I heard it.

“Massive” played on Octane during a recent drive and I was immediately following the flow of the song. I think it is structured really well dynamically and has one of the best breakdowns I have heard in a while. Plus this song gives me the best image of a call and respond type moment at a show. I seriously want to experience this song live.

After spending the past couple of days listening to the band, I found myself still in love with “Massive” but I am also a huge fan of “Shameless”, “You and I”, and “Stuck In My Brain”. There isn’t a song I have disliked yet, I really enjoy this band and their sound. Plus their videos are super cool to watch and I love the color schemes they use in them.

If you’re a fan of band like Blessthefall, The Word Alive, and/or Crown The Empire, I know you’ll love VRSTY. I already have them added to my playlists and if you’re smart you won’t sleep on them either. Check out their video for “Massive” below and make sure to follow their socials as well as mine. Until next time,

Stay entertained.

VRSTY Twitter / VRSTY Instagram

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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!

So I had this idea a couple months ago to do this sort of series of underrated songs by different bands. I go into my Spotify and shuffle and the artist that comes up first is the artist that I highlight songs from. It looks like we’re starting with All Time Low!

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DISCLAIMER: My choices for these are NOT based on Spotify rankings, they are the songs that I fell in love with that do not get as much recognition from the band’s fanbase.

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5. “Take Cover” from Straight To DVD II

  • Favorite lyric/phrase: “Nobody’s gonna believe / When you say you’re turning the page / ‘Cause you never put up a real fight / So shut up and make it right”
    • Honestly, the intro and the faded distortion of the vocals in the phrases are super unique and pull you into the song instantly. I also think this might be one of Alex’s best songs vocally. It’s pretty simple but highlights his smoother vocals along with his raspy vocals in a very collective way.

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4. “Chemistry” from Last Young Renegade (B-side track)

  • Favorite lyric/phrase: I believe in the way you call to me / like a dance-hall choir / singing out in broken revelry
    • Alright but this song is so cute? I think it may be one of my favorite love songs in existence and that says something because I am a real sucker for a love song (as much as I hate to admit it).

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3. “Come One, Come All” from So Wrong, It’s Right

  • Favorite lyric/phrase: “Don’t call the doctors, I don’t need no medication / I just need one more vacation and make it last”
    • I will stand by the fact that this song can easily be the definition of teen angst. Plus with it being one of the band’s earlier songs, it has the choppy guitar riffs in the beginning that every punk fan falls in love with.

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2. “Painting Flowers” released as a single and on the Alice In Wonderland soundtrack

  • Favorite lyric/phrase: “When I wake up / The dream isn’t done / I want to see your face and know I’ve made it home”
    • I have been head over heels for this song since I first heard it in 2016. “Painting Flowers” has never gotten enough attention and I will promote it until the day that I die. They made such an amazing and interesting song off of one little detail of Alice In Wonderland and I adore that.

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1. “Dancing With a Wolf” from Future Hearts

  • Favorite lyric/phrase: ” So don’t you call my name / I will take you down / Should’ve known that you’ve been dancing with a wolf / So don’t you call my name / I will take you down / I’m not your friend, you burned a bridge / I’ll chew you up and spit you out”
    • This song is one of the most intense ones that the band has both lyrically and musically. There are very few times that an All Time Low song makes you want to punch someone in the face, and this one does which is why I love it so much. It’s confident and sassy and so well executed. I love it.

 

Do you have some songs that you feel don’t get enough attention? Tweet me @Natlindz and let me hear your favorite underrated songs!

 

Until next time…

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

 

What’s up guys, gals, and non-binary pals? I am back to talk with you about one of, if not THE best show that I have ever had the privilege to witness. When A Day To Remember announced this tour back in August, I am pretty sure I almost passed out. ADTR decided that they would take I Prevail and Beartooth out on a run and hit the KC area on Halloween. Did you guys think I wouldn’t be attending? No? Good. Here we go.

So either shortly before the tour started or shortly after, Can’t Swim was added to the tour. Being completely honest, they weren’t my cup of tea. I wasn’t exactly pulled into their performance but they were very festive so that was a plus.

Next came Beartooth. If you all haven’t gathered by now, Beartooth is my favorite band. This was my fifth time seeing Beartooth and honestly, I think this was one of my favorite performances that they have done. Maybe it was the costumes, maybe it was just an over the top night for the band but the energy was so uncontrollably high and everyone was getting into it. Not to mention Kamron decided that he wanted to get involved and ended up closing out the show on top of the crowd.

I Prevail absolutely stunned me. I had been in the area of their Warped Tour set in 2017 but ended up leaving early due to the level of fatigue my friend and I felt and since they were the last set of the night. Seeing them play live has been on my to-do list since then and I am so glad I finally did. These guys know how to put on a show and are so fun to watch. Then you add the facts that they were the team from dodgeball for Halloween and brought a six-year-old out on stage for their last song since he was dressed as Eric, and you can’t really deny that they’re amazing.

 

Then we witness A Day To Remember, who is easily one of the best live bands in music. This was the biggest show I have seen them perform and it was all around captivating. The lighting, the video wall, the crowd interaction, and not to mention one of the most badass openings to a show. When I first saw that the set began with “Downfall of Us All” I was curious as to what it would be like, since they usually close with that song. It was a great change and I seriously hope they keep it because that had the energy at an all-time high from the get-go and kept it there the whole night. One of the most emotional and engaging experiences I have ever been a part of at a show was when Jeremy came down to the barricade for the end of “Sometimes You’re the Hammer, Sometimes You’re the Nail”. He is one of the most intriguing lead singers in general, so to have him down and with the crowd made everything feel incredibly cohesive and genuine. I will always be a massive fan of A Day To Remember and their live show is something that I hope everyone gets the chance to experience at some point in their lives.

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Until next time…

And now we fall to our last post in the series, highlighting my favorite guitarists. They shred, they spin, they throw their guitars in the air, they play intense and intricate riffs that have us air-guitaring along like nobodies business. They come to party, and they party hard.

5. Jack Barakat of All Time Low: When it comes to fun energy, I don’t think anyone can sum it up better than Jack. I also don’t think he stands in one spot for more than 10 seconds during the entire show. He is constantly engaging the crowd with either jokes or playful banter. He is incredibly charismatic and fast on stage and I think he really makes the shows what they are.

 

 

4. Ricky Armellino of Ice Nine Kills (vocalist for HAWK): You can’t be in the presence of Ricky and not laugh, it’s not possible. Plus he is incredible on stage. I think my favorite moment of seeing them live was watching him follow Spencer around screaming about getting his boat back before they played “IT Is The End” when I saw them in Chicago. Ricky is incredibly energetic and has a very focused attitude when he plays. It’s really amazing to see him perform.

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3. Kamron Bradbury of Beartooth: Kamron is incredibly quiet in the meet and greets and such but he is always super polite and kind. Seeing him play live is honestly captivating, he is intense, focused, powerful, and energetic. He seems completely in tune with the performance and the band and drives the show to a new level of fun. He is easily one of the best people to watch play live and amazing at what he does.

 

 

2. Elliott Gruenberg of Blessthefall: Look, Elliott is one of the coolest guys around. He’s nice, he’s funny, he’s incredibly easy to work with and then you watch him play guitar and he absolutely crushes it. Blessthefall is one of the most energetic bands I have ever seen and I think that most of that energy comes from Elliott. He’s fully connected to the crowds and the music no matter what. He’s always jumping around or screaming the words back at you. He really knows how to put on a show.

 

1. Zach Meyers of Shinedown: I have never, in my life, been so captivated by a guitarist. Zach’s chemistry with the band as a whole was astonishing but then being focusing on him playing was a completely different experience. Shinedown is an incredible live band and Zach is easily one of the heaviest factors in this. He’s intense and purposeful with everything and his energy radiates to every single person in the crowd. He wins at the live show game, hands down.

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Honorable Mentions:

Kevin Skaff of A Day To Remember

Ricky Olson of Motionless in White

Ronnie Ish of As It Is

Zach DeWall of Set It Off

I have been talking about nothing but Thousand Below for the past couple of weeks and guess what, I am not stopping yet. Here we go,

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The first time I saw Thousand Below was when they were a part of the “Nightlife in Revolt” tour with Youth in Revolt and Light Up The Sky. I went into the show knowing nothing about them and came out of the show a massive fan. So you all can only imagine how absolutely STOKED I was when they went on tour with Blessthefall last year. A band that I loved opening for one of my favorite bands of all time? I was hooked, obviously. Then watching them play to that crowd, definitely put Thousand Below on the same list as Blessthefall. Then they open for Of Mice & Men (They’re currently still on that tour, make sure you make it out to any date near you!) and hit Lawrence again, which made me incredibly happy.

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Music-wise, they don’t have a bad song. Not one. All the tracks on their first album The Love You Let Too Close are incredibly emotional and can totally be the tunes you scream at the top of your lungs on your way to work or class or on the way home from a long day. Their two new singles “Chemical” and “Disassociate” are absolute bangers and incredible to witness live. When it comes to their live show these guys absolutely NEVER disappoint. The chemistry and energy is through the roof and it radiates into the crowd. Also, they have really sick tour merch? I have no idea who designed it but I wish I could have bought all of it.

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If you’re not already listening to Thousand Below, you should probably start doing that pretty soon, because I firmly believe that they’re one of the best up and coming bands in the scene. You guys are totally missing out if you’re sleeping on them, but the good news is, you can change that! Their second album Gone In Your Wake drops October 11 and you can make sure to check it out on your favorite streaming platforms!

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Basically, Thousand Below is great and you should make sure to check them out.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…