After having Close The Distance for a week, I can already say this is the record Jason Lancaster was born to write.
This time, Go Radio take a more pop-rock route than gritty pop-punk - and it's the perfect direction for them. The songs exhibit Lancaster's ability to manipulate melodies and choruses in order to truly pack a punch. To accomplish this, song structure allows each song to build and grow into a chorus, making Close The Distance the most dynamic collection of songs Lancaster has written. Each song being penned in a way that builds anticipation for the hook. This is exactly how pop-rock music should be done - take notes.
I don't want to give away too much until my official review, but just know that if you're a fan of Go Radio's previous material, this tops that again and again. Whereas Lucky Street was a perfect balance of gritty - tracks like "Kill The Beast" - and sentimental pop-rock tunes - I'm looking at "Hold On" - Close The Distance eliminates the gap between the two, closing the distance, and has Go Radio going right down the piano-pop-rock path. This is the road they've been destined to take for years, and it's one that will put a huge smile on your face track after track.
I wasn't sure if Go Radio could top Lucky Street with the perfect Fall record, but Close The Distance is the record they've always been supposed to make - it's catchy, melodic, and meticulous. Come September, this is the record that will get the guys the attention they've always deserved.
Go Radio's sophomore record, Close The Distance, drops September 18th via Fearless. Listen to "Go To Hell" and "Collide"
Relient K’s Mmhmm was just about all my 10-year-old self listened to back in 2004. My neighbor had it in his stereo, and we played it on repeat for days on end. Five years later, Forget And Not Slow Down defined my sophomore year of high school, being probably my top played record in 2009. Now, each of those records holds a special place in my heart for various reasons, making me ecstatic to final see Relient K live and headlining, at that.
The night fired off with a bang as House Of Heroes took the stage. As expected, the guys stuck mainly to material from their latest record, Cold Hard Want. The opening “oh-oh-oh’s” of “Remember The Empire” kicked the set off on the right foot, with vocalist Tim Skipper dominating the crowd as he yelled, “So stand up / What choice have they given us / Fight with us.” Crowd favorite “Dance (Blow It All Away)” finished the set to a stunned crowd – the musicianship throughout the closing jam was unmatched – while “God Save the Foolish Kings” was just as massive live as I’d hoped it would be.
Armed with just two acoustic guitars, a mic, and a “band in a box” laptop, William Beckett took the stage next. Having admittedly only been a causal listener of The Academy Is – save for Almost Here around the same time as Mmhmm – I was interested in how Beckett would sound having the stage all to himself. Sure enough, he was full of bravado and confidence, having all the skill needed to command the crowd. The groovy “Compromising Me” proved the perfect opener, as a retro synth and electronic drum beat from the “band in the box” allowed Beckett to be in his element. He even played “About A Girl” to a crowd that sang every word right along with him.
The hip dudes in Hellogoodbye geared up on stage with a set of old-fashioned instruments. They played a longer set than expected – nearly ten songs – and were incredibly entertaining live. Their late more indie-ish sound really carried well live, making me remember exactly why I enjoyed Would It Kill You? so much back in 2010. “Getting Old” and “Coppertone” were tremendous standouts, as the gritty bass, fuzzy guitars, and snazzy keys – and even a tambourine and ukulele – made vocalist Forrest Kline feel right at home. The set was just as entertaining as any I’d seen, with the unique influence of each band member and rattle of every instrument expanding Hellogoodbye’s album sound to one that dominates a full-size stage in ideal fashion.
So, after three engaging opening acts, Relient K finally took the stage, with Matt Thiessen doing a nice little jog to the mic. The carefree frontman played the whole show barefoot, in fact, but wow was he in complete control. Perfect opener “Forget And Not Slow Down” led wonderfully into “Be My Escape,” making the crowd sure Relient K had the perfect set list planned. Older cuts like “Mood Rings” and “In Love With The 80’s” brought a huge smile to my face. The crowd’s screams of “Let’s get emotional” throughout “Mood Rings” resulted in possibly the loudest moment of the night.
House Of Heroes’ Tim Skipper helped the boys out throughout the set – I’d say on almost 5 songs, including the powerhouse of “Sahara” – while William Beckett joined to sing “Boomerang,” one of three new songs played. The new songs definitely have the band going in a different direction than what we’re used to – they worked with Evan Bogart on “Boomerang” if that tells you anything – but it’s the perfection direction for them. Two of the new cuts were upbeat and ridiculously catchy, while the tentatively titled new song “When You Were My Baby” could have fit perfectly on Forget And Not Slow Down, making me sure their new record will be diverse.
Finishing with “Savannah,” Relient K made sure the words “until then” were echoed throughout the crowd, making it the perfect finisher in every way. Relient K’s live show conveys its growth as a band over the last 15 years while still staying true to the same songs fans fell in love with over the years. All things certain, it’s safe to say their upcoming record could be their best work yet – and I’m saying that after only 3 live songs from it.
From the tremendously distinct opening acts to the four encores, this was a night to remember. If this tour comes anywhere near you, go. No ifs, ands, or buts, just go. It’s as simple as that. I promise you won’t regret it.
Growing up with Ocean Avenue in constant rotation in my stereo, Yellowcard have always held a special place in my heart. Seeing them on their headlining tour and on Warped Tour reminded me of all these memories.
Well, Southern Air is the accumulation of every Yellowcard release into one powerhouse of a record - think Paper Walls on steroids. There's a level of confidence here that is unmatched by any of their previous material. The opening track is everything we love about YC openers - huge chorus, massive build up, hooks galore.
This record just has it. It's easily the most…powerful and energetic record they've ever done - and I'm saying that after only a week of listening. Never thought they'd top Paper Walls, but Southern Air just feels huge, and it very well may with more listens. There's no other way to describe it.
The guest appearances all add different elements to the record, but the main thing I'm noticing here is how much more powerful the entire band sounds. Mackin's violin defines many moments, while the guitars and drums really affect the melody and mood of the songs - it's a full band effort in the best way yet. And Key has more confidence and power in his voice than ever before, as noted by how varied his range is this time around.
The album has addictive pop-punk tunes with gritty guitars, violin solos, songs that are more "pop" than anything YC have done, and a heartbreaking ballad - it has it all.
Simply put, this record is special. It could easily top Paper Walls as my favorite YC record, given time and experiences that tie memories to it.
August 14th isn't too far away, and Southern Air will surely be the soundtrack to most of our summers.
It’s safe to say I was more excited for Warped Tour this year than I’ve ever. Since I wasn’t able to experience the early 2000s glory years, 2012 was set to be my glory year for Warped Tour. With bands like New Found Glory, Yellowcard, and Taking Back Sunday on the bill, this was the best of the best.
The day started off heavy with Sleeping With Sirens. Having only been a casual listener of their records, I was very interested in how the guys would sound live. Sure enough, Kellin Quinn is even better live than on the record. His stage performance is full of bravado and prowess – he owns the mic. There’s a reason why Sleeping With Sirens is quickly starting to be one of the biggest bands in the scene, as “Do It Now Remember It Later” and “If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn” sounded massive live. Stay on the look out for these guys – they’re taking over the world.
Of Mice & Men were up next, and I was amped to finally see them live. Simply put, Austin Carlile is a maniac. Taking the stage with an American flag raised, the frontman had complete control of the crowd. Surprisingly, the absence of Shayley Bourget didn’t hurt the band at all; Phil Manansala and Alan Ashby helped out with the clean vocals in superb fashion. Carlile’s dad even crowd surfaced during “Second & Sebring.” Frantic and energetic, Of Mice & Men is a band that needs to be experienced live.
After OM&M, I quickly ran over to the “Acoustic Basement” tent to catch Transit’s acoustic set. I only caught the first half of the set, but the guys played a fantastic version of “Long Lost Friends” that had the whole tent singing along. Something about an acoustic guitar just fits Joe Boynton’s vocals perfectly. The “Acoustic Basement” stage is easily one of the coolest things about Warped this year, as it allows for a special environment, different than the norm of the tour. It’s intimate and inviting, so definitely check it out if you get the chance, especially if Transit is playing.
I unfortunately had to cut Transit’s set short to head back to the main stage for Yellowcard. This year marked the first time Yellowcard have been at Warped in many years, so this was definitely one for the books. Having already seen them live this year, I knew what to expect from the boys – and they of course delivered. From the always-memorable guitar on the opening “Breathing” to the last words of the classic “Ocean Avenue,” this was Warped Tour at its finest, and a blast from the past at that. The guys were full of more confidence than ever before, so it shouldn’t be any wonder why Southern Air sounds massive in every sense of the word.
After YC, I ran to catch what I could of Senses Fail, having never seen them live. Buddy Nielsen sounded incredible live (he absolutely destroyed “War Paint”). “Calling All Cars” and “Buried A Lie” really brought back memories of why I fell in love with this type of music in the first place. If you’re looking for a band that just knows how to rock, hit up the Senses Fail set and scream your lungs out. Senses Fail have yet to release an unmemorable record in ten years, and their live performance really echoes this.
I made sure to see Every Time I Die next, because quite frankly, their live show is insane. Keith Buckley is an absolute madman on stage – and off stage, as he roared on top of the crowd throughout the set. Ripping into “No Son Of Mine,” ETID’s set was as intense as you’d expect. “Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space” sounds even better live, with Buckley’s range dominating every second. This is a band that knows exactly what fans came to see – and they put on the show you’ve always imagined seeing. Mic swinging, crowd surfing, and furious screaming all dominate the set, leaving no room for mercy or reserve, just rock music.
I headed to the California decked out stage to see Pierce The Veil next. They had the biggest crowd they’ve ever had, so it’s safe to say the set was quite a treat. Kicking off with “Besitos,” Fuentes and crew sound even better live on the record, every time. The ax-men make the show all the more exciting, commanding the fret board while spinning guitars over their head song after song. “Bulletproof Love” was exceptionally inciting live, while “King for a Day” really showed the band’s growth since I’d seen them in 2010. Unfortunately, Kellin Quinn couldn’t make an appearance, because he flew home right after SWS’ set to see his newborn daughter – I think it’s safe to say he gets Warped Tour’s Father of the Year award. Having a girl come up to be serenaded with “Yeah Boy and Doll Face” and “Finishing with “Caraphernelia,” Pierce The Veil really put on a show, easily being one of the most memorable acts of the day.
After this set, I went back to my childhood to see New Found Glory, who sure enough opened with my childhood anthem “All Downhill From Here.” Clad in matching NFG uniforms and sporting their “Pop Punk’s Not Dead” backdrop, New Found Glory were in their element in every way possible. Sticking namely to old tracks – “Hit Or Miss,” Understatement,” “Something I Call Personality” were ideal cuts – the Pop-Punk Godfathers stayed true to their roots, even quickly covering “Basket Case.” There’s a reason New Found Glory still dominate the pop-punk scene, and yelling out the words to “My Friends Over You” at Warped Tour makes it clear why.
I traveled to the other main stage to finish the day off with All Time Low. It was my first time seeing them live, but I can understand why people compare their stage banter to that of Blink. Jack was sporting a “Boner” t-shirt, while the guys continuously had girls throwing bras up on stage to them. They were comical and entertaining, while their music sounded even better live than on the record, especially “The Reckless and the Brave” and “Time Bomb.” Their live performance just allows for more energy and youth. They did play “Jasey Rae” thankfully, making their set one for old and new fans. As one of the biggest bands in the scene today, All Time Low’s live show is one for the books.
Seeing all those bands – although I did miss Taking Back Sunday and Make Do And Mend – made me fully aware why I love music so much. It was my 2004, my glory year of Warped Tour. Growing up on Ocean Avenue and Catalyst made seeing bands like Yellowcard and New Found Glory play the main stage make me aware of why I fell in love with this music in the first place – it brings fans together on a scorching hot day in the sun to experience music. All the great bands playing the two main stages alone make this year’s Warped Tour worth going to, so get going.
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The Lucky Street Tour: Go Radio, This Providence, Tyler Carter, Ivory Lights
House Of Blues in Dallas, TX on April 18, 2012
After seeing Go Radio twice within the past year (once on Warped, once opening for Yellowcard), I was amped to finally see the guys on a headlining stint, as it’s about time they got a full-length set in. Sure enough, it was well worth the wait, as the Tallahassee rockers owned the stage.
Unfortunately I missed Ivory Lights set, so the first set I caught was Tyler Carter’s. Having not heard much about him since his departure from Woe, Is Me, I was very interested in how his solo performance would sound – think…Jonny Craig/Kurt Travis meets Top-40 pop radio (Justin Timberlake style). Sure enough, he didn’t sound half bad, as there’s no denying he has a mean set of pipes. He even did an a Capella song due to a technical error, nailing every note. Definitely keep a look out for what he has up his sleeve with his upcoming EP – and be sure to have an open mind.
Up next Seattle’s This Providence were up. Having only been a casual listener of the band, I was very impressed with their set – especially vocalist Daniel Young’s rowdy, powerful presence as a front man. The crowd went nuts for lush “My Beautiful Rescue,” as nearly everyone belted out the chorus. The gritty “Trouble” sounded huge live, as This Providence have that slick rock ‘n roll swag that fills the stage from end to end. Playing quite a few cuts off their rocking upcoming EP, Brier, the guys definitely had a lot to offer for their fans.
And then Go Radio took the stage to deafening sirens as they kicked off the set with “Lucky Street.” As always, Jason Lancaster had a commanding stage persona, full of energy and passion. Taking full advantage of their lengthy set – over an hour – they plowed through nearly every track on Lucky Street. They put the pedal to the metal on rocking jams such as “Redemption in the Verse,” “Kill The Beast,” and “Letters and Love Notes,” proving yet again why they are easily one of the most talented bands on Fearless today.
However, the romantic that he is, Lancaster didn’t hesitate to slow down the set, spending about half the set behind the piano. Serenading the crowd with the intimate “House of Hallways,” “Hold On,” and “Why I’m Home,” Go Radio really brought the whole package. The show was a healthy blend of heavy and light, perfect for all fans. Finishing the set with the poignant “The Truth Is” – which the whole crowd belted out every lyric of – into an encore of “What If You Don’t” – Jason’s favorite track off their upcoming record, a touching ballad at its finest – into the lovely “Goodnight Moon,” Go Radio could not have played a more balanced, ideal set.
As the night ended, the concert proved the power and potential of Go Radio. Only a couple EPs and one record into the game, the guys seem to have their best foot forward, making the anticipation for their sophomore effort grow by the week.
The whole foundation of this tour clearly is the fans, made clear band after band and track and track. It was a loud night and most of all, it was a night to appreciate live rock music.
After only a couple listens thus far, I'm incredibly impressed with The All-American Rejects' upcoming record, Kids in the Street. It really demonstrates Tyson's skill as a pop-rock front-man more-so than any of their other releases. At this point, I'm calling it the best pop-rock album of the year thus far - and it will probably keep that title very well.
Look for my review near the release date, March 26th.
Pop Punk The Vote Tour: Man Overboard, Handguns, Seahaven, and Candy Hearts – House Of Blues in Dallas, TX on February 25, 2012
As a huge fan of Man Overboard as they’ve grown over the past few years, I was amped to catch them on their Pop Punk The Vote headlining tour, as I’d never seen them live before. Adding Seahaven and Handguns to the lineup only peaked my interest more. Rapid and lively, the sets were all short and to the point.
I missed Candy Hearts unfortunately, only catching their last song. Fans seemed to be enjoying them though, so catch them if you get the chance to.
Up next Seahaven took the stage. Admittedly, Winter Forever sort of fell by the wayside for me last year due to the myriad of other killer albums released around that time, but their set definitely made me realize all the hype around them was valid. Simply put, they were loud and raw. Vocalist Kyle Soto absolutely commanded the crowd, taking full control. The slick guitar work and paced drumming added to the energy, making the set unforgettable. Think of a more intense Manchester Orchestra meets…Brand New and Balance and Composure. The guys definitely amped the crowd up, proving why Winter Forever received raving reviews.
The youngins in Handguns followed. Playing a nice lengthy set, they pretty much played nearly every song they’ve recorded thus far, only having a couple EPs to go off. As a result, fans were able to hear all of their favorites, with tracks like “My Own Captain” and “Fingers Crossed” really standing out. The young Taylor Eby really proved himself as a frontman, confident, talkative, and raging with energy. Handguns will definitely be something to be on the lookout for this year, with their full-length record due out this summer.
And then came Man Overboard. Although a lengthy number of songs were played – about 15+ or so – their set was a fast one, as the defenders of pop punk didn’t waste much time with banter – they simply played.
Racing through all the favorites, Man Overboard didn’t stop for a breath at all. Opening with “Montrose” into “Rare” and “Real Talk,” they knew what fans came to hear – and delivered just that. However, there were some surprises – the full band “Dear You,” “Dreaming,” and “I Like You” come to mind – making the idea of voting for their set list all the more appealing. The boys encored with the unexpected “Night Feelings” and “She’s Got Her Own Man Now,” making the night end on a solid note of pop-punk. As one of the most talked of pop-punk groups with both Real Talk and Man Overboard, they were true to their motto and cemented their name in pop-punk with their life show.
The show was a fun, energetic, lively night full of bands that simply wanted to play loud and fast. I highly recommend catching this show if it comes near, as Man Overboard’s headlining set has something for every fan, with openers Handguns and Seahaven – and on select dates Daytrader – making it all the more enjoyable. Catch MO on Warped Tour this year, as well.