Dashboard Confessional stopped at Emo’s in Austin, Texas, on February 10 with support from Vinyl Theatre and This Wild Life. See all photos from the show here.
Photos by Jenna Million.
I caught The Front Bottoms’ tour with Brick + Mortar and Diet Cig in Austin, Texas, on April 28 at Emo’s. The Front Bottoms signed to Fueled By Ramen in 2015 followed by the release of their third studio album “Back on Top” in September. This year The Front Bottoms are making the rounds at festivals such as Coachella, Bumbershoot, Lollapalooza and Shaky Knees among others.
See all photos from the show here.
The Maine playing in San Antonio, Texas, on March 6. Photos by Jenna Million.
The Maine was one of my first concerts in my teen years in 2011. It was the first time I saw one of my favorite bands. It was the first time I waited outside a venue with my mom to meet the band, and the first time I got a t-shirt autographed. (It’s probably still sitting in the back of my closet.) A year later they were the first show I photographed. They were the band that introduced me to new friends, who became my concert friends for years to come.
Over the years I grew up, listened to new music and had new friends. I leaned away from the pop-punk and teen angst, but I never stopped listening to The Maine. After attending two of their shows in the past six months, it is apparent that many of their fans had the same experience as I did. We grew up with this band. We found solace in this band. And now when we see this band, it’s like coming home.
I think this feeling resonates to deeply with fans because it’s one that The Maine repeats over and over. John O’Callaghan sang it in “We’ll All Be…” – “All we needed was some good friends / And a song to sing along / …And for the first time, I feel less along / And for the first time, I can call this home.” And he said it again in “Another Night on Mars.”
After all, “What’s another night on Mars? / With friends like ours / Anywhere is home.”
I was The Maine for the 10th time on Sept. 24, and it was one of my favorites. They performed American Candy front-to-back with a few oldies at the end before the finale of “Another Night on Mars.” Lyrically this album has a lot of great songs with the comfort of The Maine’s classic sound. While there were new fans in the crowd, many veteran fans were singing along to American Candy just like they did when Can’t Stop Won’t Stop was their favorite album back in the day.
The show landed in between dates of The Maine’s Free For All Tour, in which they play malls and other odd venues entirely free for fans. It’s all because of the fans that the band can continue to make music and tour. The tour is a way for The Maine to thank the fans for all they’ve given them over the years. To supplement the free tour, they sold tickets to special shows where they performed their most recent album American Candy in its entirety.
See all photos from the show here.
Future Hearts Tour stopped in Austin, TX on April 29 at ACL Live’ infamous Moody Theater. State Champs, Tonight Alive and Issues opened the night for All Time Low. All photos can be seen on Flickr.
Starting the show, State Champs brought the energy to the stage, jumping around and head banging across the stage, never standing still. Fans reacted by cheering and jumping, giving the same energy back to the band. Singer Derek DiScanio slowed down the set for one song, performing “If I’m Lucky” solo on acoustic guitar. Fans got out their phones and turned on their flash lights to light up the Moody Theater. Fans roared as The New Yorkers ended the set with 2013 hit “Elevated” before handing the stage over for Tonight Alive.
Tonight Alive delivered an impressive pop-punk set. Jenna McDougall’s vocals ring out in a surprisingly clean and powerful tone, giving a unique face to the music. The band came on stage in all smiles, and remained that way throughout the set. Half way through the set, McDougall made the crowd repeat after her: “From this day, I refuse to live in fear of someone else’s judgement.” After several repetitions, she dedicated the song to the crowd before jumping into “What Are You So Scared Of?,” a 2010 release. From her delivery and the reaction of crowd, it was clear this song meant a lot to her and to Tonight Alive fans. Before the end of the set, she asked in her Australian accent, “Is anyone else feeling that good energy in the room tonight? It’s running through me.” The crowd cheered loudest of all, pushing the energy back at her before Tonight Alive ended the set with “The Edge.”
After signing to Fearless Records in 2010, Tonight Alive has gained huge popularity among pop-punk fans. At this rate, they are sure to stick around for awhile longer.
Issues continued the hype, brining hardcore to the otherwise pop-punk show. Clean vocalist Tyler Carter and unclean vocalist Michael Bohn ran around stage, taking turns singing and screaming. Bassist Skyler Acord was an impressive whirlwind of head banging and jumping, never standing still for more than a second. At one point, Bohn asked to see a circle pit, but with Austin’s laid back mentality, it was hard to tell whether that was a reality or not.
Nine years after releasing Put Up Or Shut Up EP and five albums later, All Time Low’s Future Hearts album went number one in the US. Released April 7, the album also went number one in the UK, number three in Canada, number four in Australia, and sold the most vinyl copies in the US and UK, gaining them the title of number one album in the world.
The Future Hearts Tour production was bigger than anything All Time Low has done in the US before. Their stage set-up and lights show surpassed their previous productions. While Moody Theatre feels like an intimate venue, the stage still powers over the audience. Banners hanging from the ceiling, several stories high, served as the backdrop for the show. During song changes, the top layer fell down to reveal a new layer with a new image, featuring images like the Future Hearts cover and the band members. All Time Low are known for their lights show. And thanks to their light engineer Jeff Maker, the light show went above an beyond, swallowing the stage in colors from green to red to purple and white.
For just having released Future Hearts, All Time Low’s setlist was surprisingly typical of the band. Opening with “Satellite,” the set featured only four other songs from the new album – “Runaways,” “Missing You,” “Something’s Gotta Give,” and “Kids in the Dark.” The rest of the set was filled with all of the usual hits and fan favorites like “Weightless,” “Damned If I Do Ya,” “Lost In Stereo,” and “Six Feet Under the Stars,” among others. And of course it wouldn’t be an All Time Low show if they didn’t close with “Dear Maria.” As of April 21, it was announced that “Dear Maria, Count Me In,” So Wrong, It’s Right (2008), is now certified platinum, despite never receiving radio play. This comes after the news that “Weightless,” Nothing Personal (2009), went gold in Nov. 2014.
Despite the average setlist, All Time Low delivered the same, lively and fun set as always, interspersed with comical commentary from singer Alex Gaskarth and guitarist Jack Barakat. Bras, letters and hats were thrown on stage as gifts for the band. All the while, fans sang their hearts out, and jumped at the opportunity to be pulled on stage during “Time Bomb.” There was so much love in the room from and for the band, that there wasn’t a soul in the crowd that didn’t go home satisfied.
Austin, you crushed all my expectations tonight! So good; Like sex n' candy.. And other Marcy's Playground songs.
— Alexander William (@AlexAllTimeLow) April 30, 2015
See all photos from the show on flickr.
I arrive at The Parish on a warm Tuesday evening. It’s always weird to see 6th St. not overrun with massive crowds of partygoers, but even with the street empty, there is already a line at the venue of eager fans waiting for the show.
I meet their manager in the back alley and we go into the venue through the back door. Vinyl Theatre is hanging out in a small lounge area with food and drinks. The manager introduces me to the guys and singer Keegan Calmes offers me a water bottle before we sit down and start talking. The guys mention how much they love Austin, as it’s their second time here. The first time was with twenty one pilots, but this time around they’re on tour with Magic Man.
I dive into the interview with the four-piece band. Hailing from Milwaukee, WI, singer and guitarist Keegan Calmes, keyboardist Chris Senner, bassist Josh Pothier and drummer Nick Cesarz knew each other growing up and many of them played instruments from a young age, but they officially formed the band in 2012.
They explain how they first found exposure on the Internet. Says Cesarz, he had the idea to release singles on SoundCloud, a music-streaming platform, over a period of weeks, allowing for each song to trend from continuous plays. “Almost unexpectedly we, like, cracked the algorithm,” says Calmes. Not only did the SoundCloud tactic cater to Vinyl Theatre’s online fan base, but it allowed them to reach new listeners from their songs trending on the site.
Around the same time, Fueled By Ramen expressed interest in the band and flew out to see Vinyl Theatre play in Cesarz’s parent’s basement. “We were just scared out of our minds,” says Pothier. “It’s the place we practiced for years and then these hot-shot record label people were just sitting there in front of our practice space just listening to us.” With a lot riding on this one performance, they say they could see their fate in front of them. “We kind of knew after that meeting that this could be it,” says Calmes. “It was kind of exciting and terrifying at the same time.” It’s a huge milestone for anyone to be signed to a label with artists like FUN. and Paramore. But Vinyl Theatre didn’t get there over night.
Their initial set up was unconventional, to say the least. With Senner and Cesarz going to college in Wisconsin and Calmes in Colorado, the three wrote over Skype and sent each other song files that each would contribute to separately. “I’d have no say in what happens with the drums,” says Calmes. “It would just come back with a full drum track done, which was cool ‘cause it was always a surprise.” Sometimes that was it, and sometimes they went back to the drawing board. They made the long distance work but knew it couldn’t stay that way if the band got serious. In the back of their minds they were prepared to pick up and leave everything to dedicate their pursuits to the music. “Eventually, the passion between the three of us became so strong for the songs that we started to believe in them and believe in each other that we’d all quit,” says Calmes. The guys all nod in agreement, each reflecting on their personal experience and the unspoken pact that Calmes says bonded them. And the pact ultimately led to where they are today.
With the addition of Pothier, and Calmes moving back to Milwaukee, the writing process also became more seamless. “We started to write with that whole one-minded feeling of, you know, everybody spellchecks for everybody else, and we give each other great ideas,” says Calmes. After signing with Fueled By Ramen in 2014, the band returned to the studio to record Electrogram, their first full-length album. Coming in with more experience, the band was able to give more attention to the songs, creating what they noted as a more mature and intricate sound.
The four each bring different musical tastes and influences to the table from The Killers to Blink-182 to electronic dance music. They all learn from each other and are able to craft their electronic pop-punk sound. Their sound defies genres, fitting more along the lines of twenty one pilots, a new wave of punk and electronic infused rock. “Our feeling of creating something original in a world full of noise is really tough,” says Calmes. “You just kind of find solace in the fact that whatever you do make, you share it with a unique group of people.”
Electrogram is representative of the band – it tells the story of their bond and their passion for music, something they hope to share with fans. “We want people to get excited about life and their passion, cause so many people will chase after something half-heartedly, and… we always feel like you should go all in,” says Calmes. Clames says the band would not have felt true to themselves if they didn’t stop everything else to make Vinyl Theatre their focus.
As a band that hadn’t done much true touring, opening for twenty one pilot’s Quiet Is Violent tour in 2014 was a big accomplishment. “We couldn’t have asked for a better tour to be part of right off the bat,” says Senner. “They treated us, just, extremely well.” And not just as friends, but as touring professionals. It came with a bit of a learning curve, but they were helped by twenty one pilots’ band and crew who taught them how to interact with people at venues and on tour, and to always be efficient, on time and courteous. At the end of the day, they’re there to put on a show for the fans.
Wrapping up the interview, I look forward to the show that night. An hour later Vinyl Theatre takes the stage with smiles and an energy they like to call their own. While touring will give them the experience they need to fine-tune their performance and channel their energy to reach the crowd, I look forward to hearing how their sound will be presented in new music. For now, Vinyl Theatre has an upcoming tour with Smallpools and a few radio shows on the calendar. The guys say they have a lot of new material to narrow down and look forward to a headlining tour in the future.
Magic Man’s spring tour is coming to Austin, TX on March 31, and they are bringing Vinyl Theatre and Great Good Fine Ok with them. The lineup is sure to make for a great show. Find out more about Vinyl Theatre and look for more coverage and photos coming next week!
Vinyl Theatre is an upcoming pop punk band from Milwaukee, WI. Taking a unique approach, Vinyl Theater released their album not on one day, but released individual tracks on SoundCloud over a period of weeks. Since fans would play the song non-stop, this strategy allowed each song to trend separately and reach bigger audiences.
The band bonded over their love for music and hope to share the same with their fans. Their sound is a mix of synth and electric guitar riffs accompanied by punk drum lines and sing-a-long lyrics.
The group toured with twenty one pilots last fall, are currently on tour with Magic Man, and will be joining Smallpools this spring. See a list of tour dates below.
For more information and tickets, go here.
March 29 – Dallas, TX at House of Blues*
March 30 – Houston, TX at House of Blues*
March 31 – Austin, TX at The Parish*
April 2 – Nashville, TN at The High Watt*
April 3 – Chapel Hill, NC at Local 506*
April 17 – Tulsa, OK at The Vanguard+
April 19 – St. Louis, MO at Firebird+
April 23 – Atlanta, GA at Terminal West+
April 25 – Washington DC, U Street Music Hall+
April 27 – Pittsburg, PA at Altar Bar+
April 28 – Philadelphia, PA at Union Transfer+
April 30 – Columbus, OH at Newport Music Hall+
May 05 – Cleveland, OH at Beachland Ballroom+
May 6 – Detroit, MI at St. Andrew’s Hall+
May 9 – Cambridge, MA at Middle East Downstairs+
May 10 – New York, NY at Bowery Ballroom+
May 11 – New York, NY at Bowery Ballroom+
* on tour with Magic Man
+ on tour with Smallpools
Before The Maine heads out on their U.S. tour in support of their new album, American Candy, they stopped in Austin, TX for a showcase at South By Southwest. Night Riots and Pianos Become the Teeth joined them for a night of rock music. Go here to see all photos from the show.
Fans eagerly lined up hours before doors to get a spot at the free show at Emo’s. Pianos Become the Teeth, a Baltimore-based punk rock band opened the show, serenading the crowd with Brand New-esque vibes.
Dressed head to toe in black, Night Riots took the stage for an energizing set of alt-rock anthems. Their up-beat sound and use of synthesizers and poppy guitar riffs, along with driving drums and bass-line gives their music a playful undertone. Charismatic frontman Travis Hawley commanded the stage in his jean jacket and leather gloves, flipping his hair and dancing. Hawley’s hauntingly sweet vocals add a unique face to the music, akin with bands like The Killers and Muse. Guitarists Nick Fontinakes and Matt DePauw shared their turn in the spot light, shredding the guitar during solos. Even fans of The Maine were impressed, leaving the show with a new favorite band to listen to.
Finally The Maine took the stage to play old songs for adoring fans, and showcase new ones. Starting out with “Miles Away,” a recently released track off of American Candy, fans went wild, singing every word. The Maine went straight into some old favorites, mixing it up with two new ones “Hair” and “English Girls.” As always, The Maine delivered a solid set, showing off their maturity and refined rock sound since their earlier pop-punk days.
With Pioneer (2011) and Forever Halloween (2013), The Maine crafted a guitar-heavy rock sound. From the sounds of “Miles Away” and “English Girls,” they will keep the rock ‘n’ roll vibes, embellished with signature distorted guitar riffs. American Candy is sure to please fans, and hopefully will open new doors for the band to reach new audiences.
American Candy is set to release on March 31 and is available for digital, CD and vinyl pre-orders here.