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Live Show Recap: We Came As Romans @ Irving Plaza

By Evan Leong

Photo Credit: Evan Leong

Electric. That would probably be the best word to describe a We Came As Romans live show. Boundless energy, headbanging, cheering, singing and screaming were all a part of a live experience I won’t be forgetting any time soon. When I arrived at Irving Plaza in New York City, the line for the doors stretched all the way around the block. It was about 35 degrees and raining, but fans still chatted excitedly about the chance to see the band perform songs off their latest record, Darkbloom

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As we made our way inside, deathcore band Brand of Sacrifice opened the show. Though I’m a big fan of heavy music, I can’t say I’ve listened to much deathcore. But the band had me headbanging and making the classic “stank face” through the entirety of their set. 

Photo Credit: Evan Leong

Next, metalcore band Erra took the stage. They’re a recent discovery of mine, but I’ve had their song “Gungrave” on loop for the past month. It’s got one of their most catchy, melodic choruses, an absolutely insane breakdown, and one of the coolest riffs I’ve ever heard played on a guitar. Erra was fantastic live and I couldn’t help but sing along to a handful of their songs.

Photo Credit: Evan Leong

The crowd was deafening when We Came As Romans finally took the stage. They led the way with “Daggers,” one of the heaviest songs from Darkbloom. It’s a loud, frenetic way to open a set. In other words, it’s the perfect way to open a metalcore show. It didn’t stop there; lead vocalist Dave Stephens then hopped atop of the barricade to sing with the crowd, much to their delight.

I initially became a fan of WCAR, as they’re known to fans, after the release of their 2017 record Cold Like War. Watching them play songs from that record made me nostalgic. The energy was unrelenting, especially when the band played fan favorite songs “Lost in the Moment” and “Wasted Age.” The band then dived into some classics from their earlier records, thrilling longtime listeners.

Photo Credit: Evan Leong

I appreciate headlining artists who genuinely enjoy interacting with fans, and WCAR certainly fits the bill. In a heartfelt speech, Stephens said that after the release of the band’s 2015 self-titled album, the band hit a significant low. They couldn’t agree on what direction to take, and they had a major identity crisis. They didn’t know if they could continue making music. But overwhelming fan support encouraged them to persevere, so they began to write again. The outcome? The critically acclaimed LP Cold Like War, one of my favorite metalcore records to date.

This is the Darkbloom release tour, so the band saved some of their most popular songs from the record for last. “Plagued” was phenomenal, and the band followed up with the cinematic “Darkbloom” and one of their catchiest tracks, “Black Hole.” For the last 3 songs, it felt like everyone in the building was singing along. I definitely was. I spent the train ride home with a post-show hangover, but it was worth it.

Photo Credit: Evan Leong

For photos from this show, head over to our concert photography Instagram! And for more live music coverage, stay up-to-date with our blog, and make sure to tune in to 88.7 WRSU-FM radio. Until next time!

Live Show Recap: Golden Child x White Eagle Hall

By Chey Olexa

Photo Credit: Chey Olexa

After a fan meeting tour in the U.S. earlier this year, K-pop boy group Golden Child has come back to the Americas for another round of shows. Starting out their round of dates in the United States, the members stopped by White Eagle Hall in Jersey City. 

The night started with activities between the members and VVIPs when they held a signing session where their fans could get either a poster or album signed by the members while getting to chat for a few moments. Fans were gushing about their fun interactions for the rest of the night. I was one of the lucky VVIPs and the eight men who were able to come on this tour made sure each fan felt welcome while talking to them, thanking each person for their visit. VIPs were then let in before a short soundcheck performance where the group performed a song before the main show.

The show itself was full of title tracks from their five year discography along with fan favorite b-sides. The members mentioned the difficulty that came with planning a setlist when having many songs released so they made sure to perform an acapella section with a little snippet of just a few of the tracks that didn’t make it this time around. The setlist was full of songs that showcased the different sides of the group from their ballad-like music such as “All Day” to their mature concepts with “Wannabe” to their cute side with their debut track “DamDaDi”. Golden Child has many colors to their music and this concert did a great job of showcasing their unique sound.

The night was bittersweet as the members acknowledged the absence of their youngest and oldest members who couldn’t join but they made sure to keep them involved by using cutouts of the two of them made by fans. The group hopes to come back soon and made sure to let fans know of their love for the New York/New Jersey area. Golden Child was a group very interactive with their crowd, cheering with them, giving gifts, and asking for different kinds of engagement throughout the show. The night came to a close with a snapshot session hosted by the tour managers, Studio PAV. Everyone who was lucky enough to purchase a snapshot ticket was able to get a polaroid taken with the member their ticket is for, picking a pose for the member and them to do together. 

While the show was focused on giving fans a night to interact with the group to the very end, there were non-fans in attendance that enjoyed the show as well. K-pop groups have a wide diversity in their music that makes it easy for fans of any genre to enjoy. It just takes finding the right songs. Golden Child is a group that constantly switches concepts and does it well so they have their own sound while experimenting with each comeback. While standing for this show, it’s hard to not dance to at least one of their songs.

While waiting for their next comeback, take a look at their socials for behind the scenes shots and videos of their tour and other appearances they’ve made. Check out their latest album “AURA” which gives a look into the different types of tracks you can find throughout their discography.

Live Show Preview: We Came As Romans

by Evan Leong

Photo Credit: Atom Splitter PR

This Sunday, American metalcore band We Came As Romans is set to arrive at Irving Plaza in New York City. Supported by metal acts Brand of Sacrifice and Erra, the tour marks the first since the release of We Came As Romans’ 2022 album, Darkbloom.

Darkbloom is a product of grief, loss, and ultimately, hope. In 2018, tragedy struck when co-vocalist and keyboardist Kyle Pavone passed away unexpectedly. What followed was a global pandemic that ended global touring for artists around the world. But We Came As Romans persevered. On October 14, 2022, the Detroit-based band unveiled their sixth studio album, with co-vocalist Dave Stephens taking lead vocal duties.

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Live Show Recap: Arlo Parks @ Franklin Music Hall

By Deven Sukhdeo

Photo credit: Deven Sukhdeo

Philadelphia’s Franklin Music Hall recently got an incredible visit from the one and only Arlo Parks and the Collapsed in Sunbeams tour. This beautiful and dynamic album explores different stories of conflict, love, and pain, each with a unique tone. It has been tremendously well received, and won the prestigious Mercury Prize. The album has been a WRSU staple since its release in 2021, and I am so happy I got to see it performed live. 

Many Arlo Parks fans are especially fond of her vulnerability and poetic writing. There are countless mentions of the music inspiring her fans and helping them confront their emotions. Arlo Parks is known for releasing imaginative music that touches on very personal experiences, and her authenticity shines through the entirety of the album. Deeply inspired by poetry, many of the songs’ lyrics are expressive and vivid.

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Sand, Surf, and Songs: A Sea Hear Now Review

By Matt Keenan 

Credit: Brittany Hallberg

Sea Hear Now 2022 was an absolute blast, and with one look at the lineup and location it’s not hard to see why. Beachfront since 2018, this was my personal first year going and the first WRSU has gone as well and I cannot say it enough, boy was it ever so impressive. This was a festival of firsts, my first time seeing a lot of the bands on this lineup despite listening to most of them for years, the first time as I mentioned the station has attended the event, and the first time I attended the event, and the first festival I’ve covered personally too. What a way to start, the weather was beautiful, it wasn’t too cold or hot, it was nice and breezy, and this paired with the literal coolest lineup, how could you lose? 

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Live Show Recap: Snail Mail x The Stone Pony

photo credit: Matt Keenan

By Matt Keenan 

In Asbury Park this past Wednesday, August 17th, Snail Mail brought her tour with Hotline TNT and new college radio favorites, Momma to The Stone Pony for a sold out show, my personal first show on the inside of the Stone Pony in a while, and only my second time taking pictures of one. The three bands brought an unbelievably confident, unforgettable energy to their performances and proved to be one of the most exciting shows I’ve been to in a while. I am so happy I got to go to this show, my second outing taking concert photos was incredible and I have these bands to thank for that. The show was fun from start to finish, without a single second of boredom in any of the sets.

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Single Review: “Roman Candles” by Death Cab for Cutie 

Credit: Atlantic Records Press

By Tom Hicks

“Roman Candles”, the new single by Indie-rock legends Death Cab for Cutie, signifies a rebirth in their sound to fit current musical trends. Featuring high-fidelity reverberation and distortion-guitar effects over their signature soft vocal melodies, DCFC produces a sound incomparable to anything they did on previous releases. The song is not a relaxing listen like the lo-fi-esque releases they are known for, as the heavy guitar/synth sounds are discordant to the vocals, producing an anxious and foreboding feeling. Though, despite its unusual sound, it feels resolute and complete overall, leaving the listener with a feeling of satisfaction by the end. 

The song begins with a deep-punching rhythm of drums and bass before introducing vocals. The lyricist and primary songwriter, Ben Gibbard takes a different approach to lyrics on this release. Rather than writing this song to someone else or a group of people, the song is mainly introspective. The focus is on the everyday, such as getting a cup of coffee and waking up. The relatable nature of the song is extended to the line “everyone moving while i’m standing still”. This is definitely a feeling which we all felt over the past two years, as everyone was socially disconnected from each other and had no idea how others were handling the situation. Over blaring synthesizer leads, Ben Gibbard’s vocals are conversely relaxed and steady to create something pleasant in the presence of what seems like a disordered song. While the lyrics indicate a disconnection from others, there is also a bit of relief, as there is the realization of what one can let go of from their past. During the global quarantine, we all felt the sorrow of not being able to see others, but also the relief of learning more about ourselves and our personal needs apart from others. Coming out of quarantine, the difficulty which the lyrics describe is the letting go of that which you do not want to bring back into your life post-quarantine. The overarching relation to Roman Candles, a firework which one sets off from their own arm, is that this is an astonishing and brave act of an individual. There is pain in letting go, but also importance and personal amazement that comes with it. Ben Gibbard is notable for creating lyrics which turn a grave situation into something understandable, yet comfortable in its understandable nature. Rather than focus on the negative aspects of life, he creates a narrative of the world which is realistically harmonious and succinct to provoke feelings of joy and personal connection even in the worst of situations. 

It is no surprise to fans that this single is so different from previous releases, as since their formation in 1997, DCFC have remained consistently inventive and undefinable. There are few artists which release albums that are each enjoyed by separate groups of fans. It is as if each album exists on its own. Many original fans may know them for their first trio of lo-fi-rock albums released between 1998 and 2001. Meanwhile, some more contemporary listeners may know them for You Can Play These Songs With Chords, Transatlanticism, Plans, and Narrow Stairs. And listeners of recent may know them for Codes and Keys, Kintsugi, and Thank You For Today, which have had many singles featured on college radio stations in the past few years. Though, each album remains enjoyable to loyal fans, as the themes and song elements are familiar, despite their differences. Asphalt Meadows, which comes out September 16th, is a complete mystery to fans, as no one is certain what direction the band will go in with their sound. Though based on past releases, there is faith amongst fans that this release will not disappoint.

Live Show Recap: Beach Bunny at Brooklyn Steel 

Photo Credit: Matt Keenan

By Matt Keenan 

Celebrating the release of their new record, Emotional Creature, fan favorite pop-rock group Beach Bunny took the stage at Brooklyn Steel this past August 6th to showcase songs off the new release as well as additional hits off 2021’s Blame Game EP, and 2020’s full-length Honeymoon

Beach Bunny is one of the rare bands that has been in my rotation for a while and I absolutely refuse to get tired of, and the new record didn’t disappoint even for a second. Songs like “Entropy”, and “Oxygen” were immaculate as well as captivating. The record came out as a sonically inventive, and thematically purposeful work of art. From the carefully written lyrics to the tight pop-rock instrumentals you can’t help but move a little but whenever you’re listening. The same held true for Honeymoon, from start to finish the album held not a single skip. I’m so happy I got to see the two albums and even songs from the Blame Game EP played out in a live setting. Beach Bunny impressed, and then some.

Photo Credit: Matt Keenan

Beach Bunny’s performance in a live setting was another highlight, the group consistently engaged the crowd and you could feel the love in the room as the audience knew every single word to every single song. Very rarely do you ever feel the love in a big venue like Brooklyn Steel, love so powerful it makes the big venue feel so small, but Beach Bunny’s one of a kind connection to the audience through their project after project proof that they are one of a kind did just that. 

Beach Bunny is a band I honestly am so passionate about, and am so happy I had the opportunity to come out and cover for my first ever show coverage. It was a privilege to share this memory with a band so important to me. Taking photos at Brooklyn Steel of the band was such a cool experience if you haven’t already, go stream their music or make it out to a show I couldn’t possibly recommend it any more.

You can stream Emotional Creature,  and the rest of Beach Bunny’s catalog on all major streaming platforms, and tune in to hear them on WRSU New Brunswick this Fall and beyond. 

For more Beach Bunny:

Website I Apple Music | Spotify | YouTube | Twitter | Instagram

Album Review: “At Least I’m Free” by WAAX

By Matt Keenan 

The new album from Australian post-punk band WAAX has just arrived August 12th, after the release of singles like “No Doz,” “Most Hated Girl,” the Linda Perry co-written “Dangerous” and “Read Receipts.” The album, At Least I’m Free has been released via Australian label, Dew Process. The album also comes with a video for the single “No Doz”, which you can stream here

To introduce you to the band, WAAX was formed in 2013 and through rigorous touring and living in the Australian music industry, the band found their first form of stability in their 2019 debut Big Grief, which would see them place in the Hottest 100, tour the States and play SXSW, and play triumphant sets at UNIFY and Splendour In The Grass. The group is known for this unmistakable raw energy which they time and time again reconstruct in their live performances and releases. 

The new album has these piercing layers of guitars, energetic vocals, supported by a solid, punchy rhythm section to provide for an energy you can feel from through your phone. To me, the guitars on “Most Hated Girl” are reminiscent of the intro to “Art School” by Remo Drive, with that cutting energetic feeling that WAAX executes so beautifully. The record combines familiarity with something fresh for me which makes it so inviting, it’s that punk sound you’ve heard before but WAAX has a way of making it come off so individual and bringing a fresh sound to a genre I thought I knew. 

All things considered, every track feels like it is meant to be there and the combination of familiarity and individuality rolled up into this one fun record provides for a fun listen. You can stream the new album, “At Least I’m Free” now on all major streaming platforms. 

For more WAAX:

Website | Apple Music | Bandcamp | Spotify | YouTube | Twitter | Instagram

Welcome Home, Action Bronson

By Kaylee Landrigan

There’s nothing more quintessentially Queens than a free Action Bronson concert in the iconic Flushing Meadows Corona Park featuring some of Bronson’s favorite collaborators. 

Fresh out of his intense outdoor workout, Bronson was ready to bring that same determined energy to the sea of anticipating fans. In a bright neon green muscle tee, and with his sweat bands still on his arms, Action Bronson graced SummerStage with a roaring confidence. Bronson—completely wordless—waited as fans cheered and hollered, yelling out “Mr. Baklava!”

The crowd’s excitement only intensified as the Parisian-and-Italian-1970s-style classical music blasts through the speakers and Bronson begins to rap “Knock, knock, knock it out the box, Bronson” off his hit track “DMTri” with The Alchemist. For much of the concert, this is how it goes down: one of the most beautiful beats you’ve ever heard plays; followed by a series of unforgettable, classic Bronsonliño lines with nonstop audience participation; and perhaps, an extra instrumental solo by Yung Mehico. 

Recently releasing another unskippable LP, Cocodrillo Turbo, this spring, Bronson made sure to play all the fan favorites off the record. Songs like “Subzero,” “Jaguar,” and “Tongpo” had quite a crowd reception, but it wasn’t until “Estaciones” started playing, when things got really fun. One of my personal favorites off the album, because of the song’s dramatic and intense piano chords accompanied by some of the most outlandish lyrical shit-talking, “Estaciones” gets the rapper riled up. Dumbfounded, he raps, “Bitch, get the fuck up off me, don’t try to kiss me with your lips all chalky,” and fan laughter quickly followed. He brings the song’s collaborator, Hologram, on stage to go bar for bar with Bronson and deliver the most iconic verse off the album. 

But what’s better than one special guest? Two. The legendary producer, The Alchemist, pulled up to pump up the crowd with the classics, “Terry” and a very sentimental tribute to Mac Miller with “Red Dot Music.” 

To end the show, Action brought out his son to say a last few words (which included a very long “goodbyeeeeeee”) and in true Bronson fashion, he told us to meet him at the Colombian Festival inside the park.