BEYOND THE STAGE
BEYOND the stage
DIRECTOR OF CONTENT
ALICIA RANGEL ART DIRECTOR
DELANEY DEANGELIS DEPUTY EDITOR
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CONTENTS ON THE COVER
20 KELSEA BALLERINI
12 PARADE OF LIGHTS 34 KYAN PALMER
06 False Accusations 10 Self Help Festival 16 Outside Lands 27 Float Fest 29 Album Reviews 32 Thrival Festival 36 High and Low Festival 39 Playlist
04 Bleachers 05 Young The Giant 08 Green Day 09 The Head and the Heart 15 Jake Miller 19 Ruth B 30 New Politics 31 Kaleo 38 Simple Plan
SANTA ANA, CA | SEPTEMBER 2017 | PHOTOS BY ALYSSA BUZZZELLO
YOUNG THE GIANT
NEW YORK, NY | SEPTEMBER 2017 | PHOTOS BY GINA SCARPINO
PHOTOS AND WORDS BY STONE FENK
A drive down the backroads of beautiful West Virginia, passing the beautiful green mountains on the way to a local music venue called The Valley Inn. The old restaurant, now closed to the public, is now home to shows hosted by many local musicians; including James Becca of False Accusations. The show of the night: Joy, Black Mask, Wolves Among Sheep, and last but not least, False Accusations. The West Virginia five-piece consists of James Becca, David Wallace, Kyle O’Connell, Bobby Crow and Zach Crawford. False Accusations, hailing from Wheeling, West Virginia, describe their music as mathcore. This sets them apart from the standard 4/4 time sound often heard in music. They describe it as “using complex time signatures with math influences,” but not to the point where kids who like mathcore would like them to use. Their songs are constantly changing, as Becca says he “does not like to repeat anything for too long.” They are the perfect inbetween for the average mathcore fan and the average metal fan; But this band is far from average. Not only does mathcore make False Accusations stand out from the rest of the metal scene--but their live performance is something else entirely. BTS
Tonight, the stage is set with one floodlight on the floor behind the drummer, leaving what are almost silhouettes of each member as they ready to play their set. As the first song starts, guitarist Becca explodes into a fiery ball of energy that never stops throughout the rest of the set. Guitars get thrown, shoes come off, amps get pushed over--and this is all just from one man. The rest of the band shares his energy and quickly catches the attention of everyone in the room. This is not a band you can stand outside for, and if you are on your phone, you are surely Snapchatting their chaotic energy. The chaos is just a visual performance, as their musical performance gets tighter each show. Drummer Kylle O’Connell stays on beat while constantly switching through different tempos and complex time signatures. They realize the need to move during a performance and to actually perform more than just music. off of their energy, the people getting involved in the music, and how that results in a better show. When asked about their wild stage presence, Becca says “I try to fill every moment on stage, and if I ever stop, I’m thinking about what to do the next moment. I wanna jump off shit, I wanna throw shit.” Followed by Bobby Crow stating. “We play how the music makes us feel.” That in itself represents False Accusations.
The band, fresh out of the studio from recording their newest EP with producer Jay Maas, who has produced bands like Bane, Defeater and Counterparts, gave us an inside look to their newest music. Their past music has had some groove/funk/jazz elements, but they say this EP doesn’t have as much of upfront. As the older music had more straightforward jazz elements, this one has more subtle influences of jazz. With this record, Becca says “The problem I run into with writing is when you are trying to be different, you still fall into the same writing patterns,” as he focuses on a change in sound. He says these new songs are “...more straightforward, but all different styles.” The styles include a play on “beatdown metal,” “freakout hammer-on riffs” and “post-hardcore.” Though Becca talks the most about songwriting, vocalist David Wallace also helps write their music. Though the record is recorded and ready, the band has yet to announce a release date or album title. Keep your eye out for this new release from False Accusations, your newest favorite band.
CLEVELAND, OH | AUGUST 2017 | PHOTOS BY CHELSEA GRESH
THE HEAD & THE HEART CHICAGO, IL | AUGUST 2017 | PHOTOS BY ADDIE WHELAN
PHILADELPHIA, PA | PHOTOS BY KRISTEN HUMPHRIES
PHILADELPHIA, PA | PHOTOS BY KRISTEN HUMPHRIES
PHOTOS BY GINA SCARPINO | WORDS BY BLAKE CHARLES BTS
Parade of Lights, an electronic-rock quartet, has been taking the music world by storm. Opening for bands like Imagine Dragons, Fitz and the Tantrums, and AWOLNATION, the L.A.-based band features Ryan Daly as lead vocalist and guitarist, Anthony Improgo as drummer, Michelle Ashley as keyboardist, and Randy Schulte as bassist. The band’s musical style pays homage to the 80s and 90s, while still maintaining a fresh electronic edge. On their musical influences, Daly explained, “We love the 80s, we’re like 80s kids, you know? We’re also 90s kids though because, when you’re a baby in the 80s you’re surrounded by all that music and for some reason it has a nostalgic quality at this point, which we really like. And then we like the 90s because it was aggressive, and it was rock, and it was just big, and I think it’s a hybrid between the two of those. We love Tears For Fears, we love Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, all that 80s stuff. But we also love Sound Garden, and we love Third Eye Blind, and big pop records.” The band originally started as a trio, with Daly, Improgo, and Schulte, which was called Polus. Polus was getting some hype among the L.A. scene, but during a show, Daly dislocated his knee. “We had a gig at the Troubador in L.A., opening up for Built to Spill. We had some momentum, people were checking us out, some labels and all that stuff. Sold out show, and about the first song into it, Ryan dislocates his knee on stage,” says Improgo. This unfortunate blunder caused the band to take a step back and reassess things, which eventually led to the band’s hiatus. “We were on hiatus for like 6 months to a year, and after that we took some touring gigs to just make some money. Our touring gigs kinda took us apart for about two or three years and basically in 2011 or 2012, we were all kinda sick of our touring gigs and were like ‘let’s start the band again’, and called it Parade of Lights,” exclaims Improgo. According to Daly, the band name came from a song which Improgo had heard. Improgo sent the song to Daly and said he thought it was a great name for a band, to which Daly agreed, and the rest is history.
committed to the project I’m in right now’ and I was like ‘okay, but we need a keyboard player’. I pestered her for probably two years...” says Daly. Ashley also stated that she was keeping tabs on the band as well. Ashley finally took the leap and decided to join Parade of Lights, after a mutual friend of the band and Ashley had contacted her. “Then finally through a mutual friend, our friend Adam, Adam Castilla, he plays in The Colourist… He went to one of her shows and was like ‘you need to play with this band’, so she said yes and her first show with us, we were opening for Fitz and the Tantrums at the Wiltern, and I think after that, she was like ‘alright, this is cool,’” says an enthusiastic Daly, with Ashley laughing in agreement. While this first show was a huge success for the newly finished band, their success only grew from there. After their manager sent their song “We’re The Kids” to Jeff Regan at SiriusXM’s Alt Nation, Regan decided to take a chance on the song and add it to the station. Other stations quickly followed suit, which led to more and more label interest for the band. On the song, Daly said, “That song was written on a whim, I remember us being like ‘is this silly?’ and it kinda is but people liked it and it came from a genuine place.” They eventually signed with Astralwerks, and released their debut album, Feeling Electric, in 2015.
After the band ended its hiatus, they were searching for a fourth member. More specifically, they were in search for a keyboardist. While at an outdoor venue in LA, Daly stumbled upon a band and decided to check them out. That band featured Ashley on keyboard and Daly was so impressed, that he asked a stranger what the band was called, and eventually found Ashley’s facebook page. “I sent her a message and was like ‘we need a keyboard player’ and she was like ‘I’m kinda BTS
After the success of their debut, they have recently released two singles as well, with “Touch” coming out at the end of July, and “Victorious” coming out in the middle of September. On “Victorious”, Daly said, “It’s a weird contrast, the horn with an electronic four on the floor grove, I just think it’s a cool feel. As far as what it’s about, I think it’s about challenging yourself, when the odds are against you, when you feel down, it’s that voice inside your head that’s like ‘knock it off, let’s win’ kinda thing.” He has also said that “Victorious”, like many of the band’s songs, start out very electronic, but then they revert to having a more instrumental, band-like feeling to them. The band has said that while they love electronic music, they enjoy incorporating electronic elements into their music, while still staying connected to their roots. In the future, the band plans on continuing their live shows starting early next year. When asked about their live shows, Daly said, “I feel like it’s a feel good show, people are coming out to have a good time and forget about whatever garbage is going on, and we definitely facilitate that, we try to make it a good, fun time that’s not too dark and brooding, and while there’s like some of that, it’s mostly celebratory.” The band also plans on releasing their sophomore album early next year as well.
CLEVELAND, OH | SEPTEMBER 2017 | PHOTOS BY CHELSEA GRESH
OUTSIDE LANDS PHOTOS BY ALYSSA BUZZELLO
CAGE THE ELEPHANT
OUTSIDE LANDS PHOTOS BY ALYSSA BUZZELLO
YOUNG THE GIANT
SLEIGH BELLS BTS
LOS ANGELES, CA | SEPTEMBER 2017 | PHOTOS BY MARISSA SANDOVAL
PHOTOS BY ADDIE WHELAN | WORDS BY ABBY FOX
In this modern age of constantly turning out new and unique artists, it can be hard for young musicians to find their footing, but 23-year-old Kelsea Ballerini seems to be doing everything right. This singer-songwriter established quite a following in the country music scene with her number one breakout hit, “Love Me Like You Mean It.” She went on to release two more number one singles, becoming the first ever female country artist to go number one with her first three consecutive singles from her debut album.
Following her hit album, The First Time, Kelsea started to gain exposure beyond the country music world with her immediate radio success, as well as receiving CMT’s second-annual Breakout Artist of the Year award in 2016, and being nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy award in 2017. She also hit the road and toured with country greats, including Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw and Keith Urban, to just name a few. Throughout this whirlwind of the past few years, Kelsea has remained true to herself and her songwriting. She has spent most of the last decade creating music based on her own life, to inspire and motivate others to live freely and fearlessly. In her debut album The First Time, the Tennessee native sings about the pressures placed on women and beauty in “Stilettos,” describes the feeling of getting stood up in “XO,” and even reflects back on her parents’ divorce in “Secondhand Smoke.” After the heartbreak from her parents’ divorce at a young age, Kelsea truly discovered her love of songwriting,
and her songs continue to tell honest stories about the struggles and successes in her life. “Growing up and being around the world and meeting more people, and even now falling in love…so many different things and different perspectives feed into your writing style,” the artist explains. “I think when you first start writing you’re kind of discovering what your writing style is and what your lyrical voice is, and I think that mine’s changed even from the first record.” Following her first album release, Kelsea hit the road on her own sold out headline tour, aptly called The First Time Tour. Now, she’s currently on tour with Thomas Rhett as a special guest on his 2017 Home Team Tour. “Three years ago I started on a radio tour and I went to pretty much every city in the United States, and it’s been really cool to go back to those places and start playing different sized venues and hearing people singing along to songs, and even come back and sell out my first venue,” says Kelsea. “It’s been really cool to watch it grow.” BTS
No matter where she is, Kelsea’s favorite song to perform live is her hit “Peter Pan.” She says, “It really changed my life…and everyone really seems to sing that one the loudest, so it’s a really special moment.” With lyrics about personal growth and never growing up, it’s easy for fans to relate to her timeless message, “Always going to fly away; Just because you know you can; Never going to learn there’s no such place as Neverland; You don’t understand; You’ll never grow up…”
Kelsea has a strong connection with her fans, and social media allows her to interact with them daily. “I walk off stage every night and I look at my phone and I get on Twitter. I love seeing someone in the lawn that was in the very back of the amphitheater post a video of them dancing along to an unreleased song… because then I’m able to message them and get them backstage and take a picture. It’s a really amazing way to connect with people instantly.”
out there so I’m very aware that people are going to say whatever they want and that’s totally fine.” She also explains that she tries not to take all the comments personally. “I feel like art is very subjective and I know that the music that I make isn’t for everyone, so people are allowed to have opinions about that.” In a time when it is so simple to become obsessed with everything circulating online, Kelsea’s humility and authenticity are completely refreshing.
Recently, Kelsea shared the music video for her heartbreaking new song, “Legends,” and the video already has over two million views. Directed by Jeff Venable, the music video follows a couple’s relationship from its romantic beginning to its tragic end. Throughout the video, shots of Kelsea wandering around an ocean-side cliff are interspersed. The singer gave us some insight into being on set while making the video. “It was in July and you would think While Kelsea uses social media to connect that California in July would be beautiful, with fans, she is also aware of the dangers and that was so not the case. It was freezing of this internet-driven age. “People feel cold but we tried to make it look like it was super confident behind their phones and warm and cozy in the video, but it was not, behind their computers…I put myself it was freezing the whole time.”
“Legends” is just the first single from Kelsea’s upcoming sophomore album, which features 11 other tracks, including the title track, “Unapologetically.” The singersongwriter cannot be more exciting for fans to hear this album. “I wrote over 200 songs for this record and I feel like I really made the biggest effort I could to make
sure that the whole record was thought-through and intentional and important.” She hopes that when people listen to her new songs, they really feel and embrace their emotions. The album title could not be a more perfect description of how Kelsea Ballerini lives her life: unapologetically. Unapologetially is out November 3rd.
FLOAT FEST PHOTOS BY COURTNEY COOK
CAGE THE ELPEHANT
FLOAT FEST PHOTOS BY COURTNEY COOK
ALBUM REVIEWS Skin & Earth Lights For almost a decade, recording artist LIGHTS always seems to dazzle us with her artistry and mastermind. After a few releases of brilliant writing and pop/electro sounds, she’s taking us into another universe with her new concept album Skin & Earth. Skin & Earth is a soundtrack to intense pop anthems and slow ballads that are finally turning heads in top 40 realm. Perhaps it has to do with the concept of a comic book series that goes along with the album, which is brilliant and the world is loving it. While the comics are great, the album is better as it builds up into the soaring opening track “Skydiving” and continues to deliver with the sassy “Savage” and lighthearted “Until the Light”. LIGHTS is an artist that isn’t afraid to take risks, which is evident on her standout tracks “New Fears,” “We Were Here,” and “Fight Club”. The album gives off a Banks vibe with her own little twist and is quite possibly the best album in LIGHTS career. Other highlights include “Kicks,” “Giants” and “Almost Had Me”. If we’ve learned anything from listening to Skin & Earth, it’s her brilliant way of storytelling that had us from the beginning and will have us until the end of time. Download: “Fight Club,” “New Fears,” “Savage,” “Almost Had Me,” “We Were Here” Words by: Samantha Aneed
Wonderful Wonderful The Killers Island Records Five years after the release of their somewhat lackluster album, Battle Born, The Killers are back with Wonderful Wonderful - and more than a few tracks on the album really do live up to that name. Between the raging 80s-style guitars, eerie electronics, rhythmic keyboards, and earnest lyrics, this record is a balance of the type dance-floor anthems we know and love, and a new sense of vulnerability. Since the band’s 10th anniversary of Sam’s Town last year, frontman Brandon Flowers began working on a collection of more personal songs. Inspired by his wife’s battles with mental illness, Flowers wrote lead single “The Man,” about how feelings and empathy are what truly make a man. “Rut” recounts the fight against depression with deeply heartfelt lyrics, and “Life to Come” is a promise of the singer’s unwavering support of his wife. Flowers’ own stories about struggling and healing give fans a new illuminating perspective of the artist. “Run for Cover” is a pure The Killers-style power anthem that will surely be a hit during the band’s upcoming live shows. Another standout track is the ethereal ballad, “Some Kind of Love,” co-written with Brian Eno. The album caps off with the emotional track, “Have All the Songs Been Written?” (the title referring to the subject line of an email Brandon Flowers sent to U2’s Bono for guidance about songwriting). While the song starts with a dark overtone, it ends with a victorious sound. This doesn’t sound like a goodbye; it sounds like the beginning of something great from the band. Wonderful Wonderful might not be full of arena-ready chart-toppers, but The Killers are wearing their hearts on their sleeves in this collection of tracks, and we can’t wait to see which direction they go next. 3.5/5 Download: “Run for Cover,” “Some Kind of Love,” and “Life to Come” Words by: Abby Fox
Evolve Imagine Dragons KIDinaKORNER/Interscope
The Hype Hoodie Allen Independent artists count on their fans and social media to promote their music and career. Hoodie Allen is an independent artist who just proved to everyone that just because you aren’t signed to a record label, doesn’t mean your music can’t be and won’t be good.
It is clear from the album title that Imagine Dragons’ Evolve aims to showcase the band’s evolution. The Las Vegas rock group’s third record combines their old sounds with new electronic-pop influences, however the band’s rock origins is what made their past albums so great.
Allen released his naew album, “The Hype,” September 29th and it’s done nothing but climb the iTunes charts since its initial release. With a collection of hits, collaborations and a wide variety of sounds, Hoodie’s album is fantastic.
After the band’s multi-platinum debut album, Night Visions, and their sophomore album, Smoke + Mirrors, Evolve seems to span across multiple genres, which is definitely a testament to the band’s impressive and wide-ranging talent. However, some of the album’s tracks are catered more toward fitting in with contemporary pop hits than to maintaining the successful rock sounds we know and love.
The 12-track album has songs to blast in the car with your friends or play at your next party. We can truly tell how much hard work and effort was put into this album. You can find four songs on the album featuring other artists, including, Scott Hoying, Wale, Goody Grace and State Champs. “All My Friends” featuring State Champs is the 8th track on the album and when we first heard it we could not believe our ears. Hoodie Allen featuring State Champs is everything we didn’t know we needed until we got it. When the album released we finally understood what “The Hype” was all about. Not only did Hoodie Allen release an album, but he also announced his North American and European Tour, with special guests Luke Christopher and Myles Parrish in North America, and Goody Grace joining him in Europe. Hoodie Allen took a well deserved break and came back stronger than ever, announcing a tour, and releasing an album all within a month. 4/5 Be sure to check out “The Hype” and if you dig it, buy tickets to see Hoodie on tour! Album-
The album opens with the synthy ‘80s-sounding “I Don’t Know Why,” which is not quite what one would expect from Imagine Dragons. Similarly, frontman Dan Reynolds’ rapping in “Whatever It Takes” and the folksy electronics in “Yesterday” both go out of the band’s comfort zone. The first single, “Believer,” is the closest to a traditional Imagine Dragons tune. It is reminiscent of the band’s hit, “Radioactive” and is sure to have fans tapping their feet along to the catchy melody and infectious drumming. Another favorite is “Walking the Wire,” with its feel-good lyrics and powerful beat. The album ends with two more gems; “Thunder” successfully brings new electronic influences into its catchy chorus, and “Start Over” is another anthem with its strong chorus over an edgy tropical house sound. In Evolve, Imagine Dragons experiments with different sounds and shows their progression as a contemporary group, while balancing anthem rock with catchy pop tunes with power ballads. Although the band succeeds the most when they’re not trying so hard to fit in with current radio hits, Imagine Dragons prove that they are not an ordinary rock band. 3.5/5 Download “Walking the Wire,” “Thunder” and “Believer” Words by: Abby Fox
CHICAGO, IL | JULY 2017 | PHOTOS BY GINA SCARPINO
AUSTIN, TX | SEPTEMBER 2017 | PHOTOS BY BAILEY FLORES
PITTSBURGH, PA | SEPTEMBER 2017 | PHOTOS BY STONE
TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB
PITTSBURGH, PA | SEPTEMBER 2017 | PHOTOS BY STONE
PHOTOS BY GINA SCARPINO | WORDS BY MADELINE SHIFFER
For most students, college is a time of self discovery, figuring out their path and, unfortunately, lots of homework. But for rising R&B artist Kyan Palmer, college homework was just the thing that kickstarted his career. We sat down to talk with Kyan last month to discuss his style, his influences and just exactly where it all started. BTS: Give us a little introduction about yourself! KP: My name is Kyan Palmer (pronounced Keyon) and I’m a 22 year old LA-based singer and songwriter. I grew up in Arizona and while at college at ASU I wrote and recorded a song for a college project. From there my music career took off... BTS: Describe your style to our readers who are just finding out about you. KP: I describe my style as moody pop with an R&B twist. I love to tell a story and put some soul into the lyrics and melody. Every song I have is a Pop/R&B hybrid and my goal is to tell my story and make people feel something. BTS: What makes your take on R&B stand out from the rest of that genre right now? KP: I think my version of R&B is different primarily because I bring soft soul over hip hop beats. Traditional R&B is much more runs and riffs and sparkles and glitter (which I love), but my style is a very toned-down version of that, but in a good way. BTS: Who are some of your biggest influences? KP: I love John Legend, Elvis, Rihanna, Madonna, Frank Sinatra, and Justin Timberlake. Obviously all for different reasons. John Legend for his soul and vibrato, Elvis because he had the low tones that make you feel something, Rihanna can literally cross any genre and make a hit record, Madonna does what she wants, Frank had the best vocal control of all time, and Justin Timberlake is probably the person that I’d like my career to most emulate. BTS: How did being in school and making music shape your experience in the industry so far? KP: Well, if I didn’t go to college, I likely would not have been making music right now. I got my first taste of the industry as a College Marketing Rep for Universal Music Group, which is what exposed me to a lot of bands and the music industry in general. I also had to do a project for a class which is why I wrote my first single “Burn Mona Lisa” that sparked my journey as an artist. Also, I simultaneously landed a job at Republic Records in New York so I was fortunate enough to learn how to connect the
business side and the creative side. BTS: Your location is also unique to your experience - what did starting out in the Phoenix music scene teach you that you might not have learned anywhere else? KP: Well I think most artists go through the same thing. Not everyone is from New York, LA, or Nashville so the rest of us have to figure out how to make it work where we are. For me, I knew I had to find a producer in Arizona and I got a recommendation from my barber. Next thing I knew, I was in some guy’s basement recording “Burn Mona Lisa.” The Phoenix music scene taught me that things aren’t going to get handed to me, and that sometimes you have to do the best with what you have. BTS: What made you take the first step into recording your own music? KP: As I mentioned earlier, I had a college project that I decided to write and record a song for. Making music was something that has always been in the back of my mind, but I was always too scared to do. I knew that if it was something due for school, then I would have to finish it and that way I was forced to step out of my comfort zone. I had no idea how to make a song, but I figured it out, distributed it and the next thing I knew I was on the Spotify viral charts. I’ve been making music ever since. BTS: What advice can you give to anyone wanting to break into the industry? KP: Nothing is going to get handed to you. If you want it, you better learn how to work. BTS: If you could collab with any artist right now, who would it be? KP: Nicki Minaj. Best rapper alive. She is the homie and I know we’re gonna collab eventually. BTS: Any big plans for the rest of 2017? KP: Yes! I am finishing up my first project. So really just getting everything ready to go. I’m also hoping to put out another single this month, so stay tuned for that. Ready to just be productive and make more music. BTS
HIGH AND LOW FESTIVAL PHOTOS BY ALYSSA BUZZELLO
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
TEGAN AND SARA
HIGH AND LOW FESTIVAL PHOTOS BY ALYSSA BUZZELLO
DALLAS, TX | AUGUST 2017 | PHOTOS BY COURTNEY COOK
SHAWN MENDES | AUGUST 2017 | ADDIE WHELAN