State Champs ‘Living Proof’ tour arrives at the Waterfront

Pop-punk was alive and well last night as New York’s own State Champs brought their Living Proof UK Tour to the Waterfront in Norwich with three support bands including Scottish band Woes, Aussie trio Stand Atlantic and Canadian five-piece Seaway.

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WOES

Edinburgh’s own pop punkers Woes kick started the evening and very much set the tone for the rest of the show by getting the crowd jumping and dancing around to the sound of their fun loving party vibes.

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Unlike a couple of the other bands tonight, this was not Woes first appearance in Norwich having previously played a headline show in the Waterfront Studio and they are clearly showing off all the experience they have gained from shows such as this by getting the crowd jumping and leaving an impression on a crowded bill where it could be easy to slip between the cracks.

Coming on stage to a decent crowd as they brought their charm with their lead singer connecting with the crowd from the off and their skills are tight together and finished their set in what they described as a sad song for their last song ‘Worst Friend’.

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STAND ATLANTIC

After a very quick switch over and sound check it was time for Australian band Stand Atlantic to take centre stage and launching into more pop punk goodness they didn’t take long to announce it was their first time playing in Norwich and you could see just a hint of nerves from lead singer Bonnie Fraser, but that soon dissipated as the crowd warmed to the group.

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Fraser however did a fantastic job at connecting with the crowd by pointing out her and her bassist David Potter’s slight fashion accident by both wearing the same clothing and how it wasn’t planned, they do however get bonus points as they were both repping Banquet Records.

As the set flew by their final song, “Coffee at Midnight”, had plenty of heads nodding and  singing along in the crowd as voices were starting to grow helping finish the final chorus as the band definitely made some new fans tonight and left a sense of excitement for what’s next.

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SEAWAY

On to the third and final support act of the evening Seaway jumped on stage and didn’t stop for their entire set as the crowd happily joined in mixing jumping, singing and the odd crowd surf doing everything they could to get closer to their pop-punk heroes.

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Lead singer Ryan Locke had the mammoth task of keeping the energy levels up and did so in superb fashion,  holding the crowd in the palm of his hand by constantly moving and lending his mic to fans at the front to join in a be part of the band, which the crowd took full advantage of by being fantastic backing singers whenever the band chose.

Energy levels stayed at a consistent high and truly lived up to the pop punk spectacle that the night promised to be, each support band made a good account of themselves each individually hyping the incoming headliners State Champs who were soon about to take the stage.

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STATE CHAMPS

And finally State Champs took us to the finale of this pop punk marathon of a show and boy did they deliver from the off. Boxes lined the stage as frontman Derek DiScanio led the crowd to the peak of the bouncy fun that makes a pop-punk show.  Aptly dressed in a Michael Jordan basketball jersey the whole band bounced to heights Jordan would be proud of.

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Rarely taking chances to rest the band streamed through fan favourites such as ‘Remedy’ and ‘Criminal’ whilst saving top hits ‘Elevated’ and ‘Secrets’ for their encore which left the crowd leaving on a bouncy high after dancing the night away with some of the hottest upcoming pop-punk bands in Woes and Stand Atlantic whilst partying with some at the top of their game in Seaway and State Champs.

 

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LIVE REVIEW: Against The Current + The Faim at The Waterfront

American pop rock band Against the Current brought their European Tour to the Waterfront in Norwich with support from Australian band The Faim as they prepare to release their second full length album “Past Lives” which is due for release on September 28.

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The Faim

All the way from Perth, Australia, The Faim kicked off the evening with a killer set. This young band have all of the ingredients to make it big with great stage presence, catchy hooks and great synergy between the band members who come firing on all cylinders from the get go.

They had the crowd instantly engaged, with drummer Sean Tighe being the big highlight from the set, who didn’t let sitting on his drum kit stop him from head banging, doing flicks and spins with his sticks.  Lead singer Josh Raven made the typical joke asking if he was saying Norwich right and said it’s a long way from Australia but the crowd made them feel right at home with the introduction.

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Vocalist Raven had the audience singing, and throwing their hands in the air throughout the set, new single ‘A Million Stars’ and their first single ‘Saints of the Sinners’ were the big highlight songs of the night with the latter being the one that stood out the most, filled with singalong choruses that got the crowd clapping in sync with the songs along with Raven’s soaring vocals that really connected and excited the quickly growing crowd.

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When Raven said they’re playing their last song, one of the members of the crowd shouted “What?!?!” But they said they’ll be back very soon! They finished with lead single ‘Summer is a curse’ from their debut EP that left everyone on a high and ready for Against The Current.

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Against The Current

Lead vocalist Chrissy Costanza came running on the stage full of energy, getting straight into ‘Strangers Again’ that got the crowd clapping and jumping along instantly with her charisma and excellent stage presence, Costanza’s powerful vocals had the crowd was invested from the off.

Costanza and co rocked the Waterfront with great melodies, memorable lyrics and a massive sound that made the crowd want to dance and sing along with older songs and new songs getting reactions from all over the venue as  she brought her impressive vocal range, banter, dance moves and crowd interaction.

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After a couple songs in Constanza said it’s real hot in here, and said “it’s a pretty good Wednesday, it is Wednesday right?” That got reaction from the crowd including one member saying they’re skipping college to see the American trio which the trio clearly couldn’t condone but were appreciative all the same.

Throughout the set Chrissy interacted with the crowd and spoke about her love for the UK television show Skins which she had binged and shared that her favourite character was Effy who see thought was the coolest and a person she wanted to be but mentioned see wasn’t the great role model.

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She also added that she was excited but nervous for their new album which wasn’t as easy to write then their debut album ‘In Our Bones’, before they played a yet to be released song ‘Coming Alive’ from their new album which was a slow paced song about being numb and not being the person you want to be.

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The slower songs were the big highlights with absolute gems ‘One More Weekend’, ‘Chasing Ghosts’ and ‘Roses’ showing off the interplay between the drums and the melodic guitars, and Costanza’s high notes that clearly took centre stage. Costanza showed her great stage presence and genuinely giving her all to an excited crowd which after tonight, will definitely be desperate to get their hands on the new record.

 

 

LIVE REVIEW: The Front Bottoms + The Smith Street Band + Brick and Mortar live at the Waterfront, Norwich

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Opening the night was Brick + Mortar, an indie rock/drum and base duo from Toms River, New Jersey and boy, can these guys bring on the party!

Although the band officially consists of frontman Brandon Asraf and John Tacon on drums, they were joined on stage by a friend of the band that took care of the visuals from props to the projections on the curtains. Having come prepared, with posters with each song’s name, gigantic purple hands to wave around, a pope outfit and a balloon filled with confetti notes, this was definitely a band that didn’t care they were opening the show, they were determined to make it their own!

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Filling the room with a youthful and upbeat, fun atmosphere, almost resembling a university party, Brandon was encouraging everyone to put their hands up or sing along. There was great energy during their entire set, which was helped along by the props they had, as you just didn’t know what was next. Though it’s difficult to decide on a highlight, the most fun seemed to be the song called “Terrible Things” to which Brandon gave an insight as to that mental health awareness was what inspired the surprisingly upbeat song. During this track, they had a big green balloon filled with confetti notes being passed around which was eventually popped by the drummer, John, what looked like, by mistake. Luckily, we were able to grab hold of one, which read: “When he finally leaves the room and you can finally fart” – yes, definitely one of the struggles of everyday life.

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All in all, Brick + Mortar were great fun! They have so much potential and am confident they will go on and be much bigger, if there ever was to be a headline tour on the cards, we will be first in line to see what they bring for it.

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The Smith Street Band

Soon to follow on from Brick and Mortar was Australian natives The Smith Street Band.

Looking back on it, the two support acts almost complement each other, as The Smith Street Band opened with a couple of mellow songs, which seemed like it was the quiet after the storm that was Brick + Mortar, especially with The Front Bottoms more closely similar to The Smith Street Band. Unfortunately their first song of the set ‘Death to the Lads’ which should have been one that the upbeat crowd could sing a long to, was hampered with technical issues with the lead microphone and the whole first song was drowned out by the band without any vocal.

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On the third track, however, they properly brought on the atmosphere and kept this up throughout their set. All members were enjoying themselves as well as the audience, with lead singer Wil Wagner leading the charge with bags of energy and passion that was infectious throughout.

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Despite the slight malfunction at the beginning and the numerous broken drum sticks, The Smith Street Band offered a great show with good balance between lighter and heavier tracks, ending on a high, with ‘Throw me in the river’ which was the perfect song to end their set.

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The Front Bottoms

Last but certainly not least, the headliners of the night – Enter the Front bottoms.

With a set up filled with haze, a projection screen on either side of the stage and play of lights worthy of a festival of lighting, low and behold the Front Bottoms start off the show with ‘You used to say (Holy F***)’ with an enthatic chorus ever one was in full voice to sing. The energetic atmosphere as kept up with every song, bringing the crowd alive.

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Their set list consisted of a mix of tracks, from upbeat to slower tracks, all catchy and easy to listen and sing along to. Symbolic to the sudden black screen at the end of a movie, they end the majority in full darkness.

Finally, I few songs in, lead vocalist, Brian Sella, checks if everyone is enjoying themselves and jokingly dedicates their following songs to random people in the crowd, before inviting everyone to the Wetherspoons up to the road for and afterparty. Sadly, due to transport, I can’t confirm if this actually happened in the end, but if it did, I’m sure it was great fun and wish we could’ve stayed. Definitely next time!

All in all however, The Front Bottoms provided a cracking evening, with Sella accurately proclaiming ‘Gotta love some Sunday night Rock ‘n’ Roll’!

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LIVE REVIEW: Hayseed Dixie + Emma McGrath live at The Waterfront

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If you are uninitiated to who Hayseed Dixie are, the only way to make sense of what you are about to read is to go listen, pick out any of their songs you find on Spotify, you might recognise a name that sounds familiar like, 7 nation army, Ace of Spades or Walk This Way, give it a listen and enjoy. That’s what the evening was all about, pure fun, enjoyment and some bloody good music.

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Emma McGrath

First up of the night was support act Emma McGrath, if talented acoustic music is your thing, then definitely give Emma a listen. Walking into the show as an almost unknown McGrath and drummer made the stage their own, displaying that she is full of personality just bursting to get out and a very talented performer who sings and can play multiple instruments.

The only downfall for Emma is the show itself, having her as a support artist to a band like Hayseed Dixie is just an odd combination and not one you would expect. Much to her credit though, she addressed the issue, simply laughing at the fact that they wouldn’t be the sort of band you would expect to see in support and pushed on to introduce herself to the crowd and show off exactly what she can do. If i’m ever to catch Emma McGrath live again I would hope it would be in a more suitable tour, either way though, the reception at the end of set was a signal that she won a fair few members of the crowd over. Keep an eye out for the name Emma McGrath, i’d expect and hope you’ll hear it again soon.

P.S. Train circumstances meant I wasn’t able to take photos, hopefully this can be corrected sometime soon.

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Hayseed Dixie

Well, where do I begin with these guys, it has to be one of the more casual, uncaring entrances to a show I have ever seen from a headline act. Most of the time you’d expect to see all instruments set up perfectly and have some dramatic music hit over the speakers as the band come out. Not Hayseed though. One by one they came onto the stage, the only thing set up before was the microphones, first up was lead singer John Wheeler and then gradually the rest, all with instruments in hand, placing their cases and alcohol to the back of the stage and one by one setting up their instruments. Something about how nonchalant this was just made me smile from the off.

Instantly their personality shone through, even before they started playing, as the rest of the band were setting up, singer Wheeler was just happily miming away to what ever country hit was playing over the speakers. They soon busted into their first song of the night and the talent on display was quite impressive, it didn’t take long before mandolin player Hippy Joe Hymas was off, I would easily equate him to being the Slash of the mandolin, that guy can play and he didn’t stop moving the entire set, he was going from pulling faces at members of the crowd to then just about giving the finger to everyone he made eye contact with.

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As they were roaring through their set, it was amazing to see how seamless they could go from one well known rock song to another, I couldn’t keep up with the amount of songs they fit into one, they would go from Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody to Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On to Rolling Stone’s Paint It Black in a flash, and it all fit marvellously in with one another, this happened so often this reporter just couldn’t keep up with all the different songs they steamed through one after another, fitting it all in together.

On the rare break in between songs, there was plenty of comedy on offer to, Lead singer John Wheeler just loved to chat away, interact with the crowd, one part in particular is making the entire audience whisper ‘F*ck yeah’ every time he said ‘THE America’ as well as casually took the piss out of both England and America. It’s a testament to the band that as this year will be their 18th birthday as they quickly pointed out ‘you can buy guns and have debt, but you can’t drink in America’ that they seemed to have this much enjoyment and energy on stage, if Hayseed Dixie are in town near you, I fully recommend going to one of their shows and just seeing it for yourself.

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Gallery – The Amazons and Pale White – The Waterfront – Norwich

Photos by Sam Dawes Photography

REVIEW – The Amazons – The Waterfront 2/10/17

After stumbling across the gem that is ‘Black Magic’ on Spotify, The Amazons had my attention pretty early and with the release of their debut self-titled album not long after, I walked into this show with high expectations for big riffs and a solid show from the Reading based quartet.

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The Pale White

Kicking off the night was The Pale White; another one of the bands that randomly found on it’s way onto one of my many playlists; unfortunately it wasn’t all quite smooth sailing for their first show of the tour, with technical difficulties interrupting them straight after their first song. From then on, sadly they lost the room, although playing songs such as ‘That Dress’ and ‘Turn it Around’ which are tracks that caught my attention, their lack of personality and presence on stage just made their set fall flat. It is still early days for the trio however, and I remain cautiously optimistic that this band will learn from these difficult early shows.

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The Pale White

With the Waterfront filling up to i’m sure was almost capacity, The Amazons took to the stage blasting through tracks ‘Ultraviolet’ and ‘Burn My Eyes’ quickly and bring the energy up to it’s peak of the evening. Whilst looking back from the photo pit, i’m sure I saw a mosh pit break out from the get go which for a band I wouldn’t consider witness many during their shows, it evidence enough to the energy in the room.

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The Amazons

‘Stay With Me’ their leading track from their debut album soon followed and had voices at full chorus along with them and it goes to show the quick rise in popularity of this band, which was then just reaffirmed with the crowd singing along to the breakdown riff during ‘Little Something’ with the band pausing taking in the moment.

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The Amazons

It was clearly a special gig for The Amazons, with front-man saying on a couple occasions about this being their first headline tour and with rounding off the first night of their UK tour with ‘Palace’ and ‘Junk Food Forever’ this is a band that is only going to keep going from strength to strength and will soon be filing much bigger venues as they go.  8/10

Check out The Amazons on the remainder of their tour:

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