We’re going to make it nice and easy. Here are 17 acts from Hangout Festival that you may not have heard of, but should definitely check out.
BY NINA JOHNSTONE
New Found Glory has been in the music world long enough to know how to always bring a riotous show.
Continue reading Live Photos: New Found Glory at the House of Blues
Never one to disappoint, So Cal favorites The Used rocked the San Diego House of Blues to a packed and spirited full house! Continue reading Live Photos: The Used at the House of Blues
Taking Back Sunday has been through a whirlwind over the past few years, Continue reading Live Photos: Taking Back Sunday
State Champs have been a driving force in the pop punk music world for years, and they’re keeping the momentum alive with their new tour, opening for New Found Glory. We spoke with the band about what music they just can’t live without, and the changes they’ve seen for pop punk as a whole.
TheIndieSD: You guys are in the middle of a really exciting tour that even includes some amazing festivals! What has been your most memorable performance on tour so far?
State Champs: We played BLED FEST in Howell, Michigan and it was amazing. The fest is held at an old school. We played in a classroom on the floor and it was intense. Kids piled in until they literally couldn’t fit anymore kids in the classroom and once we started everyone pushed forward and Derek was fighting to keep kids from toppling amps and keep himself from crashing into the drum kit. Needless to say, it was amazing. Those intimate sets are generally the most memorable and fun!
TISD: Speaking of memorable moments on tour, what has been your most memorable show ever? Have you had any embarrassing experiences on tour?
SC: One of the most memorable shows for me was our first time at chain reaction in Anaheim, CA. It was our first time in SoCal and kids set it off for us. To go to an area for the first time and have kids screaming your words and throwing their bodies off the stage to your music is unparalleled. There’s a bunch of other memorable shows but this one just came to my mind. As far as embarrassing experiences? Sure, sometimes rip your pants jumping or lose your balance and fall into a wall or smash your microphone into your own mouth. :(
TISD: How have you been enjoying touring with Cartel and New Found Glory?
SC: It’s been unreal. To be able to tour with bands we’ve looked up to for years is so crazy. They’re all incredible people and great musicians that we have a lot to learn from! I’m still not sure if it’s clicked yet that we’re out here playing alongside these bands. I’m sure when I look back ill be like “0.0 that happened.”
TISD: So, I’m assuming you’re fans of Cartel and New Found Glory!
SC: Yes we are!
TISD: What is your favorite song by these artists?
SC: Cartel – anything off of Chroma, “Faster Ride”, “Deep South” and “Let’s Go”. New Found Glory – everything.
TISD: What can you not live without while on tour? What do you always bring with you or always have to have?
SC: I can’t live without my ear plugs, my laptop, my iPhone, and a book. Being able to block everything out and staying occupied will help you keep you sane on the road!
TISD: What is in heavy rotation on your playlists right now? What artists or bands can you just not live without?
SC: My playlist for this tour includes The Menzingers, American Football, Nirvana and Promise of Redemption. That’s just me though! We listen to a wide variety in the van. Everything from Coheed and Cambria to Juicy J to Valencia to Skrillex.
TISD: You guys describe yourselves as a “DIY Pop Punk Band”. How did it feel to be signed by Pure Noise Records?
SC: It feels good? Haha. PNR is a very family based operation. It’s literally one guy. It’s great because he lets you be yourself. He doesn’t try to tell you how to sound or what to do or how to look. Pure Noise also lets us have a hand in stuff like our album art and pre-order options and stuff like that. Nothing is predetermined for us. Sky’s the limit!
TISD: Being in the genre for quite some time, how do you feel about some of the changes in the bands and styles of pop punk?
SC: I feel like they’re good because things need to evolve to remain relevant. If everything remains the same, why would anyone even start new bands? I think some of the current pop punk bands are the best in the genre (not to discredit any older bands!)
TISD: Do you see and feel a difference when performing on the east coast as opposed to the west coast? Do you think west coast audiences are more excited for pop punk, or is it relatively equal?
SC: It all depends on what city. Some of the better shows we play on the east coast (providence, RI. Albany, NY. NYC) compare to SoCal shows or Seattle shows. I’d say it’s relatively equal!
TISD: Pop punk is a really fun genre that creates very dedicated and appreciative fans. Do you see the band continuing in the same direction, or do you plan to branch out into other, sometimes hardcore influences, like some other pop punk bands in the business?
SC: If we’re going to be branching out, it would be in the poppier direction. While we love hardcore, the poppier side just makes more sense for us.
TISD: I love the album, Apparently I’m Nothing. It plays on some very smart and deep elements. Can you tell me about your writing process for that album? Did you take any different approaches when creating the material for Overslept? (Overslept is really good too, by the way!)
SC: AIN was written when I was 18-19. I didn’t exactly know what I was doing I was just trying to write songs while balancing college and a job. With Overslept, I spent a lot more time trying to write better songs and paid attention to keys and drew from a wider set of influences.
TISD: Your music tends to talk about feelings and emotions in a completely relatable way, as opposed to some genres which make music about very over the top themes (wealth, fame, adventure, etc.) Do you feel that it’s important for music to be relatable to the listener?
I don’t think it’s extremely important. Personally, I find it more appealing when I can relate to it though. However I do like songs that I later found out were ghost written or not actually true stories. They kinda lose their touch but I still like them!
According to their official blog, State Champs recently finished a full length album. While you patiently wait, check out this video playlist of the EP Overslept.
Say that five times fast! Or, you could debate on the common themes of “I don’t want to grow up” and “You can’t make me become an adult” — both of which are predominantly explored all throughout the pop punk genre.
I have a theory that certain music genres carry certain emotional themes. Dance music is probably the most straight-forward example of this. If you’re going to be dancing, you should probably be dancing to songs that sing about parties, nightlife, bottles, VIP service and other things associated with living life like there’s no such thing as daylight. It’s almost like being on a dance floor with your very own soundtrack playing in the background. And that’s because, if you don’t feel like the most important party goer ever when you’re listening to the latest Electro hit, then they’re probably not doing their job correctly.
On a more complex level, the same is seen with earlier genres of music, such as hymns. They served a very specific purpose of being able to communicate scripture to church patrons in a way that was musical (and thus very easy to memorize). Furthermore, Blues is one of those genres that not only has very specific moods and emotions behind it, but it was also named solely after that mood! (“You’ve got the blues” becomes a commonplace description of life, not just a type of music.)
Getting back to the point at hand, pop punk does the same as its musical genre brethren. You commonly find what I like to call the Peter Pan Pop Punk Situation, or PPP…PS for short. I’m still working on the name. The idea is that pop punk represents a supreme belief in being young forever. No rules, no authority. No adult life situations. All adventure, all the time.
Even sad and mature themes in pop punk music have a “Oh well, that’s life and I won’t let it get me down or change me” vibe to it. Pop punk kings Blink-182 dive into the subject of broken homes in their song “Stay Together For the Kids”, which is surprisingly sung from the child’s perspective — even though at the time of its release, singers Mark Hoppus and Tom Delonge were both married and later became fathers that year.
My most recent example and admiration is State Champs, whose lyrics are associated to the everyday angsty, uncertain, and adventurous aspects of young adult life. A Tumblr search of the band will find lyrics about everything from heartache to sheer defiance, such as:
“So they say, there are shades of grey in a lifetime. If that is so, I’ll let you know that I am looking on the bright side.”
and in another song,
“We’re growing up, but I’ll stay young, even if it kills me.”
Lyrics that would make Peter Pan very proud, indeed.
Recently resurrected punk act New Found Glory has shown that they still yearn for the “We will never grow up” and the “We will never fall in love” ideals that first skyrocketed the band back in the 90s. They’ve built a heavy repertoire of heartbreak songs and yet few of these songs will actually break your heart. New Found Glory’s approach to bad relationships is very relatable to a young adult or a teen, as they take a “Oh well, I’ll move on” approach to relationships — something that we often tend to do as we get old enough to want independence, but still young enough to not worry about finding Mr. or Mrs. Right.
It’s lyrics like these that keep that youth spirit alive, and one of the reasons why pop punk can be inspiring and revitalizing. We listen to a lot of music not because we can relate to the lyrics at that exact moment in our lives, but because music is simply the soundtrack to our lives. We are attracted to the songs that embody all the emotions with which we’re already all too familiar. Whether that feeling is nostalgic to a time when we were young and alive! Or whether that feeling is the hope of finding a love that won’t shatter our hearts.
So, despite having a mainstream career that can be compared to the very short-lived and short-loved nu metal, why is pop punk still so popular? Musical vets like New Found Glory prove that you can continue in this genre, based merely on the dedication of its fans. (They even launched a “Pop Punk’s Not Dead” tour back in 2010!) My theory relies on that young-at-heart stance that this genre always pulls out. Its fans will always listen, because they will always be able to relate to that feeling of living life to the fullest with little to no regrets, no matter what age. Or as State Champs say in their single “We Are the Brave”: “Well these days are only getting longer, when everyday we’re only getting stronger.” Stronger, indeed.
If you want to see and feel these lyrics for yourself, State Champs is now on tour with New Found Glory and Cartel, and will be opening up for NFG at the House of Blues, San Diego this Friday. Check out this link for tickets and info.
Check out these photos of Imagine Dragons when they performed at their SOLD OUT San Diego House of Blues show.
With a band name that is oddly appropriate, Imagine Dragons churned out an energy packed show that was almost tribal in nature, backed by a “magical forest” of lights and stage design, which conveniently illuminated different colors to match the mood of each song. It was like being in a Pixar movie about tree spirits who play dance music and occasionally paint with all the colors of the wind. It may be hard to imagine, pun intended, so the photos below will do a much better job of showcasing the brilliance that is Imagine Dragons.
Photos by Christian Rodas, Soul Venture Productions.
Click photos to launch full-screen.
- Imagine Dragons’ nearly sold out tour is our Guilty Pleasure of the Week (theindiesd.com)
- Imagine Dragons – review (guardian.co.uk)
If you were looking forward to seeing up and coming indie darlings Atlas Genius and platinum-selling Imagine Dragons perform live this year, you might have to wait until next season — seeing as how the bands have currently sold out 19 dates on their tour. But there may be one more chance for Southern California to enjoy these two acts live…
I don’t think I could have predicted the amount of sold out dates on the Atlas Genius and Imagine Dragons tour this year, but it’s quite shocking. Hearing that the House of Blues San Diego was sold out made since: the venue really isn’t that big and these two bands are quickly outgrowing the smaller digs that they’ve selected for their tour. But upon further inspection, one will find that the bands have also sold out at least 19 dates, including shows in Boston, Portland, Anaheim, Canada and two dates in Chicago. Yowsa!
Tickets are still floating about on ticket resellers such as StubHub, which is great if you have anywhere between $114 to $350 to spare on one ticket alone. For most of us, that’s a little too steep for one night of fun, regardless of how much buzz these bands have generated. These resellers bring up the question of ticket scalping, making me wonder if this is some sort of inside job to monopolize the indie market on these bands. Ticket scalping is infamous for targeting big acts and major sporting events, but for two indie bands? It seems a little improbable. Or maybe that is my conspiracy theory side getting the best of me.
Regardless of all of this, there are still at least two chances for the Southern California crowd to see Imagine Dragons and Atlas Genius sometime before 2014. Tickets are still currently available for Santa Barbara and Bakersfield tour dates — and at the regular, face value price. That is, if you want to drive the approximate three hours to see them perform. (Honestly…I would and just might!)
But if those dates will turn out anything like the beginning of their tour, the tickets are sure to be gone very quickly.
In the meantime, there’s always the internet to quench your indie thirst for these two great acts. And with today’s release of Atlas Genius’ well anticipated full length album When It Was Now, you have all new goodies from this band, just waiting to be devoured.
Let us know in the comments below if you plan on attending one of the tour dates for Atlas Genius and Imagine Dragons!
Imagine an intergalactic spaceship has crash landed in the middle of the House of Blues, and there in front of you are five out of this world dudes, emerging from the lights of their ship and the smoke of the crash, holding instruments and ready to rock out. At some point, one of them has to say “I will sing you the song of my people”, only it’s not an internet meme, it’s Minus the Bear.
That is how I can accurately describe the show that took place on Sunday. Lead singer Jake Snider barely revealed himself from the dense fog that clouded the stage before he started singing the first note of their first song. The lights behind the band created a surreal, warm halo of light that truly made me think the five musicians were some sort of rock-music spacemen. It was, for all intents and purposes, the perfect setting for the sounds of Minus the Bear.
Just as the band made their way to California, I got the chance to speak with keyboardist Alex Rose on the phone. In addition to spilling his love for partying at the Casbah, Rose spoke about the tour, the process behind their new album Infinity Overhead and the possible future of Minus the Bear on the top of the charts.
theIndie: Minus the Bear has done a great job at maturing your music while still staying true to your unique sound. How does the band approach recording when you’re in the studio?
Alex Rose: “There was this sort of idea where Omni was us getting out of our comfort zone and…taking a little detour, and Infinity Overhead was getting back to the natural progression, getting back to working with our ex-member and long time friend Matt Bayles.”
theIndie: You previously worked with Joe Chiccarelli on Omni in 2010. Any particular reason why the band went back with Matt Bayles for this album?
AR: “We’ve worked with him on many albums and are comfortable with him. We all had a great experience with Joe and we learned a lot, and Matt’s learned a lot over the past five years since Planet of Ice. I think it was helpful to have someone who understands all of our personalities, and we could just kind of hit the ground running.”
theIndie: How have you been enjoying the tour with Cursive?
AR: “When you go on tour you want to make sure you have some solid homies around! When you acquire all these friends all over the country and sometimes all over the world, it’s nice to say ‘hey, for these six or seven weeks, we’re going to be hanging out everyday’. It’s great.”
theIndie: Minus the Bear has a reputation for selling out Pomona shows. Are you excited about the reception there?
AR: “It’s always a blast to play there. In addition to doing an L.A. show, it’s always nice to play Pomona. I prefer packing out the smaller venue.”
theIndie: I’ve noticed that Minus the Bear tends to feature songs that balance between love and tragedy. Do you agree?
AR: “Definitely, especially the newer ones. I think you’re right on the newer stuff.”
theIndie: So the band must be taking lead singer Jake Snider’s lyrics into perspective when creating your songs?
AR: “You would think, but a lot of times we will do the music first. So I’m sure [Jake] takes the music into consideration when writing. On ‘Lonely Gun’ for instance, we hadn’t heard the vocals until we basically recorded the whole song, and it was interesting to see that come together last minute. The band’s been working this way for awhile, it’s kind of always been music first. It kind of happens from the music up.”
theIndie: How much of a hand did you have in creating the story and the video for your single ‘Steel and Blood’?
AR: “Steel and Blood is talking about the volatile nature of relationships, not necessarily physically but just sort of emotionally. The director, Dan Brown, kind of went with that. We had some input on the ending, there were different options, and we made the decision to leave it a little open ended.”
Minus the Bear’s official music video for ‘Steel and Blood’.
theIndie: Infinity Overhead hit #31 on the Billboard charts, and both this album and your last album performed well on the Indie charts. Would it be in your interests to dominate the major Billboard charts in the future?
AR: “We don’t have sales goals, I think we just want to reach as many people as we can. And keep making interesting music that excites us and hopefully our fans will come on the journey with us.”
Well, this fan will come along; bags packed, ready for the journey. Minus the Bear is currently on tour, making their way to a homecoming show in Seattle, Washington. For more tour dates, check out their official site.