Reasons to Get Lit on the Lit AF Tour

lit

The Lit AF Tour was without a doubt LIT AF!

Philly was not only the eighth show of the tour, but the eighth SOLD OUT show in a row. That’s pretty big seeing as how next week marks only a year since the release of Polyphia’s second studio album, Renaissance.

This wasn’t my first time seeing the prog metal band perform live, but it was the first time I got to see them headline and I’m so glad that I did. There’s just something about an all instrumental tour that leaves you in awe.

Polyphia has put on a great show every time in my experience with Clay Gober’s nonstop energy and Tim & Scott’s seamless guitar shredding. Though Polyphia is known for their sweet guitar licks, it was even more fun to watch Clay Aeschliman’s kill it on drums.

Very pleased with their decision to incorporate some throwbacks (Transcend, An Evaporation, and Impassion) in their setlist for this tour. Amazed watching Clay A. master them all.

After hyping up the crowd with their old chuggy ways in a mosh, we got to witness the song Aviator played with featured artist Jason Richardson.

The former Chelsea Grin guitarist did a bang up job with Luke Holland (solo drummer) right before Polyphia’s set. Fragment was a crowd fave and I am now a fan. He made the decision to use a vocal recording of Spencer Sotelo of Periphery during Retrograde, which kind of hindered the sound quality, but overall he was very entertaining to watch. Especially with his makeshift platform (a crate) allowing everyone to get a direct view of his singing guitar.

In the same realm of mythical singing guitars, up-and-coming math rock band, Covet is giving it their all this tour.

You could hear the crowd reacting with gasps to some of Yvette Young’s tapping skills during the performance of their newest song Ares [watch]. We also got the privilege of hearing an unreleased and quite catchy song that I’m sure we all can’t wait to see drop.

I was most thrilled to finally see these Cali natives on the east coast and I hope it’s not the last.

Overall it was a fantastic show with such an array of talented musicians. They are all extremely humble and super engaged with their fanbase. If you have yet to check out any of these bands, I would strongly advise catching them in your town. You won’t be disappointed. Check tour dates.

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“Don’t Do Math Rock Kids” – TTNG

Too bad theres no Olympic gold to be won for writing songs with crazy complex time signatures or TTNG (This Town Needs Guns) would probably be taking it home.

When You're Trying to Figure Out the Time Signatures in a Prog Song

Currently on tour to promote their new album Disappointment Island, I finally got to bear witness the mathematical genius at The Foundry in Philadelphia this past Sunday.

On said island of disappointment was the drop of Giraffes? Giraffes! from the line-up, as they played only select shows and had just played with them in NY the night before. On the bright side, we got to experience LITE, a 4 piece instrumental band with lots of stamina and great collaboration. It was definitely something watching Jun Izawa slapping away at that bass. Very groovy vibe and worth a listen.

Lots of laughs and crowd interaction during TTNGs set. Beginning with Henry, bass/guitarist, telling us that Bush had been unknowingly touring with them, since he’d heard them playing at the same venue for 2 consecutive nights, with gratitude that we chose them of course.

Great choice of setlist and much excitement with the performance of +3 Awesomeness Repels Water, which they were able to play with help from a fill in (Henry of Mylets) since TTNG lost a member. Another oh sh*t moment during I’ll Take the Minute Snake, when Henry doubled up with a guitar and bass at the same time all while singing.

Henry of TTNG

The infamous quote of the night sparked when Chris Collis (drummer) couldn’t get the timing right and their unanimous confusion on where to jump back in caused them to start from the top. Understandable seeing as how their signatures bounce around within songs, it was evident to blame it on the genre.

“Don’t do math rock kids, it’s dangerous” – Henry Tremain

The crowd completely unaltered by the mishap was fully engaged in the comeback, once they were all on the same page. They ended with the perfect song 26 is Dancier than 4 to show just how clever math rock can be, 26 really is Dancier than 4/4.

Overall great show with valuable lesson learned.

Railing Collapses at Snoop – Giraffes? Giraffes!

While some 40+ people were busy collapsing before two stoners in Camden last night because of a railing incident, real music was being played in the heart of Philadelphia at the Boot & Saddle, on Broad St.


Headliners Giraffes? Giraffes!, a two piece math rock instrumental band, killed it last night, leaving none injured and minds blown. Kudos to the line up as well, Flyermile & Cavewomen for great energy and vast entertainment.

Giraffes? Giraffes! has been putting in some serious work lately coming up with new material while on their summer tour with other insanely good headlining band TTNG (This Town Needs Guns).

Feeling the crowds love for this genre is a must witness experience. Not only did they play with devotion, smiles  during every song, each was played to the T, barely being able to decipher the live version from the album.

Seeing Kenneth Topham (drummer) play as hard and continuous as he did barely taking a breather was admirable beyond belief. Known for his unique set including symbols of varying sizes, two high hats, a set of interesting bells, pedals,
a tambourine…the works, it was amazing to see him put it all to use.

Would be totally wrong in saying Ken stole the show with Joe Andreoli equally as engaged with his capo and bow use on an electric guitar, magically working that fret board.

This duo is absolutely phenomenal to watch live, I’m so glad I’ve finally got to see them, hopefully not the last time.

Kickass Comeback, Thrice @ The Fillmore in Philadelphia

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After 4 years of hibernating, Thrice was able to make a comeback picking up right where they left off. This time around perfecting their sound, growing their fanbase, and topping Billboard charts with To be Everywhere is to be Nowhere.

Though kicking off their first tour since 2012 to push out their newest album, long term fans can still reminisce with their chosen setlist. Some songs including In Years to Come (off their second album, The Illusion of Safety), The Artist in the Ambulance (song titled after their first major label album), and a handful of tracks from Vheissu (their 05′ release).

Already half way through their tour, yet their performance at The Fillmore in Philadelphia was still highly spirited and one to remember. Fall tour dates have already been set, so if you haven’t seen them live, they’re definitely something to experience.

O’ Pope the Aftermath

O God the Aftermath Tour

Despite all of the hype this past weekend over the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia, a select few of us got to witness another memorable event staged by some very talented people.

All month we’d been getting updates from the news, twitter, and even the Voltage Lounge, letting us know that half the city would be gated off and locked down in preparation for Saturday’s “Papal”. Regardless of the announced traffic jams and bridge closings, fans that purchased tickets were still told of the shows happening.

Though the show did get a bit of an early start to try and beat the 10pm shut down, the line-up had plenty of time to wow the crowd. Bellehaven, The Ongoing Concept, Sleepwave, & 68 each got us that much more amped for our headliner Norma Jean. For those unaware, 68 is a duo comprised of Michael McClellan (drums) and former founding member of Norma Jean, Josh Scogin (vocals/guitar).

Of course, getting Scogin in the same building for a 10-year tour, it was bound to stir up some craziness. The best part of 68’s performance was its entirety felt like a personal jam session between the two. With Georgia roots, you wouldn’t expect to get anything other than that classic southern rock experience, a big performance and ear piercing guitars. Full of improvising, solos, drum fills, even a 2-minute freestyle as the stage crew ran in to replace the mic he had thrown out of excitement.

With little time left to play a full-length album, Norma Jean played well into the night without hesitation or calling it quits. From start to finish Cory Putman kept the crowd alive with sing alongs and advocated circle pits. In-between songs they expressed how grateful they were for those that quieted the naysayers and made it a point to be there and celebrate. You could even see Norma Jean glowing as they played, either from the thrill of being there or the really awesome light up kit Clayton Holyoak killed it on. The band kept it amazing all the way down to Scientifiction, which rang out as they exited.

Of course the crowd wasn’t left satisfied, as pounds and chants called out for one more song. What seemed to take a bit too long, leading me to believe they hauled ass out of the city, they made it back on stage with an extra guest. You could’ve guessed they wouldn’t end the night without having its former member chime in at least once. They brought us back with Memphis Will Be Laid to Waste, from Bless the Martyr, Kiss the Child and what a crazy turn out. With Josh swinging from amps on one side to Clayton and Jeff Hickey battling it out with their instruments after the set was done. It was definitely worth the trip and a 10-year tour to remember.

If you were still traveling to make the show while things heated up, you may have missed a few bands worth mentioning.

Bellehaven, Australian natives, getting a taste of the US for this tour and showing off some of their work from their march release Everything Ablaze.

The Ongoing Concept, a progressive metalcore band with some Christian morale, had a decent following showing off their HandMade band merch.

Sleepwave, almost indistinguishable from Underoath during Disambiguation, still had some good sounds playing a few songs off their album Broken Compass.

Instant Gratification Tour @ Union Transfer in Philadelphia

Dance Gavin Dance

Tillian Pearson, Jon Mess, and Will Swan of Dance Gavin Dance

What energy we saw bouncing around on stage at the Union Transfer in Philadelphia this past Wednesday. Our intro to the Instant Gratification tour began with band Stolas.

Stolas

RJ Reynolds, Jason Weiche, Sergio Medina of Stolas

With such soul in their music, the first song played definitely gave me chills. I’m sure coming from such a lively place like Vegas, you learn a thing or two about how to draw a crowd in. With not a single dull break in their performance, it was filled with groovy bass lines and killer guitar solos. The double bass skill on drummer, Carlo Marquez, was definitely memorable.

Everyone’s ears seemed to perk up and the mashing began, once Hail the Sun hit the stage. We got a surprise crowd dive from lead vocalist Donovan Melero during their set, while their merch guy filled in on drums for a few songs. Even with all of that excitement, he was still able to hop back on his set, to finish up with their last song without loss of breath or skipping a beat. Kudos.
Polyphia

Clay Gober & Scott Lepage of Polyphia

The lineup just continued to amaze that night including band Polyphia, composed of two Texan guitar slayers, a lively bassist, and timely drummer. This band went right into my playlist after listening to their intro. A pause from vocals these guys let their guitars do all the singing on stage. Between the solos and the harmonizing this instrumental band was pretty intense.

All of these great bands built up to what we had been anticipating since the recent release of the new album Instant Gratification. Chants for Dance Gavin Dance started early and didn’t end until the stage lights cut off. We got to sing along to a few Downtown Battle Mountain throwbacks and it was amazing to see how familiar the crowd was with their new tracks so soon. On the Run was definitely a favorite of the night with their overlapping vocals towards the end getting everyone involved in the outro. Instant Gratification Tour CrowdWith such a soft voice and with as loud as it was, Tillian’s pitch still managed to pierce through the band’s performance. Keeping more composure than the other bands of the night, I would have liked to see a little more engagement. Overall the fans were pleased and having gotten through more than half of their tour, they still put on a decent show.