Author and Photographer: Jonathan Stark (Stark Raving Mad Photography LLC.)
Ah, Dropkick Murphys….. A band I’ve been listening to since “Give’ Em the Boot” came out in 1997. The Dropkick Murphys had a song on there titled “Barroom Hero” and it was absolutely incredible. Pretty sure I’m not the only one who felt that way. Totally original, compelling, raw and rowdy. I was playing rugby at that time for The University of Central Florida and the song fit the bill; got a lot of play on the pitch and at the pub.
Dropkick Murphys and others have the power to take me back. They are part of a soundtrack to my life, a soundtrack to our lives. They are still hammering it out, refusing to fade and they certainly have not lost their relevance and impact.
Last year they toured with Clutch and Hatebreed and I was fortunate enough to catch the show. Side note here, Clutch puts on an awesome show. You can catch them on tour with Volbeat starting in April.
I shot a multitude of outstanding shows in 2019 from Social Distortion, Bad Religion, Killswitch Engage, Korn, After the Burial, As I Lay Dying, and Within Temptation to Switchfoot and Lecrae. However, I’m not sure anyone can touch the energy of the boys in Dropkick. It was just me and one other photographer in the photo pit and we were absolutely hustling. I mean sweaty, heavy breathing Crossfit style workout. Ken and Al had us running as they moved from the stage to the crowd and back again. To add to the fun they swapped sides of the stage on the regular. I was amazed that we all worked together in a nice almost choreographed fashion. It was an honor.
I had a few magic captures in 2019, one came during the All That Remains concert at The Oriental Theater in Denver when Phil sung "What If I Was Nothing" to a woman in the audience. Another, I felt was when a fan in line at the Unashamed Forever Tour in Tampa gave me a high-five. The last was during the Dropkick Murphys show in Denver when Ken gave the microphone to a young fan in the audience. These moments are some of my proudest.
Ken and the guys honoring their fans, especially the young fans was something that I’ll never forget. It shows their humility and how much they make their concerts into an organic event, almost one body, band and fan moving as one. I was very impressed. Having been a fan since before their first LP was released, shockingly I had never attended a Dropkick concert. For shame.
Besides the aforementioned, the show was invariably charged for so many reasons. The tech guys and soundboard hustlers (Forgive me; I’m a layman in the industry speak.) were topnotch. As a photographer the lighting was on point from the opening notes on the bagpipe. That is such a blessing to a photographer operating under the first three songs rule. Additionally, everyone in the band was engaged, not just going through the motions. It was obvious they are truly enjoying the performance just as much if not more so than the fans in attendance. I had taken my oldest son, Brody, who’s a fan as well. He informed me that based on his learned opinion, Dropkick Murphys and August Burns Red were tied for the best performances of the year. He’s right; August Burns Red does put on one heck of a show too.
The Dropkick Murphys are headed overseas. Likely as I type this sub-professional sub-par article they are in flight. January 28th they will be playing Madrid, Spain. I’m a little jealous as they will be hitting Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Denmark and so on. You can see it for yourself here, those lucky bastages. Whether you’re an avid fan, kinda fan, or just like a live performance, go see Dropkick Murphys perform live….. Maybe you can catch their show in Oslo, Norway on February 3rd. I’m thinking vacation.
The Medicine Tour Rolls Through The Forge in Joliet, Illinois With Sleeping With Sirens, Set It Off, Belmont and Point North
By: Anthony Cannella
Recently, The Medicine Tour kicked off and made its stop at the sold out, The Forge, venue in Joliet, Illinois with the stacked lineup of Sleeping With Sirens, Set It Off, Belmont and Point North! With the line wrapped around the block before the show even started, you could tell these fans were ready for an insane night of Rock. Right from the beginning, the crowd wasted no time as they presented a high energy environment throughout Point North’s set. As time went on, the people kept pouring in, which indicated it was only going to crazier as the show went on!
After Point North set the standard of the night, Belmont took it up a notch as they got the crowd surfers going with their Punk/Bounce style. With Belmont being from Chicago, they definitely felt the love from the hometown crowd as they even gave us a taste of some new music!
With Belmont’s set wrapping up, Set It Off and Sleeping With Sirens concluded the night as they completely took over the venue back to back. With The Forge being a compact venue, they utilized it to their advantage as they forced the crowd to do whatever they wanted to with their high energy performance. Sleeping With Sirens is honestly a band that is a must see when they are at a venue near you. Their style goes unmatched as they present you a set that ranges throughout their years. As a fan, they leave you completely satisfied mixing the old bangers with the hits from their newest album ‘How It Feels To Be Lost’ that was released in 2019 via Sumerian Records. Kellin Quinn is absolutely flawless in his vocals, but is perfectly complimented by his Rockstar’s behind him that include: Jack Fowler, Gabe Barham, Nick Martin and Justin Hills! One moment they have you moshing, crowd surfing, doing a wall of death and then the other moment before you know it, they bring it down as they play their cover of IRIS by the Goo Goo Dolls acoustically.
The Medicine Tour is an absolute must-see tour and there are still plenty of shows left on this tour. If it is coming to your city, we suggest that you get tickets immediately if you haven’t already. Lucky for you, if you missed this tour or if you simply would like to see Set It Off or Sleeping With Sirens again, check out their tour dates that will occur once this tour is over! All info can be found below!
Sleeping With Sirens, Photos by Anthony Cannella
Set It Off, Photos by Anthony Cannella
Belmont, Photos by Anthony Cannella
By: Anthony Cannella
All Time Low’s Ten Years Later And It’s Still Nothing Personal Tour rolled through Chicago, Illinois at the House Of Blues and we were there! All Time Low had the sold-out crowd going insane as they performed their third studio album ‘Nothing Personal’, that was released via Hopeless Records on July 7, 2009, in its entirety. In addition, they threw in one of their crowd favorites “Dear Maria” as their closing song for the encore. These Pop-Punk bangers from 2009 literally made the venue shake as everyone sang along while jumping with the crowd surfers. From start to finish, All Time Low had the girls going wild as they covered the stage with bras that were thrown at them. We could easily say they made security earn their money that night! To see how incredible this show was, check the photos below!
Alex Gaskarth, Jack Barakat, Rian Dawson, Zack Merrick also had their families there in the VIP boxes, which made for a special night all around for everyone. All Time Low has recently released a remaster of ‘Nothing Personal’ and it is available now! We highly suggest that you check it out and start blasting this album as it is timeless music that will never get sick of. It is truly an amazing album, so definitely give this tribute some attention! Check out the links below to order it and find out more info about the album!
All Time Low, Photos by Anthony Cannella
101WKQX The Nights We Stole Christmas Takes Over The Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, Illinois For 5 Sold Out Nights
By: Anthony Cannella
For five straight nights, 101 WKQX transformed the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago into a winter wonderland of Rock for the annual The Nights We Stole Christmas! The place was lit up with Christmas decorations, had snow coming down from the ceiling at all times and even had Santa make an appearance. Out of the thrilling five nights of incredible talent that the Aragon hosted, we were able to attend the first and last night. With that being said, we were able to work with The Federal Empire, Angels And Airwaves and Cage The Elephant on night one! On the last night, we were with The Glorious Sons, Highly Suspect and closed with 311!
Each band brough an insane amount of energy, giving the fans a set they will never forget. From crowd diving to jumping on the barricade and singing with the crowd, each band brought their own antics that made the place erupt. The similarity between these six bands that we caught are that each of them released new music in 2019, whether that be a few songs or an entire album. Some of them still have more music on the way! We could assure you that they did not hesitate to showcase the new stuff, which you could tell was highly anticipated based off the reactions. These bands are dynamite live performers though and are a must see. Luckily for you, 2020 will be a busy year for each of them, so be on the lookout! To learn more, click the links below on the bands websites to find out info on tour dates, releases and much more. Also, check out the photos below to see how much these days ROCKED!
The Federal Empire, Photos by Anthony Cannella
Angels and Airwaves, Photos by Anthony Cannella
Cage the Elephant, Photos by Anthony Cannella
Highly Suspect, Photos by Anthony Cannella
311, Photos by Anthony Cannella
Saving Vice Ends The Year With New Single "Hollow Bastion" and Music Video For It; Interview With Vocalist Tyler Small
By: Anthony Cannella
All Photos: Ian Urquhart
Saving Vice, the Metalcore Independent band from New England, had one hell of a 2019 with appearances on the Billboard charts along with performances at Warped Tour, iMatter Festival, and much more. Since they have started in 2016, Saving Vice has been creeping up to new heights in the Metalcore scene with their intense sound and heavy passionate performances.
Seeing them live and hearing their music, it is no surprise on why they have been taking over one city, venue and festival at a time!
Saving Vice: Photos by Ian Urquhart
As their brilliant year comes to an end, Saving Vice sure went out with a bang as they released their new single “Hollow Bastion” with a killer music video that followed! Check it out below and let us know what you think!
After hearing this new single and watching the new music video for “Hollow Bastion”, we just had to know more about it. We had a chat with Saving Vice’s vocalist Tyler Small about the single and about their year as a whole. Check out what he had to say below!
Tyler Small, Saving Vice
HeadRush TV: It is no secret that Saving Vice killed it in 2019 with things such as Billboard charts, Warped Tour, iMatter Festival, and more. With those accolades and festivals in the books now, what more will you strive for in 2020?
Tyler Small: It's honestly hard to say because we never expect these things that keep happening for us, we just learn from our previous successes and mistakes. There are definitely some festivals and bands we have in our sights for shows, we really want to get on the road more. The biggest thing for us is making sure our album reaches as many people as possible, our music usually does the work for us anytime people hear it.
HeadRush TV: So, speaking of 2020, Saving Vice is releasing a new album in February! Could you tell us what this creative process was like for this album and what could we really expect with this new music?
Tyler Small: We all have our own systems, I can only speak for myself, but I just write whenever I have an idea or inspiration, so it's never forced. Sometimes it'll be a melody, or a one liner, maybe even a title, then later when I get pre pro instrumentals sent to me I'll kinds of piece it together with the music. I can say for certain not a single song sounds the same, they may all sound like us but we touched so many genres and subgenres on this album. There's a song for everyone.
HeadRush TV: On the topic of new music, you guys just released a new song and music video for “Hallow Bastion”. What message are you trying to get across with this new song and with the killer music video that followed?
Tyler Small: The song is pretty much about coping with the depression nostalgia can bring as well as the dread of mortality. If there is one solid message it's that your time is limited and you can waste it dwelling on what could be or could have been, or you can use it wisely before it's too late.
HeadRush TV: The music video for “Hollow Bastion” honestly goes so hard! What was the filming process like for this song and could we expect any more music videos for this upcoming album?
Tyler Small: So, we basically had this one big white room in a studio, and we all took turns shooting our scenes. The coolest parts for me were having Robbie's grandfather acting as his future self and when I was spitting up blood and teeth. It just made me feel like I was shooting a Marilyn Manson video or something. There will 100% be more videos as well, we really believe in every song and want each one to be brought to life if possible.
HeadRush TV: Lastly, so I would love to give you guys the full platform here. Besides the album in February, what could your fans and followers be expecting in the new year 2020?
Tyler Small: We try not to make empty promises, but we will be coming to a lot of places we've never been and we're really excited show a larger scope of the music scene what we have to offer.
Let Light Overcome The Darkness Tour Rolls Through The House Of Blues In Chicago; Interview With ASHLAND About New Album ‘Over The Moon’
By: Anthony Cannella
As this tour comes to an end, we were able to catch a show of the Let Light Overcome The Darkness Tour with Our Last Night, I See Stars, The Word Alive and ASHLAND at the House Of Blues in Chicago, Illinois. This show was outstanding as each band presented an insane amount of energy that was retained by the crowd, which allowed the bands and the fans to feed off of each other. With unmatchable good vibes all around, these bands gave the House Of Blues in Chicago a night they will be talking about till the next time these talented bands come back in town! Check the bottom of this article to see for yourself with the photos we got!
One thing that these bands all have in common though is the subject of new music! Our Last Night released their new album ‘Overcome The Darkness’ November 8th and they did not hesitate to showcase it on this tour! Links to purchase and view this new album can be found below!
In addition, The Word Alive made it very clear to the fans that after this tour, they would be releasing new music along with massive tours in the new year 2020. Be on the look out for The Word Alive in this upcoming year, we could assure you BIG things are coming!
Last, but certainly not least. ASHLAND’s highly anticipated album ‘Over The Moon’ was released December 13 via Rise Records! We were so stoked about this new album release, we had to get a word with ASHLAND! See below what they had to say in our interview with them
HeadRush TV: So, you guys are just wrapping up this tour with Our Last Night, I See Stars and The Word Alive! How has this tour been for you guys and how have the crowds been responding to the newer music?
Asia: The tour was absolutely incredible. It feels like the past 5 weeks was just one big amazing dream. The crew, the photographers, the bands, EVERYONE was so amazing. All hard workers. All compassionate. All talented. We really made some good friends and it’s sad knowing we’re not going to be seeing them every day.
The crowd response on this tour was a pleasant surprise. We didn’t go into this with high expectations because we know we’re a little different and not very well known. It was actually a bit shocking to look out into some of the crowds and see people singing new and old Ashland songs. We met a lot of people who said they really connected with our music and are looking forward to the new album. It’s nice to feel like we’re finally starting to make some authentic connections with people. It's been quite a climb but we enjoy it.
HeadRush TV: Speaking about Our Last Night, I See Stars and The Word Alive, all four of you recently released a project of covering the song “Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi. How did that all get started and what was it like covering that song with these other talented bands?
Asia: The guys in Our Last Night came up with the idea of doing a collaboration with all the singers from the bands on the tour, which I think was genius! I’m gunna be honest though, I was terrified! I’ve been watching these guys music videos on YouTube for years and suddenly I was doing a song with them! I was really nervous about which song they were going to pick because my range and style as a female vocalist is a little different. But when they told me it was “Someone You Loved” I was a lot more excited and a lot less nervous because I’d been obsessively singing that song since Lewis Capaldi released it haha. It was my first collaboration and an awesome experience. And I’m open and eager to do more collaborations with other artists now!
HeadRush TV: On the topic of new projects, you are releasing your new album ‘Over The Moon’ on Dec. 13th, 2019 via Rise Records. With this album, what have you done differently with ‘Over The Moon’ that separates it from the other music you have released in the past?
Asia: A lot. Mainly the writing process. When Ashland started, I was trying to write lyrics and melodies to music that Aaron wrote. Sometimes it worked out well but for me personally, it was very difficult and didn’t come very naturally. I’ve been a song writer for a long time and being able to create the music behind the words and melodies is extremely important to me because it all translates together.
I never shared my music with anyone because I was too afraid of rejection. But I realized that if I’m putting all of my time and energy and passion into this band then I should be using everything I have to offer. And that goes for anything you do in life. If you commit to something, you should give your 100%. So, I started sharing my songs with Aaron and instead of rejection, he completely embraced them and wanted to use them for the new album which I’m so grateful for. So, this is definitely a nice moment in my life. I let depression and anxiety stop me from living my life for a long time. This album has helped me to realize that I can feel afraid and still do what I want to do. It’s a new era on so many levels!
Aaron: Yeah, as Asia said the process was very different, but it was much needed for both of us personally. I am extremely proud of her for stepping out of her comfort zone and FINALLY sharing her songwriting talents with the world. The timing could not have been more perfect for me because going into this record I was completely tapped out and uninspired creatively. I was just out of songs and could not come up with anything I liked. Collaborating with Asia on her songs instead of coming up with an entire album from scratch was like a breath of fresh air and so inspiring.
HeadRush TV: Being on the topic of your new album ‘Over The Moon’, What influenced you guys the most during this creative process of making this album and what was the writing process like for this album as well?
Asia: There were a lot of milestones and mountains during the making of this album. We were signed to our dream label and soon after a lot of changes started happening within the label and we honestly had no idea what it meant for our careers. We had gone from the bottom to cloud 9 and back to wondering if we were getting dropped. That was in the back of our minds the whole time we made this album, so we were also really motivated. Then my mom sold our family home, we lost our family pet and I moved away and that was all really hard. But the most difficult part of this album process was when Matt passed away. He was one of our best friends and long time producer. He mentored us and kind of just guided us through everything from the beginning of our music careers. Having him not be around to hear the final product of the album we worked on together or to experience all of this together is really painful. Yet at the same time, we’re so so so grateful we had all that time with him. His words, his friendship, his pure genius will be with us forever through this album and our lives.
Everything we experienced this year was poured into the songs on the album. Every emotion I experienced led me to a new song and I’m thankful that Aaron encouraged me the whole time to use those songs for the next album, which is now Over The Moon.
Aaron: We really had a rough go of it while making this record, but what kept me (probably both of us, honestly) going was the fact that during our last session with Matt Amelung he said "You guys have an opportunity that less than 1% of us get, so don't f*ck it up!". When things got tough those words really put things into perspective for us and kept us going.
HeadRush TV: So, getting off topic from the album, with 2019 coming to an end, you guys have worked with some amazing bands this year! Who are some bands you’d like to work with and tour with in the new year 2020?
Asia: I’d like to work or tour with some other female artists! I’m really loving Lauren Daigle and Amy Shark right now. Also, Julia Micheals is one of the best song writers out there. I’ve wanted to collab with her for a long time and also just have a conversation with her about songwriting for other artists because that’s something I want to do!
Aaron: Honestly, I just want to tour with The Weeknd and write songs with Alan Jackson.
HeadRush TV: Ashland, I would like to give you the full platform at this moment and ask you guys what’s next to come for this extremely talented band after the album release and what can your fans expect from you in 2020?
Asia: More tours! More music! More videos! More of everything.
Aaron: What Asia said. The last half of this year has been so inspiring, and I am so ready to create.
ASHLAND Photo by: Lindsey Byrnes
Our Last Night: Photos by Anthony Cannella
I See Stars: Photos by Anthony Cannella
Word Alive: Photos by Anthony Cannella
Photos and review by Josh Justice
On the third stop of their partially-sold-out month long The Wherever Tour, Atmosphere (Sean “Slug” Daley and Anthony “Ant” Davis) made their way to the beautiful St. Andrew’s Hall in downtown Detroit. Joining them for this packed show are an all-female all-star lineup - DJ Keezy, Nikki Jean, and The Lioness.
As DJ Keezy warmed up the frozen Motown crowd, spinning a who’s-who of hip hop classics, Minnesota native and Rhymesayers signee Nikki Jean allured the crowd with a soulful and timeless mix on vocals, keys, and guitar. A mix of rap, R&B, and poetry showcased skills beyond her years. Kicking off her set with the title track from her latest project “Beautiful Prison,” leading into a murderous tribute to her favorite ex “Take You Out,” as well as fan favorite, “Driver.” Personal highlight was the playful snippet of her hook from her collaboration on Lupe Fiasco’s “Hip Hop Saved My Life.”
Following Nikki Jean’s amazing performance was lyricist The Lioness. It’s not often the openers are on par with the headliners but both Nikki Jean and The Lioness brought lyrical and musical skills that rival the main eventers. From “Honor/Today” “It’s more than just rhyming, if you don’t have substance,” each song had an endless depth and an element of an anthem for change. The slow, melodic beats from DJ Keezy with quick raps over tracks like “The Chosen One”, The Lioness used all of her set to stun the crowd with a myriad of tracks from her over decade long career.
Finishing out the night, Atmosphere. Promoting the recently released album, Whenever, Slug and Ant rocked the crowd with a mix of old and new and many popular tracks that have allowed Atmosphere to be one of the most popular artists for the better part of 25 years. Between each song, Slug reminded the crowd that he loved us. With almost too many songs to keep track of, the audience was served up a double albums worth of hits, including “Say Hey There,” “Love Each Other,” a spoken word version of “The Woman with the Tattoo Hands,” new single “Postal Lady,” classics “Sunshine,” “The Best Day,” “God Loves Ugly,” “Yesterday,” and holy smokes over 20 songs overall.
The Wherever Tour continues across the country until February 28, ending in St. Paul, Minnesota. Many dates have already sold out so if you are considering going, don’t sleep on it.
House Of Blues in Chicago, IL Gets A Day In Hell With Static X, Mushroomhead, DOPE, Wendesday13 and Raven Black
By: Anthony Cannella
Recently, The Wisconsin Death Trip 20th Anniversary Tour came through the House Of Blues in Chicago, Illinois and it was absolutely insane. Raven Black, Wednesday 13, Dope, Mushroomhead and Static X hit the headbanging mosh pitting fans with everything that they had along with their brilliant onstage theatrics. From start to finish, these bands gave the House Of Blues a show and knew how to get the people jumping till the venue was rattling from wall to wall! These bands onstage productions go completely unmatched as Raven Black rocked out and warmed up the crowd in their full costume and makeup, then Wednesday13 gave us a dose of their demonic possessed antics with their intense sound.
This then led to DOPE giving us a hardcore lesson on why they have been killing it since 1997 with their hardcore moshing performance. Then before we all knew it, Mushroomhead came out hyping the crowd a bit more as they were jumping into the crowd and getting the crowd moving as they pounded on their water colored splashing drum sets!
Lastly, Static X came out to headline the show and proved to us why they are Nu-Metal gods. They came out heavy, passionate and ready to completely take over the venue in Chicago as they hit us with their hits over the years since 1999. With how each band came out with their brilliant performances, it was a memorable and perfect way to remember and pay tribute to the Static X member Wayne Static who passed away in November 2014. Although he is gone, it is nights like these where we know he is looking down on the bands and fans happy, due to this ageless music bringing us all together!
This tour and these bands are a must see even if it is this tour or on another one that they will be a part of. Keep them on your radar, because you will not regret it! Band info about merch and TOUR DATES can be found below!
All images and visuals are originally produced and owned by Headrush TV. Any unauthorized use of material is strictly prohibited.