January 8, 2016 State Champs Reign Supreme Revolution Music Hall Amityville, NY 12-19-15 w/ Rarity, Broadside, & Transit
When Albany, New York based band State Champs signed with Pure Noise Records back in 2012, it was easy to see it was only a matter of time before the band blew up. With all the tools needed to make it big, Derek DiScanio (vocals), Tyler Szalkowski (lead guitar), Tony “Rival” Diaz (rhythm guitar), Ryan Scott Graham (bass), and Evan Ambrosio (drums) quickly went to work, releasing The Finer Things the next year. Garnering instant success, the album debuting at the #2 spot on the Billboard Heatseekers chart followed by a steady stream of tour dates with bands like Motion City Soundtrack and Bayside. Working hard since, in 2015, the Pop-Punk band decided to head back to the studio, and on October 16th released their sophomore effort, Around the World and Back.
With that in mind, State Champs had one hell of a 2015, touring with All Time Low, a headlining run in the Summer, and just as the holidays steadily approached, they decided to head home to the New York area for a string of shows dubbed their Home For The Holidays 2015 tour. Rounding out the bill with Rarity, Broadside, and Transit, when State Champs fan base on Long Island became aware the tour would be swinging through Revolution Bar and Music Hall in Amityville on Saturday December 19th, tickets sold out rapidly. As the cold night arrived, concert goers flooded into the venue for an early evening show to open the gift of music a few days before Christmas.
It would be Rarity taking the honors of opening the show as the floor of Revolution Bar & Music Hall rapidly filled up. The group out of Hamilton, Canada comprised of Loeden Learn (vocals,) Zach Pasquale (guitar), Adam Clarke (guitar), Alex Stojsavljevic (bass), and Evan Woods (drums) is an adrenaline shot to the arm. Coming to the the stage to showcase their February 2015 debut EP, Alive in Your Eyes, and a still unnamed 2016 full-length, the energy level was already elevated before 7 PM even hit.
Beginning with “Faded,” the opening track off of Alive in Your Eyes, the crowd quickly drew close to the stage. Playing on with “Hollow” before “Fifteen Stories,” “Stranger,” and “Realm,” many were observed jumping around to the tracks. Moving along, “Absent” gave everyone more reason to stay tuned for the new Rarity album before they continued with “Anne Hathaway,” the first track the band released an official music video for. Closing the set out with “Anxiety,” Rarity jumped around on stage, enjoying the time with the audience until the last note. Even as their set came to a close, they quickly made their way to their merchandise booth to spend more time with anyone who decided to come over and say hello.
It must be noted the yet to be released Rarity album is in its infancy to the point where the band had not settled on the names of some of the tracks. With that said, some tracks mentioned above might see name changes before release time. While taking off the month of January, Rarity is looking forward to an upcoming tour headlined by Silverstein and featuring Being As an Ocean, Emarosa, and Coldrain. The tour starts late February and continues through March with stops throughout Canada and the United States. Now everyone will have to wait patiently as information is released for an upcoming album from this band with a bright future.
As Rarity closed their set and the venue continued to fill, Pop-Rock, Virginia based band Broadside awaited their chance on the stage. A member of the Victory Records family, Ollie Baxxter (vocals), Niles Gibbs (guitar), Dorian Cooke (guitar), Andrew Dunton (drums), and Josh Glupker (bass) come together to form the dynamic group that has earned their spot on Alternative Press’s “Top 100 Bands to Watch in 2015.” Having graced Long Island back in August 2015 when they played The Emporium in Patchogue at Today’s Mixtape Festival, the local fans were ready to welcome them back.
Choosing to take their entire set to show off their most recent album, Old Bones, they opened with “Simple Type,” and it did not take long for fans to quickly join in and sing along with Baxxter. As the band continued with “Storyteller,” a lucky crowd surfer got the chance to sing along with Baxxter who leaned as far into the crowd as he could to share his microphone. Giving this level of interaction during the show was on Broadside’s agenda from beginning to end, and they clearly love playing as the fun continued with “Playing in Traffic.”
As they rolled on with “Damaged Kids,” the mosh pits and crowd-surfing picked up. Taking advantage of the venue’s intimate setting, Baxxter sang along to “Come and Go” with many voices from the crowd joining in before they finished off their set with “Coffee Talk” to a loud applause. The band’s brash, in-your-face approach is addictive and no doubt made their performance thoroughly enjoyable. Broadside are looking at a strong opening to 2016 as they and their fans impatiently await the release of their new music video for “A Light In the Dark,” set for premiere January 14th on Vevo. Those looking to see Broadside live are encouraged to check out their Cold Kids and Campfires Pt. 2 tour as they join 7 Minutes in Heaven and Marina City for acoustic sets January 14th through 23rd.
As direct support for the night, New England based Transit were ready to keep the excitement flowing. Riding the hot release of their 2014 album, Joyride, Transit already had a following among the Amityville crowd before even hitting the stage. Spending time on Vans Warped Tour in the Summer of 2015, Transit has also visited Long Island prior, most notably with Taking Back Sunday in 2013. Made up of Joe Boynton (vocals), Toree Cioffi (guitar/vocals), P.J. Jefferson (bass), and Daniel Frazier (drums), Transit brings an energy level only matched by the screaming and crowd-surfing crowd.
Hitting the stage with a fever pitch, the band opened with “Rest to Get Better” off Joyride, before showing off another hit off the album with “The Only One.” After the two tracks, the band riled up the crowd, thanking them for coming out, and it was evident everyone was strongly behind the group. Taking everyone back to 2011’s Listen & Forgive album with “I Think I Know You,” they then moved forward into “Weathered Souls.” Working overtime to match the energy output of the band, crowd-surfers and stage-divers rampaged on to tracks like “Skipping Stone,” “Nothing Lasts Forever,” “Loneliness Burns,” and “1978.” Keeping their foot on the gas, they continued with “Listen & Forgive” and “Follow Me” before closing out the set with “Long Lost Friends.”
Unfortunately, Transit recently had to cancel an European tour due to unforeseen circumstances. With no tour dates currently scheduled, hopes are they will be back soon on the road. Until then, Joyride is a necessity that is worth the price and then some.
While fans impatiently waited for State Champs to take the stage, the crew set up the equipment and strung an assortment of Christmas lights along everything, spreading the holiday cheer. As the lights went down, anticipation shot up, and soon the State Champs ran out on stage to their posts and dove right in with “Secrets,” off Around the World and Back album. It did not take long before many started jumping up and down, showing that they still had plenty of energy. Bringing the audience back to the The Finer Things album with “Simple Existence,” a Santa hat found its way from the crowd onto the head of Graham, which he chose to wore for almost the full remainder of the set.
Bouncing back and forth between cuts off their major albums, flailing up and down on stage, they continued with “Perfect Score” and “Deadly Conversation.” With hearts pumping, State Champs welcomed everyone and thanked them heavily for spending the night with them. With the place fully packed out, DiScanio then broke into the opening vocals to “All You Are is History” before the eager crowd took turns crowd-surfing and stage-diving as the band rocked out to “Hard to Please.”
After joking with fans for a while, State Champs continued the festivities with “Easy Enough,” following it with “Shape Up.” As the end of their set grew near, State Champs informed everyone that their ticket to this show doubled as a free pass to join them down the street at the Amityville Music Hall for The Long Island Emo Night featuring Underoath’s Aaron Gillespie and State Champs’ own DiScanio sharing the stage together. This excited the crowd, letting them know the night was far from over, even though the performance was. Then, Discanio requested a circle pit to form for their next song, and many happily obliged as the circle grew larger, for the perfectly timed “Losing Myself.” Finally, after more gracious appreciation to the turn out, they wrapped the show up with “Remedy.” As State Champs left the holiday lit stage for a few minutes, fans took a few moments to catch their breath before chanting for more. Then, to much surprise, the band rejoined the stage for a two song encore, starting with “All of Nothing.” DiScanio, humbled, again thanked everyone and said there is no where else he would rather be than home for the holiday season before the finale of “Elevated.”
In enough words, State Champs are an adrenaline filled spectacle to see live. The group never slows down and never lets up. This approach is mirrored by the crowd creating an aura that cannot be matched. As 2016 begins, the band is keeping true to the name of their album, Around the World and Back, as they blast through Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom with Neckdeep before returning to Canada and the United States in February. With their latest album still picking up steam and no end of tour dates in sight, the time is ripe to head out and enjoy the experience of their live show.