Concert Reviews

[Review] This Wild Life, Sleep On It, Hold Close, Crooked Teeth in Cambridge, MA

Photograph of Kevin Jordan from This Wild Life holding his ukulele up in the air. He was demonstrating to the crowd that whenever he raised his ukulele like so, they were encouraged to sing "hey hey Catie Rae!" as loudly as they could.
Kevin Jordan of This Wild Life (Photo by Lisa Eggleston)

Sunflowers. Acoustic rock. Positivity. Dogs. Good vibes.

If you’re a fan of any of the aforementioned topics, you’re likely to enjoy This Wild Life’s spring 2019 tour. Celebrating their third album, Petaluma, released this past June via Epitaph Records, the aptly-named Petaluma Tour began April 6th in San Diego, CA. After playing in venues all across the United States, this duo will end their tour back in California on May 5th at the Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles.

The Petaluma Tour hit Cambridge, MA on Monday, April 22nd. Supporting This Wild Life throughout this tour are alt-rockers Crooked Teeth and pop-punk ensembles Hold Close and Sleep On It. These acts all brought different types of energy to the venue, allowing the crowd to get up and rowdy before settling down for This Wild Life’s bright acoustic vibes at the end of the night.

Photograph of Crooked Teeth, shot from center front-of-house
Crooked Teeth (Photo by Lisa Eggleston)

Crooked Teeth are a 3-piece rock band from California, and they’ve been on fire with their hit singles lately. They released their new song, “Bedroom Eyes” less than 2 weeks ago, and “Beg” was released last month. The band consists of Tyson Evans (vocals & guitar), Adam Miranda (guitar), and Adam Louis (drums). They have a distinct & eclectic sound at the perfect intersection of grunge, alt-rock, and pop-punk. Definitely give them a listen if you’re a fan of any of the aforementioned genres. You will not be disappointed!

Braxton Smiley of Hold Close (Photos by Lisa Eggleston)

Hold Close followed Crooked Teeth’s set, bringing onstage with them their trademark light-up keyboard played by lead vocalist Braxton Smiley. Founded in 2016, Hold Close draws their inspiration from top rock acts such as Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon. The band released their debut album, Time, this past January via Hopeless Records. The perfect blend of emo-rock and pop, a majority of their lyrics revolve heavily around themes such as grief, loss, and having the strength to move on from life’s challenges. Hold Close have already toured the US as an opening act a couple of different times since the start of the new year, and I have a feeling they’ll be headlining in no time.

Sleep On It (Photos by Lisa Eggleston)

Following Hold Close’s stellar performance, Chicago-based pop-punk rockers Sleep On It came onstage to face an audience full of eager fans who knew every word to every song. Lead vocalist Zech Pluister has a distinct set of pipes that melds perfectly with the powerful guitar riffs and catchy melodies prevalent in nearly every track. Lyrically, their songs are more akin to those of Mayday Parade – defeated at times, yet with a glimmer of hope always around the corner. These guys utilized every square inch of the stage, synchronizing jumps and catching some serious air, and their energy was truly contagious. Slowing down every once in a while to let the audience complete some of the catchiest choruses, such as those found in See You Around and Fireworks, Sleep On It showed that it’s possible to put on a show that’s somehow both angsty and happy… the perfect pop-punk gig, if you ask me.

Anthony Del Grosso of This Wild Life (Photo by Lisa Eggleston)

Following a fairly sophisticated set change, the main act finally took the stage. Imagine if a ray of sunshine picked up an acoustic guitar and got a bunch of tattoos. Now we’ll call that This Wild Life. An acoustic pop-punk duo from Long Beach, CA, musicians Kevin Jordan and Anthony Del Grosso have captured the hearts of listeners worldwide. Petaluma was released last May, and the majority of their set consisted of songs off of this album (hence the name of the tour). This album deals with a lot of love, loss, and heartbreak, and one of the tracks (Westside) was written from the perspective of someone supporting a loved one who has experienced sexual assault. Jordan & Del Grosso dig deep when it comes to songwriting – you will not find any shallow tracks on this record, as each song was deeply thought-out and clearly envisioned before production even began. Somehow they are able to take these very real subjects and turn them into songs that make you feel like everything is going to be okay. I don’t think there’s any better word besides “wholesome” to describe This Wild Life’s Petaluma Tour. There is one week left of tour, there’s still time for you to catch a show!

Concert Reviews

[Review] Seaway, Young Culture, Free Throw, Heart Attack Man in Worcester, MA

Ryan Locke of Seaway (Photo by Lisa Eggleston)

If you were near the Worcester Palladium during the late afternoon hours of Easter Sunday, you might have passed what looked like a group of nicely-dressed young men on their way to a family dinner. If this was you, then I regret to inform you that although they were nicely-dressed, they definitely were not on their way to dinner. In fact, these five Canadian dudes (also known as Seaway) were about to take the stage for one of the most epic, stereotypically pop-punk shows you could ask for. Touring in support of their 2017 album Vacation, the recent release of their Fresh Produce compilation, and in anticipation of a new album to be released this year, the guys started the Fresh Produce Tour in Rochester, NY on April 11 and will wrap up in Lakewood, OH on May 11.

Ryan Locke of Seaway (Photo by Lisa Eggleston)

Seaway is made up of musicians Ryan Locke (lead vocals), Patrick Carleton (rhythm guitar & co-vocals), Andrew Eichinger (lead guitar & backing vocals), Adam Shoji (bass), and Ken Taylor (drums/percussion). Performing some of their biggest hits such as Something Wonderful (“We are weird and painful, just like Ross and Rachel… let’s take a shot at something wonderful”) and Lula on the Beach (“You can find us on our mini vacation, this is where I wanna be – I’m with Lula on the beach”) there was no shortage of crowd surfing, fan vocals, dancing, or moshing at this venue.

Ryan Locke and Adam Shoji of Seaway (Photo by Lisa Eggleston)

Supporting Seaway throughout this tour are pop-punk acts Heart Attack Man, Free Throw, and Young Culture. Cleveland-based alt-rockers Heart Attack Man released their second full-length album Fake Blood just last week, and bathed the venue in red light in support of it. Heart Attack Man is made up of vocalist Eric Egan, guitarist Tyler Sickels, bassist Seamus Groman, and drummer Adam Paduch. These four musicians took some of our most hard-hitting emotions – notably anger and frustration – and turned them into some of the catchiest emo-pop tunes that you might not have thought possible.

Cory Castro of Free Throw (Photo by Lisa Eggleston)

Punk-rockers Cory Castro (vocals & rhythm guitar), Jake Hughes (rhythm guitar & backing vocals), Lawrence Warner (lead guitar), Justin Castro (bass), and Kevin Garcia (drums & backing vocals) preceded Young Culture’s set. This quintet is a band called Free Throw, and donning birthday hats in celebration of Andrew Eichinger’s birthday, they played several hits from their three full-length albums, Those Days Are Gone, Bear Your Mind, and What’s Past Is Prologue. The band had no problem connecting with fans in between songs, chatting about the hockey playoffs, Eichinger’s birthday, and everything in between. Their desire to have a good time while giving their fans a superb show was evident throughout their set.

Alexander Magnan (vocals) and Troy Burchett (guitar) of Young Culture (Photo by Lisa Eggleston)

Young Culture hails from Albany, NY and consists of Alexander Magnan (vocals), Troy Burchett (guitar), Gabe Pietrafasa (guitar), and Nick Cavin (drums). Since the release of their new EP (This is) Heaven this past January, they have taken the pop-punk world by storm and placed on Billboard’s “New Artist” and “Indie” charts (at #22 and #53, respectively). Having grown up just a few towns away from these guys, it’s really neat to see how successful they’ve become. They are sure to have gained many new fans throughout the past couple weeks, as they put on a performance that is proving difficult to scrutinize. It is clear that Young Culture enjoys what they are doing, and the band’s energy is contagious.

Nick Pietrafasa of Young Culture (Photo by Lisa Eggleston)

If you’re looking for a place where you can jam out to melodic pop-punk and leave all of your worries behind for a few hours, look no further. Catch Seaway, Young Culture, Free Throw, and Heart Attack Man on tour before it ends! Tickets can be found here.

Concert Reviews

[Review] Against the Current, Chapel, Guccihighwaters in Boston, MA

On April 18th, energetic pop-rock outfit Against the Current brought their Past Lives World Tour to Boston, MA. Touring in support of their second full-length album released this past September, this upstate New York trio have rapidly been gaining traction as they’ve made their way across the globe. The band kicked off their tour in Asia this past fall, have been traveling across North America for the past two months, and will be crossing the seas for the European leg of their tour next month.

Against the Current consists of lead vocalist Chrissy Costanza, guitarist Dan Gow, and drummer Will Ferri. Formed in 2011, Costanza initially built a substantial fan base through her YouTube channel after appearing on several song covers with notable YouTube artists and uploading makeup and style tutorials. Now with 1.1 million Instagram followers, she’s become a household name for those in the pop-rock scene – a trailblazer for female artists in a male-dominated industry.

Perhaps what makes this tour most intriguing is the eclectic mix of genres presented throughout the night. Rap/R&B artist Guccihighwaters started off the night with a handful of tracks that had the whole crowd bumping and swaying with the beat. Through pieces such as i’m so sick of this and i thought i died inside, his emphasis on the importance of mental health and self-love is prevailing.

Indie pop outfit Chapel followed Guccihighwaters’ set and brought a very different type of energy to the room. The band is made up of lead vocalist/guitarist Carter Hardin and drummer Kortney Grinwis, who pride themselves on “making music their parents would like.” The combination of Hardin’s high energy and Grinwis’ explosive drum solos had the whole audience off their feet and dancing by the end of the set.

Photograph by Elliott Ingham via
I do not own any rights to this image

When Against the Current finally took the stage, the energy in the room was electric. Starting off the night with one of their biggest hits, Strangers Again, it was clear that this night was going to be one for the books. The band puts 110% into every song they perform, making sure to engage with the audience at every possible chance. Costanza has tremendous stage presence, and during Wasteland showed off her impressive flexibility by performing a back-bend that would put a lot of us in the hospital if we were to attempt the same. The encore consisted of a tranquil stripped-down acoustic version of one of the band’s older songs, Running with the Wild Things, and then the night ended with a plugged-in Another You, Another Way.

If you are a fan of pop, rock, R&B, or indie music (or any combination of those), you won’t want to miss this tour!

Concert Reviews

[Review] Set It Off, With Confidence, Super Whatevr, and LIFT in Boston, MA

Maxx Danzinger of Set It Off

On March 8th, Tampa-based rock band Set It Off dropped by Paradise Rock Club during their biggest headlining tour yet, selling out the 933-person venue. The North American leg of the Midnight Tour began mid-February, selling out nearly every date. Alongside the boys in With Confidence, Super Whatevr, and Love In Future Times (L.I.F.T), they had the audience dancing and singing along to every beat for the entirety of the night.

Emo hip-hop quartet L.I.F.T started out the night with their high-energy, genre-bending set. Vocalist Austin Arthur’s enthusiasm was contagious and the band took advantage of every opportunity to connect with the audience. Closing out their set with one of their biggest hits, “Vampires,” L.I.F.T had the audience off their feet and craving more.

Following L.I.F.T’s electrifying performance, emo-rock artist Super Whatevr took the stage. Starting out slow with “Kathrin with a K,” frontman Skyler (Sky) McKee’s grungy vocals blended perfectly with the sporadic guitar riffs reminiscent of 2011-era Arctic Monkeys. Definitely a change of pace from L.I.F.T’s rambunctious set, but a fun one nonetheless.

Hailing all the way from Sydney, Australia, pop-punk trio With Confidence rounded out the opening acts with the perfect combination of sprightly guitar riffs & lead vocalist Jayden Seeley’s smooth, spunky vocals. It was immediately evident upon the boys’ entry that just as much of the audience was there for With Confidence as they were for Set It Off. They played plenty of high-energy hits such as “Voldemort,” “Archers,” and “That Something,” as well as their newly-released plugged-in version of “Paquerette (Without Me).” It’s not often that a band starts out with an acoustic song and then releases a fully plugged-in version a year later, but they really hit the mark with this one. The energy in the room was contagious as both new and old fans alike came together to let loose and have fun, to dance and sing their hearts out before the main act hit the stage.

Cody Carson of Set It Off

Last but certainly not least, Set If Off took the stage by storm and delivered a performance that left fans asking for an encore after the encore. Teasing the audience with a digital countdown clock prior to making their entrance, the boys knew exactly how to amp up the crowd and get the vibes going. Everything about the set – the LED backdrop, the positioning of the band on stage, even frontman Cody Carson’s vivid blue hair – fit together seamlessly to bring the Midnight World Tour to life.

Starting off their set with “Lonely Dance,” Set It Off had their fans singing & dancing along the second Carson started the first verse. The boys kept up the energy throughout the entire set, and each band member’s talents were showcased throughout the night. Drummer Maxx Danzinger gave an epic show with a drum solo medley of hits such as Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” Halsey’s “Without Me,” and a pop-punk drum remix of the popular kids’ song, “Baby Shark.” Dan Clermont blew everyone away with key trumpet solos that are so integral to Set It Off’s unique sound. Carson’s vocals were pitch-perfect and his personality shone when he invited a child to help him out on stage. Set It Off promised to deliver on this tour, and they did that and more.

Set It Off, With Confidence, Super Whatevr, and L.I.F.T certainly gave fans a night to remember, and at the end of the night it was obvious that a good time was had by all.