On 5/3/17, the night began with a bit of a surprise. Walking into Subterranean just minutes before the show started I noticed a lot more empty space in this tiny venue than I would have expected for such a stacked lineup consisting of Sleep On It, Grayscale, Roam and As It Is. Each of these bands have been gaining a lot of traction in the revived pop-punk scene so part of me was expecting this show to have sold out weeks ago but the other part of me was happy that those who wanted to be there were there and collectively we were all in for a once in a lifetime experience.
The show began with the hometown Chicago boys of Sleep On It which consists of Zech Pluister, TJ Horansky, Jake Marquis, AJ Khah and Luka Fischman. Having seen this band for the first time opening up for Four Year Strong earlier this year I knew what to expect and the band did not disappoint. The band plowed through track after track from their ep “Lost Along The Way” making sure to hit every song with more intensity and ambition than the song before it. The highlight track from their performance was Counting Miles, a song about the sacrifices of being a band on the road. Zech joked before starting the track that even though they have only been on this tour since the end of April, he already missed his bed and had to be bribed the morning of the show to get up and get moving. Sleep On It perfectly set the tone for the rest of the show and their ability to get the crowd moving and singing was the common theme for the rest of the night. The band will be releasing a full-length later this year and I anticipate a headlining tour supporting that release will follow so make sure to buy your tickets in advance for that one.
Up next for the night was Grayscale hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Grayscale consists of Collin Walsh, Andrew Kyne, Dallas Molster, Nick Ventimiglia and Nick Veno. Grayscale had some pressure on them after following Sleep On It in their hometown and they stepped up to that challenge head on. Each track pushed the crowd to bounce out of their comfort zone and to start dancing around in the emptiness of the venue. It was during this performance that we witnessed our first crowd surfer. The highlight of the performance was an intimate and sincere rendition of Beautiful Things. Collin’s voice during this track echoed off the venue walls and resonated through the hearts of everyone in the crowd. Grayscale played through the majority of their upcoming release “Adornment” which is set to drop 5/5/2017 so make sure to pick up a copy of that album and catch these boys when they come through your hometown. We will be preparing an album review of “Adornment” soon so look out for that.
At this point in the night, everyone in the crowd was feeling the heat trapped in the room. It was at this point that Roam took the stage and played the opening track off of “Backbone” titled Cabin Fever causing the room to ignite even hotter. Roam is from Eastbourne, England and consists of Alex Costello, Alex Adam, Sam Veness, Matt Roskilly and Miles Gill. With a blistering pace, Roam scorched through tracks from “Backbone” while fitting in tracks from their previous eps. The crowd went into a frenzy when the opening notes of Head Rush started up and it was at this point we witnessed our first mosh pit of the evening. The highlight of the performance was a unique rendition of Tracks. The album version is a beautiful, somber acoustic track but the band decided to play it as a full piece and hearing it this way made the song come to life. Typically, I don’t sing along at many shows, but I couldn’t help myself during this song and I found myself belting out the words back at the stage. Roam is one of those bands that carry such a strong stage presence that you would be doing yourself a disservice by not seeing them when they arrive in your town.
To close the night was As It Is from Brighton, England consisting of Patty Walters, Ben Langford-Biss, Andy Westhead, Alistair Testo and Patrick Foley. Vocalist Patty Walters has a presence that lights up even the darkest of rooms and the moment As It Is took the stage, the crowd sang, bounced and danced the entire time without reservation. The band performed tracks from both “Never Happy, Ever After” and their recently released album “Okay.” which this tour was in support of. After a few tracks, Patty made a small request to the crowd. He asked for everyone during the next two songs, which would be older tracks, to put away their cell-phones and stop recording and just enjoy the presence and emotion being shared in the room. I have never seen an artist request this before and I found it refreshing for a band to take notice that as a crowd we tend to watch shows from our cell-phone screens while we record them rather than just letting go and basking in the enjoyment and energy around us so everyone respected the request and not a single cell-phone could be found till later in the evening. The highlight of the evening was an acoustic performance of the track Still Remembering off of “Okay.” During the final song, Dial Tones, the band threw carrots out into the crowd which even at this point in the review I am not too sure of the reference so if you know the meaning behind the carrot throwing make sure to fill me in because I going crazy scouring the internet to figure it out.
Overall, the beauty of seeing a lineup of all pop-punk bands in a venue that holds roughly 200 people is knowing that everyone there is ready to have a great time, to sing and dance along to each and every song, and collectively are all friends and a part of something greater than even music itself. We are all connected through a bond of emotions that are captured in every pop-punk song and last night’s performance felt more like seeing some of my best friends who happen to play in a band with all of my friends from high-school showing up to support them. It was an experience I will never forget.
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