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The World As We Know It
Currently Reading: Dreamcatcher
12/16/12 at 02:05 PM by Ryan Gardner
In the midst of studying for my final, I'm currently reading Stephen King's Dreamcatcher.

With King being my favorite author, I'm thoroughly enjoying this one so far. It always amazes me how he is able to make such long novels read at such a fast rate, so I'm very excited to see where this one goes.

Also, it's cloudy here in Austin today, so I've been listing to The Horrible Crowes' Elsie a lot, as well as Bad Books' II.
Tags: book, currently reading, stephen king, dreamcatcher
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Review: Terrible Things - Pre-Transmission EP
12/11/12 at 10:02 PM by Ryan Gardner
Tags: review, terrible things, pre-transmission, album review
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12/10/12 at 09:27 PM by Ryan Gardner
Been playing around with my Facebook profile this past weekend - trying out some things.

If you want to, feel free to "subscribe" to me
Tags: facebook
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Show Review: Lydia, All Get Out, Sweet Talker
12/03/12 at 09:11 PM by Ryan Gardner
Lydia’s Up Close And Personal Tour with All Get Out and Sweet Talker
Stubb’s in Austin, TX on December 2nd, 2012

Check out my photos from the concert here.

So there’s no reason to deny or discuss my love for all things Lydia. With that said, half the reason I was so amped to go to their latest headlining tour was to see All Get Out again. The last time I saw both of these bands was in October of last year, where they both absolutely killed it – in entirely different ways, of course.

To be honest, I had never heard of Sweet Talker prior to seeing him on the list for the show. However, Kevin Fisher was quite an enjoyable live performer. His style is reminiscent of The Script, only with a little more of an indie-pop flare. His set was short, but he was quite a pleasant surprise. Both “Southern Belle” and “This Is War” were incredibly catchy and satisfying live, with the latter prompting me to my “check out” list after the show. To end the set, Sweet Talker went into a breathtaking rendition of “Hallelujah,” which, as risky as that cover can be, was spot on. Simply after seeing this short set, I have quite high hopes for Fisher’s upcoming record (which is being mixed currently).

The manic rockers of All Get Out attacked the stage next. The main thing I remember about seeing the band last year was their energy, but wow, I had no idea what I was in for. First off, keep in mind the size of the stage and venue – it was small and tight-fitting, to say the least. Well, vocalist Nathan Hussey may be one of the craziest, energetic, feverish front man I’ve ever seen. He raced across the stage and went all out rocking out on his guitar to belting lyrics at the top of his lungs.

The set was the definition of punk rock music. “My Friends,” “Me And My Lovers,” and “The Season” each carried a different type of dominance, with the last featuring Hussey absolutely losing his mind as he yelled, “Fall back.” All Get Out really couldn’t care less about their image or anything of that sort…they just want to play music as loud as they can, with as much energy as they can. This is a live show. Just as the last time I’d seen them, they closed with “Let Me Go,” which may have been the most intense song I’ve ever seen live. Yelling out “don’t let me go,” Hussey left the microphone behind and just yelled into the crowd. He then broke into a whisper to a dead silent room – I can’t even describe these chills – until the whole room yelled out the final words, dropped his guitar, kicked off a cymbal. This is passion you can’t fake; it was easily the most intense song I’ve ever seen live.

Switching gears entirely, Lydia were as intricate and lush as they were the last time I saw them. The venue’s atmosphere was perfect for them, as their wrapped-in-lights microphone stands glowed in the dark room. Moreover, their set list was full of unexpected tracks. Leighton Antelman took the stage alone initially, armed with an acoustic guitar, oddly starting with “A Camera Lens and Careful Days.” As a song I never thought I’d hear live, it was absolutely haunting due the crowd’s mellow singing and the lighting in the room. Lydia played a fair amount of Paint It Golden material, with “Hailey” being an absolutely chilling surprise and “Best Nights” having the whole crowd singing along.

New song “Knee Deep” has me insanely excited to hear their upcoming record, as it sounds exactly like what you’d expect from Lydia – it’s intricate and endearing. Of course, the Illuminate cuts (“I Woke Up Near The Sea,” “Hospital,” and “This Is Twice Now”) moved me the most. I stared out the window into the night, past the Christmas light fashion of the stage, as Antelman belted out “It turns out you were into yourself” during “I Woke Up Near The Sea.” As I watched, listened, and sang, all my memories of that record rushed through me, making the night all the more delicate and personal. As much energy as Lydia evoke on their records, their live performances – especially in the ideal atmosphere – are all the more poignant and touching.

As the night ended with Antelman encoring to his cover of “Stand By Me,” I stood thinking about how fast this past year has gone since I last saw him play that song live and wondering where I’ll be next time. That’s the power of a good live band, a band that can bring you places and conjure a variety of feelings and memories.

This is a show that has the best of both words – Sweet Talker brings pop sensibility; All Get Out bring their frenzied version of punk rock; and Lydia bring spectacular beauty to close it all off. 2013 promises to be a huge year for all of these bands, so go check out this tour as soon as you can.

Lydia’s Set ListA Camera Lens and Careful Days
Always Move Fast
I Woke Up Near The Sea
Best Nights
Get It Right
Dragging Your Feet In The Mud
Knee Deep
A Place Near The City
This Is Twice Now
Stand By Me (Cover)
Check out my photos from the concert here.

-Ryan Gardner
Tags: lydia, all get out, sweet talker, show review, review
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Show Review: Yellowcard, The Wonder Years, We Are The In Crowd, Sandlot Heroes
11/08/12 at 09:48 PM by Ryan Gardner
Yellowcard’s Southern Air Tour with The Wonder Years, We Are The In Crowd, Sandlot Heroes
Emo’s in Austin, TX on November 7th, 2012

Check out my photos from the concert here

I’ve had the luxury of seeing Yellowcard a couple times since they’ve returned from hiatus. I caught them in October 2011 when they were touring for When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes and then this past summer on the Warped Tour main stage. One thing rings true every time – they always deliver. The stacked opening line up only added to my excitement, as it had been about a year and half since I’d seen The Wonder Years.

One of the best surprises of the night came early as Sandlot Heroes took the stage. In fact, the band reminded me of when I saw Every Avenue open for Yellowcard last year, with vocalist Dan Kastelnik having a kind of Southern rock vibe – also not unlike The Maine’s latest material. As expected, they mainly stuck to material from The Trace EP, with tracks like “My Favorite Song” and “Freeway” carrying across very well live. Much of this can be attributed to the help of Chris Morrison and Jake Lare on back up vocals, as their contrast gave Kastelnik’s words a lot more power. This was a set of sing alongs and rocking tunes – nothing too fancy needed, just fun rock music.

I was anxious to see how the young’uns in We Are The In Crowd would sound live, since I missed their set on Warped Tour this past summer. Sure enough, Tay Jardine and crew were incredibly entertaining. The chemistry between Jardine and Jordan Eckes on stage dominates the show, with their call and return being all the more addictive live than on the records (yes, “Kiss Me Again” is what I’m talking about). For being so petite, Jardine can absolutely control the crowd and stand her ground. She never stood still, constantly running across stage to where each member was. There’s a reason why these guys have gotten all this hype over the last couple years – they know exactly what they’re doing.
We Are The In Crowd's Set-listBetter Luck Next Time
Never Be What You Want
Both Sides Of The Story
The Worst Thing About Me
Kiss Me Again
Lights Out
Exits And Entrances
Rumor Mill

Our beloved fellas in The Wonder Years took the stage next. What I remember most about seeing these guys for my first time in 2011 was how much energy the guys had. This sentiment reigns true more than ever nowadays. Soupy went from being on his knees to being on top of the crowd to covering every inch of the stage throughout the set. The man is a machine. In fact, every member of the band holds his own, with the opening guitar licks of “Local Man Ruins Everything” starting the set off in a pure riot. As always, the band is all about being personal, so Soupy had interesting ways to tie all of the songs together, incorporating short little anecdotes into the set song after song. The guys even went back to the beginning and tore through “Won’t Be Pathetic Forever,” a crowd favorite for obvious reasons. At first, I found it odd that the set was to end with “Came Out Swinging,” but the I understood – start with an anthem, end with an anthem, right? Full of energy and a hint of chaos, The Wonder Years’ live show deserves all the praise.
The Wonder Years' Set-listLocal Man Ruins Everything
Woke Up Older
Everything I Own Fits In This Backpack
Washington Square Park
Don't Let Me Cave In
Won't Be Pathetic Forever
Logan Circle
Melrose Diner
Coffee Eyes
Came Out Swinging

As I’d hoped, “Awakening” started off Yellowcard’s almost 2-hour long set. What followed was the perfect mix of everything Yellowcard new and old. New cuts such as “Rivertown Blues” and “Always Summer” sounded massive live, while the little surprises (“Hollywood Died”) had the whole crowd in the air. As always, Ryan Key dominated the mic with his usual grit, while Sean Mackin had a smile on his face the whole night. “Southern Air” was the perfect pre-encore closer – I can’t think of a better song that really defines the entire feel of Yellowcard. Tay Jardine even joined the crew to help out “Here I Am Alive,” which was quite the hit.

Of course, the massive “Ocean Avenue” tore down the house last, while “Breathing” added a huge kick in the night early on. There’s a reason why Yellowcard have been on the move for the better part of the last 12 years – the guys just can’t sit still. This is how a live band is supposed to be – full of pure energy and drive. Yellowcard hold their ground every show, proving exactly why they’ve kept such a prominent legacy over the last decade.

I think what makes their live show so enjoyable is the timeless of it all. Ocean Avenue was one of the first CDs I remember having in my stereo back in the day, yet Southern Air dominated the last summer for me as I was preparing for college. That’s the beauty of Yellowcard – their sound is just classic. The music screams summer, beaches, and sunny days – their live show screams liveliness and a sense of growing restlessness. This is a band that isn’t about to slow down anytime soon, having released two full lengths in the last two years and touring nonstop. Seriously, the guys just won’t slow down.
Yellowcard's Set-listAwakening
Surface of the Sun
Way Away
Shrink the World
Rivertown Blues
Light Up The Sky
Always Summer
Hollywood Died
Five Becomes Four
Hang You Up
With Around
Lights and Sounds
Only One
Southern Air

Sing For Me
Here I Am Alive (with Tay Jardine)
Ocean Avenue

A tour that brings together both old and new pop-punk, this is a show you can’t forget. Yellowcard’s timeless nature matched with The Wonder Year’s young drive, We Are The In Crowd’s instant likeability, and Sandlot Heroes simply memorable rock tunes. Southern Air has to be one of the best records of the year, and this tour commemorates just this – and why Hopeless Records continues to dominate the scene.

Go see this tour.

Check out my photos from the concert here

-Ryan Gardner
Tags: show review, yellowcard, sandlot heroes, we are the in crowd, the wonder years
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Show Review: Taking Back Sunday’s Tell All Your Friends Tour (TAYF10)
11/04/12 at 09:42 PM by Ryan Gardner
Taking Back Sunday’s Tell All Your Friends Tour (TAYF10) with Bayside and Gabriel the Marine
Emo’s in Austin, TX on November 2nd, 2012

Check out my photos from the concert here

Having turned 19 just over a month ago, I sometimes find to hard to understand what the best days in “our scene” really looked like ten years ago. Sure, I’ve listened to the records – The Illusion of Safety, What It Is To Burn, The Used, Does This Look Infected? – and I grew up on some of them – The Young and the Hopeless, No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls, Sticks and Stones – but I obviously wasn’t active in the music world then. I mean come on, I was 9. However, listening to the records, reading about them, hearing their influence on new bands now – I get it. And Friday while I belted out every word to every lyric of Tell All Your Friends in a sold out, packed wall-to-wall venue, I understood more than ever what the importance of these albums was (and still is today).

Gabriel the Marine opened the show with a more Circa Survive or As Tall As Lions vibe than pop-punk, but it worked. Admittedly, I was a bit unfamiliar with their material, but their set was a blast. There was a violin, a sax, a variety of guitars, and vocalist Michael Desmond can really hold his own. “Stars Collecting” added a more mellow atmosphere to the night, while “Honest” let Desmond really bask in the spotlight. In fact, violinist Dylan Ebrahimian not only shined throughout Gabriel’s set, he also joined Taking Back Sunday throughout their entire set.

Bayside fired off with perfect opener “Sick, Sick, Sick.” Okay, let’s get one thing straight, Anthony Raneri sounds even better live than recorded – if that’s even possible for the Queens frontman. The guys tore through their set, keeping the dial at 10 song after song. As expected, new cuts “Already Gone” and “Seeing Sound” were absolute powerhouses – the “whoa-ohs” and “heys” of the latter filled the entire venue. And of course, classic cuts such as “Masterpiece” and “Montauk” were huge crowd favorites. Raneri raced across the stage, getting the whole crowd of their feet, while O’Shea, Ghanbarian, and Guglielmo didn’t hold back for a second.

I can’t think of a better opener for Taking Back Sunday than Bayside. Thinking back on how Victory Records must have been back in the day with these bands and others like Thursday and Hawthorne Heights, it really just made perfect sense for Bayside to be there with Taking Back Sunday. As a show that is meant to be as nostalgic as possible, Bayside allowed for just this to happen, fueled with what seemed like more energy than when Sirens and Condolences dropped in 2004. This is a band that has never put out a bad record, and this live show reflects exactly why the group continues to dominate after almost ten years.

Half an hour and a Mr. Rogers intro later, Taking Back Sunday took the stage. The screams of “Are you up for this” on “What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost?” made it the perfect opener, while “A Decade Under The Influence” and of course “One-Eighty By Summer” had everyone off their feet. And then, following “Make Damn Sure,” the band left the stage.

Then we knew it was the time: Tell All Your Friends. A rush of anticipation. Lazzara sang the first half of “You Know How I Do” laying on the stage, while jumping into the crowd to finish it. This is a night I’ll never forget. There was no space to move – seriously, every inch of the venue was body-to-body packed – and you just felt the music. When every single person in the crowd yells the words to every single song…this is what music is supposed to be. I will confidently say this performance made me realize the importance of the 2002 music scene and how truly monumental Tell All Your Friends is. Okay, so this album didn’t come out when I was in high school, but so what. It still meant the world to me in high school and middle school for that matter and still does today. That’s the thing about music – it can hit different people at different times and mean something different to everyone. So, as I watched Nolan and Lazzara yell, “This is what living like this does” at the end of “Ghost Man On Third” and felt the anxiety when it was time for the opening strums of “Cute Without The ‘E,’” I understood more than ever why this album changed everything.

The energy of the band after ten years was just incredible. The energy of the crowd…indescribable. The points when you can hardly hear Adam or John’s voices due to the crowd overpowering them – that’s a concert. I even got to experience the one Taking Back Sunday song that arguably means the most to me when they played “Your Own Disaster.” It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since these songs came out, but the fact that the crowd still knows every word to every song and that the band has more energy than ever on stage made it all seem young. This was a night fueled by the past, immersed in nostalgic, and lit on fire to burn with an inexpressible energy.

At a time when one of the most punk records of the year comes from P.O.S. and when Converge can still dominate your ears with their new record, anything seems possible these days. Refused just went on tour, The Gaslight Anthem are taking over the world with old-fashioned rock ‘n roll, and Further Seems Forever are back with Chris. Anything is possible – even Taking Back Sunday playing the staple album start to finish with the original line up. This night echoed that sentiment more than any concert I have ever experienced.

So it’s 2012 and I’m sitting at college now and I’m currently stressing studying, but none of this mattered on Friday night. All that mattered was the music, the emotions, those memories and meanings. Maybe each song means something different to every fan there, but that’s fine, because we were all there, yelling the same words. That’s what music is – unity. There’s no method. No rules. No boundaries. Taking Back Sunday knew this in 2002 when they released Tell All Your Friends out of nowhere, and they still know this ten years later today. Playing an album and being brought back to a time in your life is an amazing experience, but seeing the album live front-to-back…that’s a life-changing experience.

Check out my photos from the concert here

-Ryan Gardner
Tags: show review, taking back sunday, bayside, gabriel the marine, tell all your friends
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Review: Taylor Swift - Red
10/23/12 at 07:54 PM by Ryan Gardner
Of course I reviewed the new Taylor Swift record, Red - http://absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?t=2930672
Tags: review, album review, taylor swift, red
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Show Review: Boys Like Girls and The All-American Rejects Co-Headlining Tour
10/09/12 at 08:27 PM by Ryan Gardner
Boys Like Girls and The All-American Rejects Co-Headlining Tour
Emo’s in Austin, TX on October 5th, 2012

When I found out Boys Like Girls and The All-American Rejects were playing together, I knew that would make for a rockin’ night of pop tunes. Realizing it was a co-headlining tour, I was even more amped to hit up the venue. Also, the show marked my first show since heading down to Austin for school, so I was all the more excited to experience this.

Due to public transportation times and all that jazz, I missed most of The Ready Set’s set, save for “Love Like Woo.” Vocalist Jordan Witzigreuter raced the stage with high energy throughout the hit, with the crowd belting out the chorus at the top of its lungs. Although I’m not too familiar with The Ready Set’s music, I knew this single, so catching it was a blast.

Now, I had not seen The All-American Rejects play since their 2009 stint on the Blink-182 reunion tour. Being so long ago, I couldn’t exactly remember how their live show was. Well, after seeing them on Friday, it’s safe to say Tyson Ritter is the best front man I’ve ever seen. I mean seriously, he’s a freaking maniac. Flailing around stage, falling to his knees, yelling and swearing at the crowd while swinging the mic around and around – he’s insane. Ritter absolutely commanded the stage and crowd, with his stage persona being the highlight of the evening.

The Rejects kicked off the set with the massive “Dirty Little Secret” as Ritter danced around the mic. Following this, they played a very fair share of material from all of their records. “My Paper Heart” and “Swing, Swing” were absolute crowd favorites, as expected, which was aided by Ritter reminiscing back ten years ago when they were in Austin on a tiny tour playing the material. His stories added to the nostalgic nature of those songs for both the crowd and the band.

Still, I’d have to say the highlight of the set was the performance of “Walk Over Me.” When I first heard Kids In The Street earlier this year, this was the song that I knew would be colossal live. Sure enough, Ritter dominated the mic, while Nick Wheeler and Mike Kennerty set the mood with their rowdy guitar strumming to make the performance all I’d hoped for. In fact, all of the material from Kids was flawless live. During “Kids In The Street,” the band switched to glow in the dark instruments, and when Ritter swung around a glowing mic, the crowd went mad.

While “Move Along” was of course another the crowd favorite, I’d have to say “Heartbeat Slowing Down” and “It Ends Tonight” were the most intimate minutes of the set, as expected. On the former, Ritter explained that the song is the most important thing in his life right now, and you could truly feel this throughout the song, with the high notes of the chorus resonating with passion.

The Rejects closed the set out with “Gives You Hell” which was as exciting live as I’d hoped. Ending with this one really exemplified Ritter’s devil may care persona, as he dedicated the “fuck you” anthem to the parents in the back in their “golf shirts” just waiting for him to finish.

Following The All-American Rejects killer performance, Boys Like Girls had some pretty big shoes to fill. However, due to their well-selected set list, I’d say they did just fine.

They wasted no time throwing out the hits, kicking off the set with “The Great Escape” and “Hero/Heroine.” Martin Johnson said throughout the set that they want to stick to old cuts and be back in 2006. It was an odd statement, as they are releasing a new record come December that is monumentally different from their self-titled pop record, but it was just fine for all of us there that still know all the words to those songs.

The most entertaining aspect of their set was the way they remixed songs while on stage. Johnson started singing “Go” before transitioning into “Thunder.” Yet then during the song, they went into the “oh-ohs” of “Some Nights.” Moments like this made the show more than just a girly pop concert, as they gave the set some unexpected twists and turns. The beginning of “Chemicals Collide” – “I got a couple addictions..” – played perfectly into “Me, You, And My Medication” near the end of the set, further heightening the impact of their on stage remixing by allowing us to get a little taste of all their songs in a new form.

All three of the songs from the Crazy World EP were very well-received by the crowd, with “Life of the Party” and “First Time” having the whole crowd singing. In this way, the set list was perfect; it was a little something from everything, yet with more emphasis on their earlier material. With that said, I’m pretty certain everyone in the crowd knew all the words to “Five Minutes To Midnight” and “Heels Over Head.”

From the intricate nature of “Two Is Better Than One” mid-set through the ending of the show with “Love Drunk” transitioned into “Hey Jude,” Boys Like Girls put on a genuinely fun and memorable pop show. Past hit singles still remained winners throughout the show, while new cuts echoed the more country-tinged feel of Crazy World.

Clearly, if you’re looking for a night of pop music, hit up this show. The All-American Rejects live show is unmatched due to Ritter’s captivating stage presence, while Boys Like Girls addictive choruses ringing throughout the crowd are a blast from the past.

Check out my photos from the concert here

-Ryan Gardner
Tags: show review, boys like girls, the all american rejects, the ready set
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Review: Go Radio - Close The Distance
09/05/12 at 09:15 PM by Ryan Gardner
Check out my review of the upcoming Go Radio record, Close The Distance, here - http://absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?t=2880802

The record drops September 18th via Fearless Records.

-Ryan Gardner
Tags: review, go radio, close the distance, fearless records
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Review: Sparks The Rescue - Sparks The Rescue EP
08/22/12 at 09:16 PM by Ryan Gardner
Check out my official review of the upcoming Sparks The Rescue self-titled EP - http://www.absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?t=2865522

The EP drops August 28th

-Ryan Gardner
Tags: sparks the rescue, review
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First Impressions: Go Radio - Close The Distance
08/14/12 at 07:08 AM by Ryan Gardner
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"

-Ryan Gardner
Tags: first impressions, go radio, close the distance, fearless records
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Show Review: Relient K, House Of Heroes, William Beckett, Hellogoodbye
08/09/12 at 10:37 PM by Ryan Gardner
Relient K with House Of Heroes, William Beckett, Hellogoodbye
House Of Blues in Dallas, TX on August 8th, 2012

Check out my photos from the concert here

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.

Check out my photos from the concert here

-Ryan Gardner
Tags: show review, relient k, william beckett, hellogoodbye, house of heroes
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07/26/12 at 10:28 PM by Ryan Gardner
Been using Twitter pretty often, so follow me on there if you'd like - https://twitter.com/RyanGardnerC

Here's my Tumblr as well - http://www.ryangardner.tumblr.com
Tags: twitter, tumblr
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First Impressions: Yellowcard - Southern Air
07/09/12 at 07:43 AM by Ryan Gardner
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.

Hear "Always Summer" here.
Tags: first impressions, yellowcard, southern air, hopeless records
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Show Review: Warped Tour 2012 (Dallas, TX)
07/06/12 at 07:31 AM by Ryan Gardner
Warped Tour 2012 (Dallas, TX) - July 3, 2012 at Gexa Energy Pavilion

Check out my photos from the day here

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.

NOTE: Truth bears no responsibility for content created by third parties.

Check out my photos from the day here
Tags: show review, warped tour, sleeping with sirens, of mice and men, yellowcard, transit
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