April 21, 2016 Issues & Crown the Empire Lead Outbreak Tour Into NYC 4-11-16 w/ Night Verses & ONE OK ROCK
Launched back in 2011, the Monster Energy Outbreak Tour has provided an affordable alternative for music lovers to discover new music. Tapping into a variety of genres, the tour has featured everyone from Kendrick Lamar, to Asking Alexandria, to Attila, and much more. Broken into five categories which are the Rock Edition, Hip Hop Edition, College Edition, EDM Edition, and Comedy Edition, 2016 has been one of the brand’s biggest years thus far. Particularly in the Rock world of Monster Energy Outbreak, the news came down in early 2016 that the spring edition would be headlined by Issues with support from Crown The Empire, ONE OK ROCK, and Night Verses. A mix of fast-rising and emerging bands, the tour launched on March 20th and ran through April 18th, visiting a total of twenty-three cities in the span of just a month. Stopping in New York City on Monday April 11th, the hosting venue of Irving Plaza would see a sold out crowd enter its doors just as they opened at around 6 PM.
Eager to catch all the bands on the bill, the audience packed onto the floor as Night Verses kicked off the night. Based out of Los Angeles, California, this band has been forging a name for themselves since forming in 2012. Making their way onto the stage, Lead Vocalist Douglas Robinson (formerly of The Sleeping), Guitarist Nick DePirro, Bassist Reilly Herrera, and Drummer Aric Improta came out of the gates swinging. Bringing a Post-Rock sound to the stage, the band would immediately grab the audience’s attention as Robinson led the way. Between moshing and kicking his legs up and down, Robinson showed the crowd what this band was capable of as he sang and screamed with conviction.
Making the most of their time on stage, Robinson announced that the band would be dropping a new album with Equal Visions Records over the summer. Intrigued by the news, the room opened their ears to the sounds of Night Verses as they offered songs such as “Time Erases Time” and “Celestial Fires.” Before concluding, Robinson told the crowd that their last song was dedicated to all their friends in the crowd, thanked the bands on tour with them, and encouraged the crowd to check out Night Verses on all social media platforms. Leaving everything they had on the stage, the crowd reciprocated the energy with their feet off the floor and hands in the air. Whether one was a fan of Night Verses or new to the band’s music, their performance provoked a lot of intrigue and it will be exciting to hear more from them in the future.
Next up was Japanese superstars known as ONE OK ROCK. Since forming in 2005, this Rock band has been dominating the charts in Japan and are now starting to make a name for themselves here in the USA. Interestingly enough, their name actually originated from the fact that the band used to practice at one o’clock in the morning, and because in the Japanese language it is hard to decipher R’s from L’s, the band changed their name to ONE OK ROCK. Releasing their seventh studio album in 2015, entitled 35xxxv, their visit to North America on the Monster Energy Outbreak Tour was a welcomed return.
Having last played in New York City back in October of 2015, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the band was not unknown to the majority as Vocalist Takahiro “Taka” Moriuchi, Guitarist Toru Yamashita , Bassist Ryota Kohama, and Drummer Tomoya Kanki took the stage to an excessively loud response. With a reaction that made ONE OK ROCK almost seem like they were the evenings headliners, they began with “3xxx5” before going into “Take Me to the Top,” and “Cry Out.” Providing an emotional and heartfelt Alternative Rock sound, many were singing along to the words of songs and taking any chance they could to snap a photo of each band member.
Going into the song “Decision,” Tyler Carter of Issues joined the band on stage to pump up the energy even more. Following up with the track “Suddenly,” Taka informed the crowd they had two songs left, wanted to make sure everyone was having a good time, and instructed the crowd to get up off their feet before beginning with “Stuck in the Middle.” The last song, “Mighty Long Fall,” started out slow, but picked up tempo as Taka showed off his vocal range before leaning over the barricade into the crowd. An exciting conclusion, ONE OK ROCK provided a set that their growing fan base will cherish for years to come.
With the evening wearing on, there was still more to come from the heavier end of the spectrum with none other than Crown the Empire. Out of Dallas, Texas, Crown the Empire have been featured on tour with everyone from Of Mice & Men, to Hollywood Undead, and more. Providing a unique sound that unifies Symphonic elements, Metal, Hardcore, and even Alternative Rock, Crown the Empire took their progression to the next level on 2014’s The Resistance: Rise of The Runaways. Now set to release a new album, entitled Mercury, later in 2016, the band is on the precipice of a major breakthrough.
With the anticipation high on the floor below the stage, Brent Taddie sat behind the drum kit as Guitarist Brandon Hoover, Bassist Hayden Tree, and, last but not, Vocalists Andrew Velasquez and David Escamilla emerged as cheers erupted. Starting off with a fan favorite, “The Fallout,” at points the audience began to sing before Velasquez or Escamilla could, and this enthusiasm did not let up throughout their entire set. As crowd surfers made their way to the front of the stage to try and get a high five from the band members, the set continued with “Johnny’s Revenge,” one of the Crown the Empire’s harder songs. Loving every minute of it, hands were swinging from side to side, and after the beat dropped, the crowd went crazy enough to make the whole entire floor shake. With “Prisoners of War” and “Cross Our Bones” next, again, crowd surfers continuously flowed to the front of the stage while the rest of the room rattled. Taking the moment to catch their breath collectively, the band finally introduced themselves as Crown the Empire and offered up a new song, entitled “Zero.” Extremely receptive to the new music, the mosh pit opened up to its largest size of the night thus far.
Slowing thing down a bit, Escamilla informed the crowd that this next song, “Millennia,” was dedicated to all the ladies in the house, as well as Issues’ Tyler Carter. Perfectly fit into the set, this time the crowd had a chance to catch their breath before matters become chaotic once again. Crown the Empire made sure of such as they followed up with “Memories of a Broken Heart” and “Makeshift Chemistry,” which enticed the crowd to sing each word at the top of their lungs. In fact, during the latter, a fan threw a tiara on stage and Velasquez playfully wore it for the duration of the song. Moving on with the song “Voices,” the emotions were still running high before the vocalists gave a shout out to all the bands on tour and checked in with the crowd to make sure they were still with them for the last song of their set. Responding positivity to the question, the reward came with “Machines,” which even featured the disco ball above the floor spinning to add to the finale. Putting on an amazing show, those who missed Crown the Empire can catch them this summer on Vans Warped Tour.
After being entertained by three different, entertaining bands, the time had come for headliners Issues. Formed down in Atlanta, Georgia back in 2012 after Vocalist Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn split from their band Woe Is Me, Issues has blazed their own path. Beginning with 2012’s debut EP, Black Diamonds, Issues offers a rainbow of styles that won even more listeners over following the release of their self-titled full-length in 2014. Deriving influence from an endless source of artists, Issues is a band without boundaries, and that sort of forward-thinking is what the future is all about. With that in mind, it was no wonder the audience packing out Irving Plaza was a diverse mix of ages and backgrounds uniting together to see Issues live.
Joining vocalist Carter and Bohn were Guitarist AJ Rebollo, Bassist Skyler Acord, and Drummer Josh Manuel. Taking the stage first were Manuel Acord , followed by Rebollo, and of course, Carter as well as Bohn. Having spent a lot of time on the road in recent years, those who have seen Issues live know they put on an amazing show and this return to Manhattan was set to be no different. With a stage setup that had an urban look, the backdrop was covered in graffiti with the titles some of the band’s biggest songs. Getting the audience in the groove right from the start, they exploded with two of their heavier songs, “Love, Sex, Riot” and “Stingray Affliction.” With Carter and Bohn zigzagging back and forth on the stage, their energy had the crowd pumped up as the set moved along with “Never Lose Your Flames” and “Her Monologue” as Derek Discanio of State Champs made an unexpected appearance on stage.
Once the excitement of Discanio appearance subsided, Carter checked in with the crowd if they would like to hear the band’s newest song and first single off their forthcoming record, entitled Headspace. Welcomed by the audience with open arms, the song “The Realest” began and was met by many belting out the lyrics. A jolting new cut, the bass solo of Acord hit hard and showed that Issues sound is still progressing. In addition, New York native Max Schneider hopped on stage and showed off his amazing vocal range to close out the song. Already a set full of guest stars, more was left to come as Issues moved into “Life of a Nine” and “The Langdon House,” keeping the audience hooked with the duel vocal attacks and colorful instrumentation.
Changing up the tempo a bit, the band broke down into a trio for stripped down acoustic renditions of “The Worst of Them,” “Princeton Ave,” and “Late.” Overpowering Carter with unison singing, all the vocalist had to do was smile and hold out the microphone to let the crowd take over. With the acoustic break over, Bohn introduced another new song called “Blue Wall.” Shedding light onto the meaning of the song, he explained it was about police brutality. A topic that seemed to fire up the vocalist, the crowd paid close attention to each word as they rapped and sung. Offering something topical, the audience, agreeing with the message or not, were moved by the track and Carter capitalized on the elevated emotions, asking for a split down the middle of the crowd to see who was louder before going into another favorite, “Ghost.” Following with set closer “Disappear (Remember When),” Carter took the time to explained the song was about a friend of his who died in a car accident three years ago. Universal to anyone who has ever lost someone, everyone sang along, truly humbling Carter before the band departed from the stage.
Leaving the audience waiting for more, chants of “one more song” echoed through the building, and after a few minutes, Issues returned for “Mad at Myself.” Again, singing louder than Carter and Bohn, the fans did not miss a beat as they rejoiced for the moment they were waiting all night for. This would have been enough to satisfy all, but Issues had other plans as they wrapped the encore up with”Hooligans” as the floor opened up into a giant pit and a huge party broke out. Halfway through the song, Bohn began to climb speakers, Acord jumped into the crowd, and Kanki from ONE OK ROCK took over on the drums for Manuel, along with Kohama on bass. A frantic, exhilarating finale, it was one no one will soon forget.
The Monster Energy Outbreak tour visit to New York City was a night full of high energy, crowd surfing, moshing, and most of all, amazing memories. Fans were treated to special performances, special guests, and artists leaving their hearts out on the stage. Issues will be dropping their new album, Headspace, in May and will be on the Journey’s Right Foot stage all summer on Vans Warped Tour so be sure to get tickets now.