This Sunday our spotlight is on Columbus rock/metal group Beartooth. Vocalist Caleb Shomo began writing songs for Beartooth while he was fronting his previous band, Attack Attack! and after his departure from the band in 2012, he decided to record the music he had written and in June of 2013, they signed with Red Bull Records and released their debut EP, Sick less than a month later. They have now released three full length records and have a fourth on the way set to release sometime in the upcoming months. The bands lineup currently consists of vocalist, Caleb Shomo, drummer Connor Denis, bassist and backup vocalist Oshie Bichar, rhythm guitarist Will Deely, and lead guitarist Zach Huston. There has been a few lineup changes over the years as most bands do but, this current lineup seems very fluid and it meshes well together, these guys are tight and rock harder than the rest every single time they take the stage.
Having risen at an accelerated pace to be one of the biggest names in modern rock and metal today, Beartooth has shared stages on tour with some very big names as support and headlining. Some of these bands include, Of Mice & Men, Knocked Loose, Motionless In White, Architects, Slipknot, A Day To Remember, Bring Me The Horizon, I Prevail, Pierce The Veil, and Underøath. Along with all these killer artists, they have been on festival stages such as, Warped Tour, Sonic Temple/Rock on the Range, Aftershock, Louder Than Life, iMatter, Download, Las Rageous, Reading/Leeds, Epicenter, and Slam Dunk. The setlists these guys put together for both club shows and festivals slots is no doubt going to get people sweating. The heavy breakdown style of metalcore mixed with hardcore punk that you can hear on debut LP, Disgusting will give anyone the desire to jump in the pit, while on the opposite end of the spectrum they have less fast and heavy songs that hit just as hard on their albums, Aggressive and Disease.
Beartooth is one of the bands keeping rock alive today. Caleb Shomo’s impactful and real lyrical writing style give this band an edge over many other bands today. Their new album while may be concerning to some is exciting for others like myself. Their is always something new these guy are working on, they hit the road a lot and they hit it hard, wanting to play a ton of shows all the time. They care deeply about their fans and are some of the nicest guys I have met in the scene. It seems like they have no signs of stopping anytime soon and us fans can only hope that is the case.
Check out their latest single, Devestation right here:
Our spotlight band this week is, the Chicago based pop-punk outfit, Knuckle Puck. The group formed in 2010 after their beginnings of covering different pop-punk tracks. The group currently consists of, lead vocalist Joe Taylor, lead guitarist Kevin Maida, drummer John Siorek, rhythm guitarist Nick Casasanto, and bassist Ryan Rumchaks. Since their conception, Knuckle Puck has released six EP’s (including a split with Neck Deep) as well as three full-length albums starting with Copacetic (2015), Shapeshifter (2017), and their latest LP release is 20/20 which was released last year. Knuckle Puck has become a mainstay of the unique early 2010’s.
The Chicago boys have not wasted much of their careers with relaxing at home, they are on the road often, and for long periods of time. They have toured with many different artists that made for some amazing shows such as tours with, Movements, With Confidence, Citizen, Real Friends, State Champs, The Menzingers, Mayday Parade, Modern Baseball, Neck Deep, Sleeping With Sirens, and Good Charlotte. They have also played on stages at festivals like Warped Tour, Slam Dunk, So What?, Snowed In, Unify The Gathering, Four Chord, Never Say Never, Self-Help, and Riot Fest. These guys have done it all on the touring spectrum already in just over a decade of being a band. One of the tightest bands at a festival and will draw hundreds and hundreds to their club shows.
Knuckle Puck is already one of my favorite pop-punk bands not only for their perfect name but their music hits, and it hits deep, songs like No Good, Disdain, and Double Helix are three songs that I would show to anyone interested in Knuckle Puck, these tracks perfectly encapsulate the band as a whole and who they are. I know when touring starts happening again consistently, KP is going to be hitting the road hard to promote the album they released last year as well as just get around to bring smiles to all their fans.
Our spotlight this week is on the metalcore outfit from Brighton, East Sussex, England, Architects. Formed in 2004, the group was started by brothers, Dan and Tom Searle. The band now consists of Dan Searle on drums, Sam Carter on vocals, Alex Dean on bass, and Adam Christianson and Josh Middleton on guitars. The band is currently signed to Epitaph and has been signed there since 2013. The British metal heavyweights have released nine albums since their formation with their most recent album coming out less than a month ago titled, For Those That Wish To Exist. Some of the artists they can attribute their influence to are, Converge, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Hatebreed, Gojira, Slipknot, Thrice, and Deftones.
Coming up on twenty years as a band, Architects has been everywhere and played with everyone. So many headline tours, tours acting as support, and festival performances all over the world. Some of the bands that Architects have shared the stage with are, Bring Me The Horizon, Parkway Drive, Thy Art Is Murder, The Amity Affliction, Beartooth, Northlane, Counterparts, and Polaris. They have been on some huge festival bills like, Jera On Air, Epicenter, Sonic Temple, Warped Tour, Welcome To Rockville, Sonisphere, Aftershock, Download, Reading Leeds, All Points East, and Slam Dunk. These are all fairly big festivals that the group has played later in the day on either main or second stages.
Architects are veterans of modern metalcore and one of the names that comes to everyone’s mind when asked about metalcore bands. They have some amazing songs that are instantly recognizable due to Sam Carter’s distinct vocals that are unrivaled by any vocalist today. They have changed and developed over time but not matter what people think about the changes they make, they will draw and attract. They will forever be one of the most influential and important bands in metal music over the past two decades. Any metalcore music that comes out today has been influenced by Architects whether people want to admit that or not.
Another festival lineup has made its’ way out to the public and it is for the returning rock/metal festival, Furnace Fest. The Alabama festival is making its’ first appearance in almost 20 years. Taking place at Sloss Furnaces on September 24th through the 26th the triumphant return has come with great praise and seems that it could not have come at a better time. Seeing a lineup of this caliber and diversity is bringing quite a smile to the faces of all the sad festival-goers who have not had a lot to go to or be excited about in a long time. Each day has a little something special for every person that will go to the festival.
Friday has quite a few highlights on the bill that will get the crowds going. We see hardcore bands like, SeeYouSpaceCowboy, END, Defeater, and Converge. Along side those beatdown hardcore acts we see some metalcore and post-hardcore acts such as, Gideon, Erra, Every Time I Die, Cave In, and the first night will be finished off by powerhouse, Underøath. Overall, Friday is a more than acceptable way to start the weekend off. There is a lot of bands that have potential to be the ones that steal the show throughout the weekends many performances.
Saturday seems to be a bit of a lighter day with the theme being centered around emo/pop punk type bands. There are quite a few different genre bands sprinkled in there as well like, Turnstile and The Bled that hold down the heavier side of things throughout the day. Some of the other artists to be mentioned are, Misery Signals, Mayday Parade, Evergreen Terrace, Cartel, Anberlin, and of course the headliner being, Taking Back Sunday. Again, a lighter day that will give most people a little break before the last day of the festival.
Sunday is probably the most stacked day with fairly huge names spread throughout the bill. Metalcore, hardcore, pop-punk, and plenty of other genres seen as well. The most notable names there are, Knocked Loose, Hatebreed, Fit For A King, Counterparts, Comeback Kid, Bad Cop/Bad Cop/ August Burns Red, is headlined by the ever consistent and always popular, Killswitch Engage. People that are fans of new American heavy metal and old school metalcore will be eager to get in a pit on this Sunday. Hatebreed and Killswitch Engage are big names which will draw big crowds and then you have bands like Knocked Loose and Fit For A King that are getting air time on radio stations so they will draw crowds. Counterparts and August Burns Red are two of the best bands in metalcore today as well so, great sets can be expected from them.
Furnace Fest making its’ long awaited return is great news, with a lineup like this, we can expect there to be a ton of people at the festival. Hopefully if all goes well, it will be a festival that sticks around for awhile. It is a way for smaller bands like some on this lineup to get their names out there and have big audiences exposed to their art and their music. If you’re in the south and looking for a festival that packs a punch and will hit you in the gut over and over, look no further. Grab a ticket to this gnarly weekend.
This Sunday we are presenting to you a hardcore band that is on the rise in the United States and across the globe. We are talking about Knocked Loose, of course. Formed in Oldham County, Kentucky in the year, 2013; The bands lineup currently consists of, Bryan Garris on lead vocals, Cole Crutchfield on rhythm guitar and backup vocals, Isaac Hale on lead guitar and back vocals, Kevin Otten on bass, and Kevin Kaine on drums. These heavweights in hardcore have made a serious name for themselves since their signing with California powerhouse label, Pure Noise Records in 2016. They released their debut album, Laugh Tracks that same year which came along with very good reviews. They released their most recent full-length album, A Different Shade of Blue in 2019 under Pure Noise again which much like the last album, came with rave reviews but on a much more extreme level.
These guys have toured an insane amount, they are rarely taking days off and when they do take days off, they are booking shows. They have shared stages with some legendary names in both the hardcore and metal scene over the years by playing shows with bands like, Parkway Drive, Thy Art Is Murder, August Burns Red, Beartooth, Motionless In White, A Day To Remember, Every Time I Die, and Counterparts to name a few metal bands. They have played shows in the hardcore scene with bands like Terror, Madball, Stick To Your Guns, Jesus Piece, and Year Of The Knife, Harms Way, and Sanction. They have been on some big name festival bills such as, Download, Snowed In, 2000 Trees, Slam Dunk, Aftershock, Sonic Temple, Self Help Fest, Rock Allegiance, and Louder Than Life.
I had the pleasure of seeing Knocked Loose in 2018 on the Disease Tour with Beartooth and Sylar. These guys truly know how to get a crowd going, Bryan’s higher register vocals give their style of hardcore something unique. Then Isaac has these booming lows that he brings in to punch their sound. The riffs are definitely hardcore but you hear influences from metal and death metal. Their breakdowns go insanely hard and the classic, “ARF ARF” we hear on their song, Counting Worms is always a smash hit. These guys are trying their hardest to bring hardcore back into the public eye and show everyone that what they’re doing is rad. I have so many high hopes and expectations for this groups next album, experimentation as well as their classic Oldham County Hardcore sound.
This Sunday we are spotlighting an Australian band that is rising rapidly in popularity. This is none other than the pop-punk/alt-rock band, Stand Atlantic. The group formed in Sydney Australia in 2012 and currently consists of vocalist/guitarist Bonnie Fraser, guitarist David Potter, bassist Miki Rich, and drummer Jonno Panichi. In 2017, they signed with Rude Records and released their ever-popular single, Coffee At Midnight. After rave reviews, they released the Sidewinder EP in September of the same year. Flash forward a year later they signed with Hopeless Records and released their debut full length, Skinny Dipping. That album put them on the map and brought them much recognition and as of August, 2020 they have released their second full length album, Pink Elephant on Hopeless Records as well.
Coming up on ten years as a band, Stand Atlantic has been able to hit the road quite a lot and have played with some amazing acts as support as well as headlining shows. Some of the bands include, The Maine, Waterparks, One Ok Rock, New Found Glory, State Champs, Trophy Eyes, With Confidence, The Faim, and Neck Deep. They have hit festival stages all over the world such as, Inverted Festival, Sad Summer Fest, Galaxy Camp, Unify The Gathering, Slam Dunk Fest, and are on the bill for Download festival. I have seen this band in both a club setting and festival setting, they absolutely crushed it both times they performed. Their songs translate so well and get the crowd moving with Bonnie Fraser’s nonstop energy.
Stand Atlantic has really made a name for themselves with their last album release and have no plans of stopping what they are doing. They have an insanely unique sound that is not comparable to anyone else at the moment. They need to get back on the road as soon as they possibly can to promote these new songs as much as they can. We will be seeing and hearing more from them hopefully soon. These are future headliners in big rooms all over the world. Their performances and love for their fans sets them apart from so many other bands out there.
Rebel Rock Festival is taking place this year in Orlando, Florida at the Central Florida Fairgrounds on September 24th-26th. This years festival is being fueled by none other than rock music’s favorite non-alcoholic beverage, Monster. The festival is a three day long rock fest with the day one being on a Friday but there will also be a Thursday night “Taco Metal Party” that will see performances from some great acts like, Greyhaven, Slaves, Polaris, and P.O.D. There are currently five more acts to be announced for the weekend, with one of them being a sub-headliner on Friday night. The official lineup as of right now can be seen below.
Friday: This day in my opinion is already the highlight of the weekend even though we do not know who the other headliner is that day. That first day is going to be the ultimate warmup for the festival goers, so many heavy hitters to get the blood pumping and the adrenaline flowing. The highlights for Friday are going to be the bands, Fit For A King, Knocked Loose, Hatebreed, Motionless In White, Skillet, Parkway Drive, and Limp Bizkit. Names like these are going to draw huge crowds full of energy, these pits are going to be massive. Limp Bizkit headlining will be the perfect way to end the first night and will leave the crowds hungry to get back in Saturday morning.
Saturday: This day is filled with a wide and I mean wide variety of acts that will capture the attention of the festival goers throughout the entire day. There are still three acts to be announced for Saturday but some of the most exciting names on the bill for Saturday include: Escape The Fate, Attila, Body Count feat. Ice-T, Killswitch Engage, I Prevail, Legends of Wu-Tang, and Five Finger Death Punch. We have metalcore bands like Escape The Fate, and I Prevail bringing a modern take on metal, Attila holding down that metal/deathcore sound, then Body Count and Wu-Tang bringing some punk and hip-hop to the lineup. Those three mystery I can guarantee will bring even more variety to the already diverse day.
Sunday: The last day of the festival is an important day for many reasons, you have to send the people home happy, they are already tired from two other days of nonstop rock so we should not bring them something too heavy that they cannot keep up. Another diverse lineup that comes out of the gate strong but ends the night on some less intense but still impressive and sought after acts. Bands like Spite, Carnifex, and Suicide Silence are going to be bringing the heavy deathcore earlier in the day to warm those necks up for other acts like Miss May I, Anti-Flag, The Used, and Rise Against to end the weekend on a high note.
Overall this lineup seems very interesting and I believe it will draw in a ton of people down south who are looking for a festival to go to since Spring festivals have been cancelled. The remaining lineup spots will add to the excitement more and naturally will draw in more people especially since one of the empty spots is a headliner. Metal deity Jose Mangin is hosting Rebel Rock just to be the cherry on top, I mean who doesn’t lose Jose? Monster always brings a different element to festivals they work with that somehow makes the entire weekend seem more fun even thought they just sell energy drinks. If you are near Florida this fall and are looking for a good festival to go to, I would highly recommend checking out this festival it should be a blast.
This week we are spotlighting a band near and dear to my heart. We are talking about Citizen, hailing from my hometown of Toledo, Ohio, Citizen formed in 2009 and have become a mainstay in the emo, indie-rock, post-hardcore, and pop punk scenes. The most recent lineup of the band consisted of singer Mat Kerekes, Nick Hamm on lead guitar and backing vocals, and Eric Hamm on the bass guitar. The Midwest natives are currently signed to Run For Cover Records who have worked with other bands such as, Turnover, Tigers Jaw, Title Fight, and Modern Baseball in previous years. Citizen is also upcoming the release of their fourth studio album, Life in Your Glass World which is set to be dropped on March 26th, 2021.
Having formed in 2009, Citizen has had plenty of time to hit the road and tour, while hitting up different festivals all along the way. These guys have shared the stage on tour over the years with some amazing artists such as, Basement, Movements, Modern Baseball, The Story So Far, Knuckle Puck, State Champs, Circa Survive, and The Wonder Years. They have hit up some major festival bills as well like, The Vans Warped Tour, Slam Dunk Festival, So What? Festival, High & Low Festival, Chain Fest, Boston Calling, and of course, Block By BlockWest. These shows always draw hardcore Citizen fans from all over the country that just want to hear them play tracks like, Drown, Jet, In The Middle Of It All, Roam The Room, and The Night I Drove Alone.
Citizen holds a special place in my heart because we share the same hometown and not only that but, their music is something that I have always been drawn to. Their music resonates with many young people that enjoy music in the scenes listed in the first paragraph. Citizen has never failed to bring something new and fresh to their discography after the release of their overwhelmingly positive reviewed debut album, Youth that is a personal favorite of mine and a favorite to so many of their fans. We can expected nothing else but fresh and new material much to the enjoyment of our listening ears. Citizen is going to use this next album cycle to solidify their place as one of the best bands in the scene today.
Bringing a list to you all that has my top 15 favorite bands I have seen live, I have seen all of these artists in person at either a festival or club setting. Hopefully those that check out this list can find some bands or artists on here they don’t really know and will check them out because they deserve the support!
15. Killswitch Engage
Active legends in the American heavy metal scene that were pioneers for modern metalcore today, they were a late in the day headliner on the second stage at Sonic Temple and they controlled the enormous crowd and had everyone entertained the entire time they were on stage.
One of the hottest up and comers in rock today that is taking the world by storm. His songs compel people through the melodies and lyrical content, his live performance is the cherry on top with his energetic and flamboyant persona taking center stage. Seeing him mid day at Sonic Temple was very refreshing because of his more modern take on rock music, a truly captivating artist.
13. Knocked Loose
One of the frontrunners in hardcore and metalcore today is Knocked Loose, having gained a huge following over the years due to their beatdown style of hardcore and influences from metal for guitar riffs. I saw them in the club setting in 2018 and was blown away by how tight these guys are and the crowd just ate it up entirely.
Probably the most eccentric band on this list is Avatar, these Swedish metal heads are killer on stage. Their music is intriguing, fun, intense, and all around great. Their outfits for stage are reminiscent of a circus ring leader and their makeup is classic metal looking makeup. Their performance is funny, theatrical, skillful, and enjoyable on the eyes. One of the most shockingly amazing bands that I saw at Sonic Temple 2019 and I can’t wait to see them again.
11. State Champs
State Champs is a band I have had the pleasure of seeing in both the festival and club show setting. In both scenes they bring the pop punk heat that we all want, always being so fun to watch and seemingly making perfect setlists of all eras of their band. Derek is an unbelievable front man and the rest of the band brings so much energy that radiates through the crowd every song.
One of the bands on this list that surprised me with how good they are live. Tobias Forge has a hauntingly infectious tone that makes his voice standout, the bands imagery and attire of the Ghouls draws attention from everyone in the crowd and their song sound perfect live. They were one of the best bands I saw at Sonic Temple 2019 and am itching to see them again.
9. Papa Roach
Papa Roach impressed me so much seeing them at Sonic Temple 2019, I was not expecting them to put on honestly, the second best set from all the headliners. For being around as long as they have been, they manage to still captivate audience members with ease. Jacoby Shaddix has a presence and energy that I have not seen besides himself. They opened with Last Resort and it was wicked, a set that I will never forget for sure.
8. Boston Manor
One of the smaller bands on this list, I saw three times in 2019 alone, the first at Sonic Temple 2019 where their crowd at the beginning had maybe 350 people but when I turned around at the end of their set there was more than 5,000 people watching. I saw their headliner shows in the US twice in the span of two weeks because they are just that good. Their modern alt-rock/pop punk sound makes everyone in the crowd bounce, run, and mosh like it’s instinctual. They are one band that I say everyone needs to check out. Also, they don’t do encores because that is corny, which I respect immensely.
7. Don Broco
Don Broco is huge over in the UK and their live shows give us the reason why, their songs were made to be played by these guys in front of huge crowds. I have seen them three times in both festival and club shows and they have blown me away each time, the whole set is nothing but dancing and moshing from the crowds. Rob Damiani has a unique tone to his voice that just draws listeners in. The rest of the band are true masters of their instruments that makes the live experience so much more enjoyable.
6. The Story So Far
Of course I have to put my favorite pop punk band of all time on this list. The reason they are on this list isn’t because they have this wild and crazy stage presence, quite the opposite actually. The Story So Far can stand completely still on stage and just play their instruments and Parker can sing the lyrics, but you look in the crowd and there will be thousands of people going nuts crowd surfing, moshing, and everything in between. My favorite club show of 2019 for sure goes to these guys.
Beartooth is the band I have seen live more than any other band and for good reason. Their recorded music is one thing but seeing them live is a whole other experience. I don’t feel more at home than in the crowd for Beartooth playing a set. Caleb Shomo is a legend and his vocal and stage presence shows that. Anyone that is considering seeing them live, do not hesitate. Go the very next chance you get, it will be unbelievable and you will not want it to end.
4. Breaking Benjamin
I have had the pleasure of seeing Breaking Benjamin once so far and it was an amazing show. The crowd was huge and singing along to every word of the long set they played for us. Benjamin Burnley has one of the most distinct voices in rock music, his voice carries, he has a beautiful tone, powerful scream, and it sounds just like recording live. Their production is intense and full of pyro which will always get them bonus point from concert goers.
3. Greta Van Fleet
Greta Van Fleet put on one of the most inspiring live performances I have ever seen. Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan. Their set finished at right around 3 hours of pure rock and roll goodness and magic. The Kiszka’s and Danny Wagner are four unbelievable musicians that are some of the best I have ever seen perform. Like a lot of other artists on this list, their music was meant to be heard live. These guys are as rock and roll as they come. Anyone that doesn’t listen to these guys needs to change that right now.
2. Motionless In White
I will forever say that Motionless In White is one of the best live bands of all time. They have a sound unique to their own and in the metalcore world that is something truly special and you can only get the full affects of that seeing these guys live. I knew they were going to be good when I saw them but I didn’t expect them to be as good as they were. Chris Motionless is quite possibly the best frontman in metalcore today and his vocals live are amazing both singing and screaming, he tops the charts.
No surprise here, Dave Grohl is a deity in rock music. It was scarring in the best way possible when I saw him walk out on the stage at Sonic Temple. Seeing each member of the band come out to stage was jaw dropping, living legends came out to rock for two hours with no remorse, they wanted to rock us until we dropped dead. Their set was high energy, tight, and mind-blowing. I will never forget that set, it was the perfect end to a festival weekend. I do not think there will be a band I can see that will top what Foo Fighters did that night.
This Sunday we are spotlighting Philadelphia’s newest stars in the scene, Grayscale. Formed in 2011, the group currently features lead vocalist Collin Walsh, lead guitarist and backup vocalist Andrew Kyne, rhythm guitarist and backup vocalist Dallas Molster, bassist Nick Ventimiglia, and drummer Nick Veno. The five piece, has released three EP’s and two full length albums since their formation in 2011, in 2017 they announced their signing with label, Fearless Records. Soon after, they released their debut full length, ‘Adronment’ which came along with great reception and praise from all who gave it a listen. They have since released another full length that came with mixed reviews from fans. They have also made a name for themselves because of their high quality and popularity of merchandise.
Grayscale has toured a good amount over the years and have begun headlining shows in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Some bands they have toured with include, WSTR, Belmont, State Champs, Jetty Bones, Mayday Parade, The Maine, Real Friends, Four Year Strong, and Boston Manor. Along with support and headline tours, the boys have played a lot of festival slots at festivals such as, the Vans Warped Tour, Sophomore Slump, Sad Summer, Snowed In, Four Chord, Slam Dunk, and Riot Fest. They draw in consistent crowds with excited fans that will always have a good time during their sets.
Grayscale has made a name for themselves in the past few years and their next few years in their career are going to be dedicated to solidifying their place as heavyweights in the music scene. They are going to continue being on top of the mountain with merchandise and their musical sound will continue to develop and their fanbase will grow. This band has a formula figured out that a lot of other bands have not figured out quite yet which is giving them a distinct advantage when it comes to getting their names out to those who don’t listen to them already. A truly unique and captivating band that has put on a good show every time I have seen them and would recommend them to anyone that is looking for new bands to listen to.