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Date: 3/7/19 Venue: Rec Room City: Buffalo, NY Lineup: Another Michael, Pinegrove Words: Chandler Poczciwinski Photography: Haley Sousa
After spending a year off the road, Pinegrove is back with a completely sold out U.S. tour and upcoming run overseas. If you are a fan of Pinegrove or are versed in the happenings of the indie scene then I am sure you have heard about the reason Pinegrove took their year-long hiatus. However, that is not what I am here to talk about, today, I am here to talk about the Buffalo date of the recent sold-out Pinegrove tour that hit 13 different cities in the U.S, including two sold-out shows in Chicago and three sold-out shows in their home state of New Jersey. This tour was in support of their recent release Skylight that was shelved before their hiatus. I was lucky enough to take part in Buffalo date of the tour and I was blown away by my experience.
Another Michael from not that far away Albany, NY started off the evening with their low key almost stripped sound. I was not unfamiliar with Another Michael before the show, however, their live experience was something new to me. If I to describe Another Michael’s live performance I would say it is simply “beautiful”.
Frontman Michael’s voice is so clean and pure, when he sings it sounds as peaceful as birds chirping in the morning. Michael’s voice accompanied by the calm and smooth sounds produced by the rest of the band makes you feel as if you are sitting on a bed of clouds watching the sunset.
Up next, the main event that everyone has been dying to see, Pinegrove. As frontman Evan Stephens Hall took to the stage he was met with roaring applause, that he had to politely quiet down so they could go into their first song “Size of the Moon” off their breakthrough album Cardinal. I was actually taken back by the positive response that Pinegrove received from just walking on stage, proving that they are much more than just your normal indie band. Pinegrove played an impressive career spanning set, however, a majority of the songs were off their latest release Skylight.
What really struck me about their performance was how humble and genuine it felt. There were no special effects or extra stage production, instead, there was just a simple Skylight themed backdrop. However, after I thought about it, it would have been odd if there was a massive stage production. If you listen to any Pinegrove song you won’t find any crazy production value, instead, you will find an authentic sound revolving around Hall’s deep and intellectual lyrics.
Even in the live setting, you will still find the same authentic sound that Pinegrove is known for, except with the addition of the entire crowd singing along word for word to every song. I never thought in my life I could see a crowd so fully encaptivated by a bands performance, but the Buffalo crowd didn’t take their eyes off the Hall and the rest of Pinegrove until they left the stage after their set. Overall, I was extremely impressed with the performance that Pinegrove gave to the Buffalo crowd. If you are a fan of Pinegrove and missed out on this tour, then I would highly suggest getting your tickets early for their next tour because it is a truly spiritual experience. Until Pinegrove announces their next U.S tour, get off the charts and support your local music scene.
Intro and Interview by Chandler Poczciwinski
Photography by Haley Sousa
I first discovered Super Whatevr while I was scanning through all the bands that currently had tour dates scheduled in my hometown of Buffalo, NY. When I came across the name Super Whatevr, which was unfamiliar to me at the time, I gave them a listen as I do with every band coming to Buffalo. What I found was something truly special, a genre-expanding, lyrically significant, up-and-coming band with a feel that is truly their own. After discovering the masterpiece called Super Whatever, I knew I had to attend their headlining tour date in Buffalo, with support from Dube and Beach Goons. So, with a good spirit and camera in hand, I went to go see what the hype around Super Whatevr was all about. That night I was treated to an intimate and beautiful performance from Super Whatevr, fronted by the one and only Skyler McKee. Skyler announced mid-set how they were going to get some legendary chicken wings from Buffalo after the show, and if anyone in attendance wanted to join they were more than welcome to come. While a few people from the crowd expressed interest, my girlfriend and I were the only people to actually take up their offer. I am so glad we did; what I found was a band who is just as down to earth and humble as their music. Skyler McKee, frontman and only permanent member of SW, is a true personification of his music. Quiet and humble with an undeniable spark, a person who you could truly talk to for hours. With that being said, we were lucky enough to catch up with Skyler before he hit the stage at his recent performance in Toronto.
So how is the tour with Set It Off going so far?
It has been good, people have been showing up to the shows which is good, and some dates have been selling out. We have been having fun letting all the kids on stage, just trying to be rowdy and making it as wild as possible.
I was reading how you had a really great show at the Amityville music hall a few days ago, could you talk about what made that show so special?
Yeah, no barricade haha. And just a lot of people singing along, when people interact with us it adds a whole new energy to the show.
So, we saw you for the first time during your headlining tour with Dube and Beach Goons. Has there been a drastic change in crowd reaction since we last saw you?
Well, you will see tonight. Ever since we did the tour with Waterparks we actually have fans now, and it is pretty wild, people just singing along and just losing it, it’s great.
So, I know you have been playing the songs off Never Nothing and Good Luck for a while now, do you have plans on hitting the studio anytime soon or do you plan to continue touring?
I believe studio time will be in April, so right after this tour ends. I am going to start working part-time, and I will be in the studio for almost the whole month I believe, we are still trying to lock it in now.
Do you know who you are going to be working with to create this new project?
Uh, I can’t really say because I am not entirely sure. If I know for certain I would tell you but I just don’t know yet. There has been some talk, but nothing definite yet.
So, on your previous records Never Nothing and Good Luck you don’t really have a defined sound, every song has its own unique sound. After playing these songs for a while now have you found a sound or direction that you would like to take your next record?
Honestly, I am going to change everything for the next record it’s going to be completely different. I am really not sure if people are going to like it. Production wise it is a much bigger sound and it is going to be a lot more production value oriented than the last records which was pretty much all guitars. It’s really going to be pretty shocking. I feel like with Super Whatevr we can really do a lot more with our sound, but I am not sure if people are going to like it. I have been listening to a lot of different stuff recently and my influences have changed like crazy. I am getting married and I am going to be a dad, not like right now but at some point I am going to be a dad.
So what are some of your new musical influences for this new record?
Uh… Post Malone… I have been listening to the radio a lot recently. I just really love what I am doing now. I really enjoy reaching people and impacting people, it is really amazing. But I am also broke and getting married. I really just want to make music, I feel like I write decent melodies and lyrics or lyrical content, but I feel like with a better production Super Whatevr could be a lot more approachable for a mainstream audience. The new album is about my parent’s divorce, they aren’t technically divorced yet they are just like apart from each other, but the record is really about how that affected me and caused me to lose faith in God and get therapy and getting help in general.
So, would you say Never Nothing is about the struggles of mental health/mental illness and this next record is about trying to get help and beating mental illness?
Yeah, I always wanted the records to be a trilogy, I have been thinking about it for like six or seven years and it is working out where shit in my life is making it that way. I am not really allowed to say what the new album is called yet, I am not sure if you saw it on twitter, I put it up there and then management made me take it down. The first record “Never Nothing” is all about how it really is never nothing, like not coming to terms with the things happening in your life. Instead of dealing with things you just say, “it’s nothing” and that’s the start of vulnerability. I want to help take people through the process of healing emotionally, just like basic therapy, that is what the second record is about. Realizing that there is a problem and learning to deal with it.
Do you have a plan for the third record already?
Yeah, I have had one for a while. A big reason that Hopeless signed Super Whatevr was that I already had all three records written.
How has your life changed ever since you started Super Whatevr?
Well, I am getting married so that is cool, we have really been put through the wringer because of touring and stuff. I have gained a lot of fans which is great and I feel like I have helped a lot of people. I always wanted to help people but I really didn’t know if I was going to impact anyone but every night kids tell me their stories and how this has helped them off the ledge. So, I feel really special that I can actually help people. With no set members, it has been hard to find people with similar values or similar ideas about what being a touring artist is, so that has been miserable, trying to not hurt people’s feelings with different expectations. Other than that it has been fun, Hopeless is great and my manager is awesome, my PR agent is awesome, really my whole team is amazing. I am really just so in love with my label and I am just so happy.
Do you think being on the road with your fiancé brings you closer together or causes more hardships?
Both, she used to just come for a week at a time but now she is tour managing and like selling merch. It is so great because she is a type A personality, if she is sitting around she will constantly be looking for a way to be put to work. It has been really cool working together, in our relationship we work together really well because she is more of a “I know what I want” person and I am much more of like an emotions cry baby. So the dynamic of being on tour is pretty similar to our dynamic back home in terms of the shared roles. I really like it, there is a lot more bickering on tour because tour sucks but other than that it is awesome.
Okay so I don’t want to make you stand out in the cold any longer, but is there one last thing you would like to say to all your fans?
Uh, thanks, thanks for sticking around I don’t know why everyone likes the EP and the record because I think it all sounds like garbage, but thank you for sticking around. I really appreciate everyone for enjoying it, thank you for liking my message and thinking I am an okay guy. I don’t really know what I am doing but let’s keep doing it because it seems to be working well.
Show Review August Burns Red: The Dangerous Tour Date: 2/28/29 Venue: Town Ballroom City: Buffalo Bands: Crystal Lake, Miss May I, Fit For a King, August Burns Red Words By: Chandler Poczciwinski Photos By: Haley Sousa
You know when August Burns Red announces a tour it is going to be a show that you absolutely cannot miss. The first time I saw August Burns Red (at a non-Warped Tour show) was back in 2017 during The Messengers 10 Year Anniversary Tour, and it was honestly one of the wildest sets I have ever seen. Between ABR’s theatrical light rigs and overall commanding presence on stage, they are a band that is worth seeing time and time again. Their latest endeavor properly titled, The Dangerous Tour was so stacked with today’s premiere metalcore acts that you might have had to pinch yourself just to check if you were dreaming. This support included: Crystal Lake (Tokyo, Japan), Miss May I (Troy, OH), and Fit For a King (Dallas, TX). What really made this tour so dangerous was the amount of money you were going to spend on merch after the show.
Crystal Lake started off this evening, coming to us all the way from Tokyo, Japan. This tour with ABR was Crystal Lake’s first ever U.S appearance, however, they have been making an impression overseas for quite some time. Crystal Lake’s newest project Helix (Feb 15, 2019) was released mid-tour so they had a bunch of new songs to play during their milestone first U.S tour.
CL didn’t seem intimidated in the slightest by big shoes to fill playing alongside metal heavyweights August Burns Red, Miss May I and Fit For a King. Frontman and lead vocalist Ryo Kinoshita spent more time in the air than on the ground as they played through their hit songs “Apollo” and “Aeon”, ending off their set with a big theatrical ending that drove the point home that Crystal Lake is a name worth remembering. Overall, Crystal Lake had a memorable performance, and if people didn’t know Crystal Lake before, they do now.
Next up was metalcore legends Miss May I, who played a nice mix of old favorites and new hits to the excited Buffalo crowd. They started off their set with “Swallow Your Teeth” off their most recent release, Shadows Inside (June 2, 2017). Obviously, they had to play their song “Hey Mister” (2012), and no matter how many times I see Miss May I, I will never get sick of hearing the crowd chant “Hey mister, where have you been!?” during the chorus of the song.
I am not sure what Miss May I has in store next for their fans, they do not have another tour planned (to the best of my knowledge), so maybe they will be hitting the studio soon? We will have to wait to find out, but until then, the title track off their latest album Shadows Inside is worthy of placement in your personal metal playlists (if you haven’t already done so).
Fit For a King, one of my favorite bands in the scene right now was the next act to take the stage. Whenever I think about Fit For a King the image that always comes to mind is that of bass player Ryan “Tuck” O’Leary swinging his bass around like a tornado. If you have never seen this in person before then you are truly missing out because it is quite the sight to see. Thankfully Fit For a King hit my high expectations for them, with O’ Leary moving his bass around like a mad man. However, midway through the set during a break between songs, frontman/lead vocalist Ryan Kirby announced that O’Leary had fractured his ankle the day prior, but this didn’t stop him in the slightest from putting on a great show.
My favorite part of Fit For a King’s set was how they had Levi Benton (Miss May I) sing his feature part in their track “Stacking Bodies” and, Ryo Kinoshita came out as they played their final song, “Tower of Pain” off their latest release, Dark Skies. Sadly, Jake Luhrs (August Burns Red) did not come out for his part in Dead Memory. If you have never heard of Fit For a King then their new record Dark Skies is a great place to start. My favorite song off Dark Skies is the first track titled “Engraved”, the intro guitar riff and drop just keeps bringing me back for more.
Finally, August Burns Red took to the stage in an epic fashion that set the tone for the rest of their set. Like I said before, August Burns Red has already earned the title of one of the wildest shows I have been to, right alongside the annual Every Time I Die Christmas show.
Even though the Buffalo date on The Dangerous Tour was one of the last stops of the 32-day U.S tour, where 16 of the dates sold out, August Burns Red still held nothing back and left it all on the stage. Attendees of The Dangerous Tour were also treated to Matthew Greiner’s now iconic drum solo, and Dustin Davidson traded his bass for a guitar as they played their cover of The Legend of Zelda during their encore set. It was interesting to see the wide demographic of die-hard fans that August Burns Red had in attendance that night. They have fans young and old, some who have obviously been long time listeners since the Messengers and Constellations days, to newer fans who might have just discovered the magic of ABR when they released their acclaimed album Phantom Anthem. No matter when you discovered August Burns Red, you realize early on that they are a truly special band. Between their epic concerts, rocking Christmas albums, or overall genre-pushing music that advances with each new album, August Burns Red is worthy of all the praise they receive. So, how could August Burns Red follow up a tour as utterly awesome as The Dangerous Tour? Well, they will be making an appearance at the Mountain View, CA dates of the Warped Tour 25th anniversary celebratory events, so that is a great place to start. Whatever August Burns Red has in store for us next, I’m sure it will be something amazing, because they are always pushing the boundaries and are never stagnant. If you love video game soundtrack covers then make sure to check out the August Burns Red version of “The Legend of Zelda”, it is a great ABR twist on a classic song, but until next time, get off the charts and support your local music scene.
Here are a few more photos from August Burns Red set: