Simple Plan shows their ‘Balls’ during Ft. Lauderdale tour stop

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Growing up in the early 2000s, you couldn’t help but see how pop-punk bands were starting to infiltrate the radio and television airwaves. Music videos from artists like blink-182 and Good Charlotte were in high rotation on TRL while some of their biggest hits made their way onto top 20 radio. Almost 20 years since the pop-punk heyday, some bands have disbanded, others have gone on hiatus, and others have managed evolve and adapt with the times while still staying true to their roots. One of those with an ever-changing, but still truly pop-punk sound is Simple Plan.

On Sunday (March 19), the Canadian five-piece made their way to Revolution Live in Ft. Lauderdale to kick off their No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls 15th anniversary tour. The tour was announced to celebrate the release of the band’s debut album 15 years before. The record was released in the spring of 2002 and has been certified as double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. It also reached the number 35 spot on the Billboard 200 chart and the number eight spot on the Canadian Albums Chart. Not too shabby for a bunch of boys from Montréal.

Walking into Revolution Live, it was easy to see how the place was overrun by a bunch of twenty-somethings ready to revert to their teenaged selves for a couple of hours. The small night club was packed to the point that the sensation of body heat could be felt at the venue’s entry way. It didn’t matter how many people were crammed into the tight quarters because for those who were fortunate to get a ticket, they were happy just to be there.

Ontario five-piece Seaway began the anniversary celebration. The group released their second studio album Colour Blind back in 2015 and have been touring relentlessly behind its release. Their set included several tracks from their discography before treating the crowd to a cover of Fountain of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom.” The cover quickly turned into a spirited sing-along as almost everyone in the venue took part. Talk about a flashback to the 2000s.

After Seaway’s set came to an end, the crew quickly readied the stage for Tampa-based band, Set It Off. The Floridian four-piece took the stage and gave an energetic show playing some old tunes as well as newer songs from their recently released record, Upside Down. Frontman Cody Carson showed his high-energy spirit as he ran up and down the stage throughout the set. At one point, he climbed on top a tall monitor on the stage and jumped right off, sticking his landing. Following a few more songs, Set It Off’s set came to an end. What was surprising was how many people in attendance actually knew more than one song from either band. Usually, supporting acts do not receive the same type of love as headliners typically do. For Seaway and Set It Off, you could clearly see how many South Floridian fans they truly have.

While Simple Plan’s technicians hit the stage to get it prepared, the venue began playing songs that could have easily found a home on someone’s long-lost iPod classic. The playlist was an emo kid’s dream with songs from Panic! at the Disco, blink-182, Paramore, and even The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” blasted through the speakers. The only non-emo song featured on the list was Will Smith’s “Getting’ Jiggy Wit It.” The catchy 1997 tune could have easily been that guilty pleasure that embarrassingly always plays at the wrong time

A little before 9 p.m., the speakers quieted, the lights dimmed, and the guys from Simple Plan ran on stage one by one to officially kick off the show and the North American tour. Jumping on a box at the foot of the stage was frontman Pierre Bouvier as he, and the rest of the guys, launched into the opening track of the evening and of No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls, “I’d Do Anything.” Midway through the song, confetti was blasted into the pit area with Bouvier, ever the teenager, standing over one of the four cannons so it would appear as if the confetti was blasted from his crotch area.

The band quickly played through several other tracks from the album including “The Worst Day Ever” and “You Don’t Mean Anything.” Following “You Don’t Mean Anything,” the band quieted and Bouvier took the microphone to speak to the crowd. He explained to the packed house how March 19 played a special role in the band’s history as it was the day No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls was released in 2002. With that, they launched into one of the many singles that made them a mainstream staple, “I’m Just a Kid.” They quickly played through several more tracks, but before beginning on track ten, “I Won’t Be There,” they talked about what the song was about. When they were teenagers, all they wanted to do run away from home and their parents. Bouvier joked how 15 years later, the tables were turned on them. Now, they were parents with homes and they still have the desire to run away which is the real reason they decided to go on tour. The crowd laughed along with the band before they began the tune.

During “One Day,” the band threw massive Simple Plan beach balls into the crowd for the concertgoers to play with. At the end of the song, it was nice to see that the guys still had their sick sense of humor. Between Bouvier and bassist David Desrosiers, they made several sexual innuendos including how it was hard to keep it [the balls] up and how much they appreciated the fans playing with their massive balls. As quickly as they started with the dick jokes, they quickly changed the topic. Bouvier told the crowd that they were nearing the end of the No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls tracks, but they didn’t want to finish the album quite yet. Instead, they played “Grow Up,” a track that was only featured on the Japanese version of the album. They may have thought their hardcore fans wouldn’t know the words to the song, but they were proven wrong when the crowd almost outdid the band.

One of the coolest moments of the show was when drummer Chuck Comeau and Bouvier decided to trade places. Comeau explained how he always wanted to be a singer while Bouvier wanted to be a drummer. Instead of holding onto those dreams, they decided to make it a reality. At the end of the song, Comeau surprised the crowd when he launched himself onto an unsuspecting audience. Thankfully, the pit area was so packed Comeau was caught in an epic trust fall test. The band ended the first half of their set with the album’s closer, “Perfect.” Considering the song is one of the band’s most emotional tracks, it wasn’t surprising when the crowd’s joint singing drowned out Bouvier’s vocals. At first, the singer appeared a little stunned, but quickly allowed the crowd to sing the first couple of verses of the song. After letting the crowd sing a little on their own, the singer rejoined until the final note.

Once the song wrapped, the group headed backstage for a quick pre-encore breather. As the stage went dark, the crowd began to chant “one more song.” Sadly, many concertgoers didn’t get the memo that the show wasn’t over quite yet and left. A short time later, the group re-emerged for their eight-song encore beginning with “Shut Up!” from their sophomore album, Still Not Getting Any

During the encore, Bouvier revealed that the group had encountered people who’ve asked them what they’ve been up to during the past 15 years and whether they went on hiatus during that time. “Come on guys, you have something called the internet,” joked the singer. It’s true. The group has released a total of four records since their debut including 2016’s Taking One for the Team.

Surprising, or maybe not, the encore consisted of more Still Not Getting Any… songs than any of their other albums. “Shut Up!,” “Jump,” “Crazy” and set closer “Welcome to My Life” represented their second album while “Your Love is a Lie” represented their self-titled, third record. The Natasha Bedingfield- assisted “Jet Lag” and Rivers Cuomo track “Can’t Keep My Hands off You” represented their fourth studio album, Get Your Heart On! Maybe the most surprising part of the set list came from the band only including one song (“Boom!”) from Taking One for the Team, an album that just celebrate it’s one-year release anniversary this past February.

Maybe it was intentional, because the band wanted to pay homage to nostalgia and give their fans what they really wanted; vintage tunes. Whatever their reason was, it was nice to see that pop-punk is still alive and kicking and that those who listened to it are no longer ashamed to proclaim it loud and proud.

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Blink-182’s ‘California’ summer tour hits South Florida

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2016 may be remembered as the year kids born and raised in the 1990s rejoiced. Pokémon was the number one game in the country, Ghostbusters invaded movie theaters once again, a Clinton threw their hat into the race for the presidency, and Blink-182 reached the top of the charts with a number one album. For naysayers who claim Blink-182 hasn’t been a thing for years, they were proved wrong when a sold out crowd invaded West Palm Beach’s Perfect Vodka Amphitheater for four hours.

On Friday (Aug. 5), Blink-182 brought some their immature quirkiness to South Florida alongside some of their friends. Opening the humid summer evening was the All-American Rejects who treated the incoming crowd with a set full of classics. The Oklahoma-founded band, who hasn’t released a new album since 2012’s Kids in the Street, performed a medley of their biggest hits. Songs included “It Ends Tonight,” “Move Along,” “Dirty Little Secret,” and the song that broke them into the mainstream, “Swing, Swing.” During the set, the band also performed a brand new song titled “DGAF.” As they were about to begin their last song, frontman Tyson Ritter randomly proclaimed how he felt like Sebastian from The Little Mermaid. From there, the singer began to impersonate the Jamaican-accented crustacean from the Disney film. As the impersonation came to an end, the band launched directly into their final song of the evening, “Gives You Hell.”

After a set change, Florida’s own A Day to Remember got the chance to show their home state audience what they had to offer. The group, who call Ocala home, began their hour-long set with “The Downfall of Us All” as a slew of beach balls were thrown into the energetic crowd. Their set consisted of a mix of songs from their past albums like “2nd Sucks,” “Right Back at it Again,” “All Signs Point to Lauderdale,” and more.

Frontman Jeremy McKinnon proved to be an entertaining frontman, interacting with the crowd as well as his fellow band mates throughout the set. During “It’s Complicated,” he followed his band mates around the stage with a GoPro camera, filming them while the footage displayed on the large, LED screens behind them. Before beginning on “Have Faith in Me” from 2009’s Homesick, he asked the women in the crowd to make their presence known. After a deafening cheer from the crowd, he dedicated the song to “all the ladies in the house.”

But that wasn’t all. Like a true frontman, McKinnon requested that all the people in the sold out lawn area make the biggest circle pit that they could for “Paranoia,” the group’s new song off of their impending album, Bad Vibrations. While the lawn circle pit may not have been the largest, it was big enough for those at the front of the stage to see in the dark venue.

As the set was coming to a close, McKinnon and his band mates contemplated playing a song of their own or playing a random cover. A unanimous decision was reached with the band playing part of Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova.” As the cover came to an end, the band broke the news to the crowd that the next song would be their final. They immediately began to play the song that helped them gain a slew of fans, 2007’s “The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle.”

While their set was a mix of mainly older material, it was a bit surprising that they decided not to include more songs from Bad Vibrations. The upcoming record, set to hit stores in September, already produced three singles: “Bullfight,” “Bad Vibrations,” and “Paranoia.”

Following ADTR’s exit from the stage, one last set change began. A little after 9 p.m., a sheer black sheet was erected on the stage, blocking the audience’s view of the stage. A short time later, the sheet dropped revealing not only the guys from Blink-182 (now including Matt Skiba), but also the word “FUCK” in flames. The set kicked off with “Feeling This” and continued by giving fans a mix of classics as well as some new tracks.

From the hour-and-a-half-long show, it was clear to see how Skiba fit in with the band. The proof came by the way he bantered with bassist/vocalist Mark Hoppus, even trading instruments with him because Hoppus felt like it. As always, Travis Barker showcased his drumming skills, even treating the crowd to a solo while Hoppus and Skiba went backstage momentarily.

Since the band announced the departure of former member Tom DeLonge and that Skiba would replace him, debates have risen over whether Skiba was a doing a good job of filling the vacancy.  In short, it’s a complicated question. On newer tracks like “The Only Thing That Matters,” “Kings of the Weekend,” and current single “Bored to Death,” Skiba sounds like he was always a member of the band, not just someone who was added at the end of last year.

When it came to older tracks like “What’s My Age Again,” “First Date,” and “I Miss You” the same could not be said. During “I Miss You,” it was a little odd not hearing DeLonge’s nasally voice screeching out “…what’s with all the spiders/catching things and eating their insides.” Instead, Skiba’s vocals sounded too similar to Hoppus’ as he articulated every word correctly. While that is more of a personal opinion, it didn’t take away from the fun of the show.

Their set came to a close with a four-song encore that included “Los Angeles,” “All the Small Things,” “Brohemian Rhapsody,” and “Dammit.” As the last chords of “Dammit” played and confetti was blasted into the air, it signaled the end of the show that proved just because you need to grow up doesn’t exactly mean you need to mature; just ask the band still playing songs about “building a pool to see naked dudes” and prank calling your girlfriend’s mom.

Panic! at the Disco brings the energy to Miami while Weezer brings the classics

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When it was announced that Panic! at the Disco and Weezer would embark on a summer tour in late 2015, it seemed like a head-scratcher. Weezer attracts the older generation who grew up in the 1990s while Panic! at the Disco’s primary fan base is made up of pre-teens, teenagers, and early 20-somethings. What may have seemed like an odd combination at first proved to be an entertaining show, to say the least. On Tuesday (June 14), the co-headlining tour made its official fourth stop at Miami’s Bayfront Park.

Opening the evening, and the full tour, was Andrew McMahon of Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin fame. The musician and his new group, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, treated the crowd to a seven-song set which featured several tracks from their debut album including “All Our Lives,” current single “High Dive,” and “Canyon Moon” which found the frontman jumping off the stage to interact with the crowd. During the set, McMahon thanked the audience for coming out to the show even after all the tragedies that had befallen on the state of Florida. The Saturday before the show (June 11), The Voice contestant Christina Grimmie was shot during a meet-and-greet with fans after her show in Orlando. The following day (June 12), a shooter went on a rampage at an Orlando nightclub killing 49 club goers. McMahon thanked the fans for not giving into fear and going out to live life to the fullest before launching into “Holiday from Real,” a song from Jack’s Mannequin’s 2005 release, Everything in Transit. The set wrapped up with the song McMahon wrote specifically for his baby daughter Cecilia, “Cecilia and the Satellite.”

Following a short set change, Panic! at the Disco took the stage. As all the members, including their newly added trio of horn players, made their way onto the stage, frontman Brendon Urie was the last one. He sauntered to his golden microphone, like he owned the place, dressed in a blue blazer, cheetah print shirt, leather pants, and a pride flag draped over his shoulders in the 100+ degree weather. They kicked off their set with one of their newer songs, “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time”; a threat they intended to keep. Their 18-song set mostly consisted of new songs off of their recently released album, Death of a Bachelor. Songs like “Hallelujah,” “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “L.A. Devotee,” “Golden Days,” and more represent the new record. While the summer tour is in support of the new album, they did try to incorporate some of their older tunes into the set list like “Time to Dance” and “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies” from their debut album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out while “Nine in the Afternoon” was the sole song to represent their sophomore effort, Pretty.Odd. “The Ballad of Mona Lisa” and “Ready to Go” represented 2011’s lukewarmly -received Vice & Virtues while “Vegas Lights,” “Miss Jackson,” and “Girls/Girls/Boys” represented 2014’s Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die.

While most of the show was on the lighter side, there were times when Urie got serious and addressed several important issues. During a speech before “Girls/Girls/Boys,” the frontman addressed the Pulse Orlando shooting, just like McMahon had earlier in the show. Urie, who is a strong supporter of the LBGTQ movement, encouraged all the LBGTQ haters in the crowd to “come at him” if they had a problem with believing that “love is love.” Later in the show, Urie got serious again before the band launched into “This is Gospel.” The singer took the time to encourage the audience members to help out anyone they might know who may be suffering from drug addiction. He then dedicated the song to former Panic! at the Disco drummer, Spencer Smith who officially left the group in 2015 following his own battle with drug addiction. But with the seriousness also came the fun and entertaining. During “Crazy = Genius,” Urie had an intense drum-off with the group’s new drummer and like their previous tour, they  serenaded the crowd with a cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The cover only confirmed the type of vocal range Urie is capable of while “Death of a Bachelor” proved that if the rock-and-roll lifestyle never panned out, Urie could have always have a second career as a lounge singer.

While Panic! at the Disco brought the high energy, Weezer undid everything the Las Vegas-based band managed to do during their set. Weezer has never been the kind of band to rely on stunts like back flips and audience banter; they let their music do the talking. Sadly, that may have been the reason why a large chunk of the sold out audience took that time to either go buy food and merchandise or just leave for the evening. With such an easily distracted crowd, it was interesting to see how the older generation fared better that those pre-teens/teenagers in the crowd. During the show, there were some instances that made you wondered if the band even wanted to be there. “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” is one of the band’s most energetic and bubbly songs, but instead of acting on it, they just stood there and played the song. Though their energy and interaction with the crowd was lackluster at best, it did not take away from the fact that they sounded just like their records. During their set, they made sure to incorporate many of their older songs like “Undone – The Sweater Song,” “My Name is Jonas,” “We are All on Drugs,” “Pork and Beans,” “Perfect Situation,” and “Island in the Sun” with material from their recently released record, The White Album. Tracks from the new album included “California Kids,” “L.A Girlz,” “King of the World,” and “Thank God for Girls.” During “Thank God for Girls,” a montage of powerful women played behind the band which included icons like Elizabeth Taylor, Tina Fey, Michelle Obama, Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, and more.

Like many bands, Weezer chose to give the audience a two-song encore to complete their 17-track set list. The group retreated from the stage for a few minutes, only to return when their logo appeared against the black backdrop of the stage. As soon as they returned to face the crowd, they launched into “El Scorcho” from Pinkerton. “El Scorcho” was followed by the one song the vast majority (if not all) of the audience was waiting for; “Buddy Holly.” For the first time since their set kicked off, you could hear the crowd singing in unison “Oo-ee-oo I look just like Buddy Holly,” almost drowning out the band. As the song reached the last notes, confetti was blasted to the crowd. The blast of confetti was so powerful that it was still raining down on exiting audience members ten minutes later.

Whether you were there for Andrew McMahon, Panic! at the Disco, Weezer, or just because you had nothing better to do, it was definitely a fun way to bring in the summer concert season to South Florida.

The 1975 charm their South Florida fans during recent show

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In the last couple of years, The 1975 have gone from performing at tiny night clubs to headlining some of the summer’s biggest music festivals. The last time the group visited South Florida was back in 2014 when they performed at a sold out Culture Room in support of their debut album. This time around, the band traveled a little more south to the Kilpsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami to accommodate their rapidly-expanding fan base.

On Wednesday (May 11), the United Kingdom-based band made their long-awaited return to South Florida, almost two years to the day after their last show there. Armed with a brand new record and two supporting acts, the group showed the crowd just why they have managed to make the leap from small-print band on music festival posters to one of the main headliners with chart-topping hits. For their North American trek, the band enlisted support from two of their Dirty Hit label mates, Japanese House and Wolf Alice.

By the amount of people in the crowd who were singing along to both opening acts’ songs, it was evident how The 1975’s popularity has managed to rub off on both groups. During Japanese House’s set, the crowd was able to witness the sunset over the Miami skyline as they performed, while Wolf Alice’s rocking set welcomed the windy, star-studded evening.

At around nine, some of The 1975’s crew members could be seen on the stage, giving it a last-minute look-through. As they walked off the stage, the lights that once illuminated the area dimmed and the screaming and hollering from the audience grew to an all-time high. The shouting and mumbling of the band’s fans could be heard across the venue in a deafening tone. Following a long introduction in the dark, the band members began to make their way on stage with the exception of frontman Matt Healy and drummer George Daniel.

It was revealed the week before the show that Daniel would not be performing on the remaining tour dates due to an unfortunate, and random, incident. The drummer suffered a broken shoulder when he slipped off the group’s tour bus and was instructed to abstain from drumming. Healy and the band’s manager, Jamie Oborne, had confirmed the news, but also revealed that no dates would be cancelled. Instead, a friend of the band (who turned out to be Japanese House’s drummer, Freddy Sheed) would replace Daniel during the remaining shows.

Healy was the last member to make his way onto the stage, dressed in what at first appeared to be white silk pajamas which turned out to be nothing more than a white silk shirt and white pants. A few seconds later, they launched into the first song of the evening; the fame-mocking “Love Me.” Drenched in bright pink lights, Healy danced around the stage as the screams of the lyrics resonated across the venue. For anyone who has ever seen any of the band’s music videos, Healy’s performance on the stage, and in film form, are almost identical with the singer getting into his own music as he pranced, and danced, about the stage and almost appeared to be making out with his microphone.

One of the biggest eye-catchers of the show, aside from the band members themselves, were the color-changing lights. It was a sight to behold, as they changed to fit the tempo of each individual song. During “A Change of Heart,” the colors reflected the I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It cover art with pastel pink and mint illuminating the group from behind. During “Loving Someone,” the song in which Healy pleaded with the crowd to put their phones for a little bit, the colors shifted to darker tones with purples, reds, and oranges while during “UGH!” a city skyline illuminated the band during the three-minute track.

If the light show wasn’t enough to keep the audience interested, then incorporating older songs from their EPs as well as their debut album did the trick. Instead of focusing solely on tracks from their recently released album, The 1975 incorporated songs from their IV EP, their self-titled, and of course the new album to create a 21-song set list.

From the IV EP they played songs like “Me,” “You,” “So Far (It’s Alright),” and “fallingforyou.” Taking it back a little further, they played “Anobrain” from 2013’s Music for Cars EP. From their breakthrough album, The 1975, they gave fans tracks like “Menswear,” “An Encounter,” “Robbers,” and even had a saxophonist come out during “Heart Out” instead of playing pre-recorded audio. The rest of the lengthy set list came from I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It which included tracks like “Somebody Else,” “Paris,” and “She’s American,” a very fitting title for a group of British guys singing to a group of Americans.

While an encore was imminent, it didn’t quite feel like one. Instead of taking a break to refresh or recharge like many acts do before the encore, the band launched directly into “If I Believe You” from I Like it When You Sleep. The encore also included “Chocolate” from their debut album, recent single “The Sound,” and wrapped things up with the song that could arguably be the one that helped launched them into the mainstream, “Sex.” With a quick good-bye and thank you to the overflowing crowd, the group made their way off the stage ending another night at the rock show.

Marianas Trench’s “Hey You Guys! Tour” Touches Down in Fort Lauderdale

Photo by Erica Dominguez

Marianas Trench have already made a name for themselves in their home country of Canada, selling out arenas and even winning a Juno Award along the way. So what is a band who has already conquered the airwaves at home suppose to do? Hit the touring circuit in the United States of course.

On Sunday (Jan. 24), the Vancouver-based four-piece made their way to South Florida for the second leg of their “Hey You Guys! Tour.” Pulling up to the parking lot in front of Revolution Live in Ft. Lauderdale, a moderate-sized line could already be seen starting to form. In the line you could make out some people dressed in typical South Florida winter gear, a handful of attendees in ‘80s apparel while others sported frontman Josh Ramsay’s iconic bleached hair with a patch of electric blue. After shuffling in a little after seven, the venue began to fill out slowly.

After waiting about half-an-hour, the first band of the evening hit the stage. Ft. Lauderdale-based My Electric Heart showed the audience what they had to offer during their 20 minute set. During their time, they showed off some catching pop-rock tracks including original songs like “Dangerous” as well as an electro-pop cover of The Weeknd’s “Often.” Just as they were about to begin their final song, “Long Way Home,” they were advised that their time had run out. Before officially finishing their set, they did let everyone know that the current single could be found on Jukebox, an electronic jukebox found at South Florida restaurant chain Flanigan’s.

After a quick set change, it was time for the next opening band to take the stage; New York’s Mainland. From the get go, the group seemed to give off that “cool guys from New York” vibe, very similar to what you have learned to expect from another New York-based band, The Strokes. They further proved their coolness with their song “Not As Cool.” Fitting.

During the set, frontman Jordan Topf took a quick break from the music to give recognition to a special someone in the audience; his grandmother Elaine. As he introduced her, and pointed to where she was sitting, proudly waving a band tee in the air. Topf began to joke around with Mainland guitarist, Alex Pitta, who said that the frontman wouldn’t be there without her. Topf took it a little further by saying that he wouldn’t be there if the older lady hadn’t given birth to his late father. Too much information, but isn’t that what being a frontman is all about? After a couple of more songs which included their new single, “Outcast,” the title track from their recently released EP, their set came to a close.

Once their set had wrapped, the Mainland guys began to pick up their gear as a playlist which can be only be described as “the best of the ’80s,” began to blast through the speakers. Songs like Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” A-Ha’s “Take on Me,” Wham’s “Wake Me Up,” Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and more kept the predominantly young crowd pumped for the show that was about to take place. As a Michael Jackson song came to an end, the stage went dark and a rouse of cheers erupted from the crowd. The sound of fans at the front of the barricades freaking out quickly mingled with the sounds of excitement from the other fans in the crowd.

The first band member to emerge on the stage was drummer Ian Casselman with his awesome sideburns. Casselman quickly began drumming as several bright-colored spotlights flashed on him. He was soon joined on stage by guitarist Matt Webb and bassist Mike Ayley who were both dressed like they had jumped off a traveling stage production of Rock of Ages. The last one on stage was the one band member the vast majority of the audience was eagerly waiting for: frontman Josh Ramsay.

The second he sauntered across the stage to his microphone, dressed like the missing member of Alice Cooper’s band, you knew you were going to be in for a fun show. Quickly, the band launched into the first song of the evening, “Astoria.” Much like their recently released album by the same name, “Astoria” opened the record and now the show.

With that one song, the four-piece proved why they are so popular and beloved back home. With immeasurable enthusiasm, over-the-top energy, and a lot of sass on Ramsay’s part, you could see why they have become known for selling out major arenas. As Ramsay stood at the front of the stage in his tight, stone-washed looking pants, unbuttoned see-through black shirt, top hat, and makeup, you almost felt like you were at some ’80s hair metal band’s concert as opposed to a pop-rock group’s show.

After “Astoria,” the band continued with their 17-track setlist which included several tracks from Astoria such as “Yesterday,” “Burning Up,” “This Means War,” and others. While the setlist did include a lot of tracks off of the new album, they mixed things up by adding some songs from their older records including songs from Masterpiece Theater and Ever After. Songs like “All to Myself” and “Cross My Heart” represented 2009’s Masterpiece Theater while tracks like “Fallout,” “Stutter,” and “Desperate Measures” represented 2011’s Ever After.

Ramsay’s showmanship gave you the feeling that he could be your sassy best friend with his “don’t care” attitude, charming personality, and inappropriate timing. Before beginning on the somber track “One Love,” Ramsay joked about returning to Ft. Lauderdale because it seemed like a great place to party. He made sure to point out the multitude of bras that currently called the roof above the venue’s bar home. In that moment, Ramsay made the realization that he had a tendency of saying the most inappropriate and outlandish things before tackling serious subject matters.

Even with that realization, it did not stop the singer from saying more sassy and outlandish things throughout the evening. Before beginning on the track “Shut Up and Kiss Me,” he made sure to let the crowd know what kind of song they were about to receive. “This song is a little sassy…just like the bitch who wrote it,” he told the audience before turning around to begin on the song.

As the band were about to begin on “Pop 101,” Ramsay advised everyone how this was going to be an “educational” track. For those not familiar with the history of the song, it is a satirical step-by-step on how to write a hit pop song. The track was written by Ramsay after he helped co-write one of the most infectious, yet annoying songs of the 21st century: Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”

But while the charisma of the frontman was enough to make you like the band, their vocals further proved what was so great about them. From a person who has seen many bands try to harmonize and fail along the way, Marianas Trench have perfected that. As they sang “Who Do You Love,” you could hear the precision of their vocals becoming one throughout the song. It was so good that it most definitely rivaled the version on the album.

Almost as quickly as Ramsay’s filter returned, it once again left as the group were about to begin on “While We’re Young.” “I need to stop saying outlandish thingy s**** when I need to get serious…s***,” he chuckled.

As the song wrapped up, the band headed backstage for one of the quickest pre-encore changes. It was so fast, that the fans didn’t even notice. Instead of the full band returning to the stage, Ramsay emerged alone to perform “Good to You.” As the song progressed, it eventually gave way to “Haven’t Had Enough” from Ever After. As that song ended and the band were about to begin on the final track of the evening, “End of an Era,” the realization began to hit that the concert was almost over.

“End of an Era” is the closing track on Astoria, so it was only fitting that they opened the show with the opening track, and now closed the show with the record’s closing track. As the song played out, the lights in the venue began to darken to the point that the only visible thing in the club was the band’s name and the word “ASTORIA” below it. With only the band’s name and album’s title lighting the inside of the venue, it gave everyone the sad confirmation that the Ft. Lauderdale stop of the “Hey You Guys Tour” had just come to a close.

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Walk the Moon Bring the High-Energy Dance Party to Miami Beach

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(Oct. 13) Walk the Moon at The Fillmore Miami Beach/ Photo by Erica Dominguez

Walk the Moon have become known for their catchy and upbeat songs almost as much as for their colorful and vivid shows reminiscent of a Lisa Frank drawing. On Tuesday night (Oct. 13), the Ohio-based band landed in Miami Beach for their first show ever at The Fillmore Miami Beach.

Kicking off the evening was California-based group HOLYCHILD. The duo, who met in a dance class, is made up of singer Liz Nistico and multi-instrumentalist Louie Diller. Their stage presence, especially Nistico, was not to be missed. Dressed in a Boho version of Princess Jasmine’s attire in Aladdin, Nistico showed the crowd just how into her own music she was, dancing around the stage while Diller, who was dressed in a sweater with a massive hamburger on his chest, played his own instruments.

While their stagemanship was energetic and vivid, the same cannot be said about their stage lighting. For a venue with a dark paint job, it was not ideal to have the duo perform in predominately dark lights. For audience members nowhere near the front of the stage, and the photographers alike, it became a particularly difficult task to see the band members on stage. But while some were bothered by the unfortunate lighting situation, it didn’t seem to bother those at the front of the barricades singing and dancing throughout the whole set.

Once their set ended, that stage went dark allowing Walk the Moon’s technicians to get to work setting up the stage for the band. Knowing that waiting for a set change is a particularly daunting and boring task, especially for the fans who had been waiting since three in the afternoon, the venue put on a playlist consisting of electro-pop groups with music styles similar to Walk the Moon.

When Capital Cities’ “Safe and Sound” blasted through the speakers, a massive sing-along ensued with the crowd’s joint voices almost drowning out the actual song. Once “Safe and Sound” ended, Elton John’s “Circle of Life” soon filled the room. The song was an indication that the band was about to hit the stage.

Hidden by the dark blue lights illuminating the stage, the members of Walk the Moon made their way to their rightful places on the stage during the Lion King song. The subdued moment didn’t last long as the band quickly launched into the first song of the evening, “Jenny.” Quickly, everyone in the room began to realize that this was not a show that was going to lose its high energy, liveness.

During “Jenny,” frontman Nicholas Petricca was so in the zone that at one point it appeared that he was grinding against his keyboards. Not to be outdone by their frontman, guitarist Eli Maiman and bassist Kevin Ray ran up and down the stage like a bunch of children who drank one too many Red Bulls earlier in the day. Not to be left out was drummer Sean Waugaman with his purple hair and turquoise lit drum set, banging his drums and cymbals to the beat of the first song of the night.

After playing through “Sidekick” and “Avalanche” from 2014’s Talking is Hard, the album the tour is named after, Petricca admitted that this was their first show in the “Magic City.” It was true. When they opened for Panic! at the Disco during 2014’s “The Gospel Tour,” the show took place in Boca Raton while their sold out show earlier this year was at Ft. Lauderdale’s Revolution Live. Petricca also admitted how much he liked Miami because it was a “melting pot” full of “different colors”; a direct lead-in for their current single, “Different Colors.”

The setlist mainly consisted of songs from Talking is Hard including “UP2U,” “Work That Body,” Portugal,” and “Aquaman,” but managed to add some songs from their self-titled debut like “Tightrope,” “Lisa Baby,” and “I Can Lift a Car.” The last song on their official setlist was the one that earned them massive popularity and resulted in the song spending a history-making 27 consecutive weeks at number one on Billboard’s Hot Rock Song chart; “Shut Up and Dance.” The song stayed true to its title, making everyone in the crowd get up and dance, including a couple of security guards and fire rescue personnel.

Once the song ended, the four-piece walked off stage, but the crowd was not happy about that. Instead, they began to chant “Anna Sun”; arguably the band’s breakout song and the one track they had yet to play. For what was probably the shortest pre-encore break, the band came back onto the stage for their encore set. Petricca spoke to the audience, thanking them for coming out on a rainy Tuesday evening and even showing off some of his Spanish; “To all our friends from south of the border, gracias por venir.” After the thanks, they launched into “We are the Kids” also off of Talking is Hard.

Once “We are the Kids” had concluded, Walk the Moon didn’t waste any time and launched directly into the song that everyone, or at least the vast majority of the audience, was waiting for, “Anna Sun.” Proving that these were not just a group of people here for the “one hit,” the medley of voice sang the lyrics alongside Petricca until the very last word. After throwing some guitar picks, a Styrofoam plate with the setlist written on it, and what was appeared to be a drum head into the crowd, the band bid their final farewell to the dissipating crowd before them. As they made their way off the stage to the backstage area, the crowd of fans that still lingered made their own ways to the exit, signaling the end to another concert at The Fillmore.

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All Time Low Bring Their ‘Future Hearts’ to Boca Raton

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Driving down a long, winding road surrounded by trees, the first thought to pop into your head would probably be “where exactly is this Sunset Cove Amphitheater?”

Past a golf course with a range, a school, and a dog park, a clearing with a shelter and lines of port-a-potties will appear right on the edge of a body of water. A scenic view, not something you’d expect for a concert venue.

Beyond the iron gates, the sun could be seen beginning to set, giving the impression that it had been nothing but a clear day in the city of Boca Raton.

That was not the case a few hours earlier, when the gates first opened and a torrential downpour threatened the rock show that was about to take place.

By the time the supporting acts of the evening State Champs, Tonight Alive, and Issues had taken the stage, South Florida had decided to give the rain a break and allow a clear evening sky for All Time Low to give their fans a part of their (future) hearts.

After a long set change, which required the crew to moving  all show equipment far from the edge of the stage in the event Florida weather decided to strike again, the stage lights turned dark signaling that the Baltimore-based band were ready to kick off the show.

The set opened up with “Satellite,” the first track off of their recently released album, Future Hearts. After the mellow song played out, they quickly launched into “The Irony of Chocking on a Lifesaver” off of 2013’s Don’t Panic followed by “In Stereo” and “Stella” both from 2011’s Nothing Personal.

After “Stella,” frontman Alex Gaskarth thanked the fans on behalf of the band for sticking around after the horrible rain they endured. He admitted that for a while, he thought the vast majority of the audience would have left due to the terrible weather.

Apparently, he underestimated the dedication of their “Hustlers.”

They continued with tracks like “Six Feet Under the Stars” which ended up with a large potion of the audience participating in a circle pit followed by “Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t),” and “Runaways,” another new track from Future Hearts.

As Gaskarth and guitarist Jack Barakat spoke to the audience, they noticed there was a guy holding a sign, asking the band to help him ask a girl out to prom; you know, a promposal. Instead, Gaskarth jokingly asked the girl to go with him, but sadly, the girl not only turned the singer down, but also the guy.

Bummer.

Barakat quickly tried to turn the embarrassing moment into one that was funny by telling the audience about this story someone had told him earlier in the day. The story went that if you took off all your clothes and stood naked outside, the rain could not touch you.

For anyone familiar with Barakat and Gaskarth, both act like permanent teenage boys.

As he finished the story, the audience quickly erupted in a “get naked” chant. Nothing came from that, so they continued onto the next song on the list, “Weightless.”

As “Weightless” ended, thing went quiet for a bit.

Gaskarth emerged from the back with an acoustic guitar to play the acoustic song “Therapy” also from Nothing Personal. Once the slow song was over, the other three band members (Barakat, bassist Zack Merrick, and drummer Rian Dawson) returned and played “Missing You,” another song from Future Hearts which the band has repeatedly stated is their favorite on the record.

They quickly continued down the list with “Reckless and the Brave” and “Love Like War.” “Love Like War” originally features vocals from Pierce the Veil’s Vic Fuentes, but this version was given a special twist when Tonight Alive frontwoman, Jenna McDougall, came on stage to take over Fuentes’ parts.

As the song ended Gaskarth hugged McDougall and the band began “Backseat Serenade” followed by “Time-Bomb,” but this version of the Dirty Work song was different.

Before beginning, the band decided they wanted to bring some fans on stage to assist with the song. When they announced their plan, the crowd went crazy with everyone from the back to the front, trying to get the band members’, and their security’s, attention.

Somehow, they managed to have too many females on the stage (who were too busy taking selfies/videos) and Barakat started to complain there weren’t “enough penises” on stage. Eventually, they got the right balance and launched into the song.

Maybe the microphones weren’t plugged in or the fans couldn’t remember all the words, but the only vocals heard were Gaskarth’s.

With a quick shout out to some members of hometown band New Found Glory who were in the crowd (All Time Low’s name comes from a NFG song), they started on their last official song of the evening, “Something’s Gotta Give.”

Once the song wrapped, the band headed backstage and soon after, the “ONE MORE SONG” chants began. But the band didn’t give them just one more song; they gave them a total of four.

The encore began with “Kids in the Dark,” a fitting title considering everyone in the crowd at that moment were “kids in the dark.” They followed the new song up with “Jasey Rae,” an oldie, but a goodie they always dedicate to their longtime fans.

A surprise to the setlist came when they played Blink-182’s “All the Small Things.” At first, it seemed like they would just play the intro, but then they launched into the full song. As they wrapped, Barakat joked that it was a song they “just wrote” and had no idea how the audience knew the words.

But as everyone laughed at the joke, it soon became apparent the night was wrapping up. There was only one song left on the encore set list. The song that launched them from MySpace sweethearts to the band whose new album landed at the number two spot on the Billboard 200; “Dear Maria, Count Me In.”

Earlier in the week, the RIAA had revealed that the 2007 song had reached platinum status, quite a feat for a bunch of goofy guys from Maryland.

As the song wrapped, confetti was blasted into the air signaling the end of the show. As confetti rained down on the fans, as opposed to the rain from a couple of hours earlier, Barakat, who was rocking a hot pink frilly bra during the song, could be seen through the screen of smoke and paper dancing along to Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” as the audience members began to shuffle their way out the gates. Soon, the house lights came on, signaling the end of the South Florida stop of the “Future Hearts Tour.”

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Silverstein on the ‘Discovering the Waterfront Tenth Anniversary Tour’

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Silverstein at Revolution Live in Ft. Lauderdale, FL for their “Discovering the Waterfront Tenth Anniversary Tour” (Feb. 13, 2015) also frontman Shane Told’s birthday.

New Found Glory Acoustic Set at F.Y.E.

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New Found Glory treating hometown fans to an acoustic performance at F.Y.E. at Sawrgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise, FL (Oct. 11) as part of their in-store tour in conjunction with the Glamour Kills Tour.