Homesafe was the opener for the Knuckle Puck headlining show at Mr. Smalls Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on November 14, 2017. Surprising, the venue had a fair number of fans for this bands set, and the band wasn’t afraid to utilize every vibe that the crowd was putting off or lack thereof. Each member of their four-band ensemble gave 110% in every song they performed: they were kicking, jumping, running around the stage, and engaging with the audience. With that being said, the band kept a steady pace throughout their set, they took brief moments to recollect themselves, but they mostly kept going at a quick pace to pack as many songs into their set as they could. The band played all their popular songs such as “Guts”, “Relapse” and “Hourglass”; thus, this was well-received by the audience because they audience participated in almost every song, especially these three. One aspect of their performance that was admirable is the fact the audience members could see that they were all having a good time, which allowed us to have a good time as well. Overall, this was a smart concert opener for this tour because Homesafe’s music fits into the same category as Knuckle Puck’s, they got the pace of the concert off to a quick start, and the lead singer of the band, Ryan Rumchaks, is also a member of Knuckle Puck, so it worked out nicely.
Next up was the four-piece band, Movements. It’s hard to know where to start when it comes to this band because they keep getting better and better, and their growing fan base is showing just that. Throughout their performance, Movements presented a balance of new and older songs, which was effective, for it gave new listeners a chance to hear a mixture of all their repertoire, and their fans got a taste of old and new jams. Through this method, the band played their live debut of the first track off their new album “Feel Something” entitled “Full Circle”, during this song the crowd went crazy, so being there for the live debut of this song was quite the experience. Movements is a band that bounces back and forth between sung “normal” pop-punk vocals and spoken-word text, which allows the band to be vulnerable through their music. This tactic is very effective when you listen to their album, but when you see them in a live performance the emotions you feel are multiplied by ten. There were moments throughout their set where the lead singer would turn the microphone to the audience, so that we would scream the lyrics back at him, and you could see tears in his eyes because he was so overwhelmed by the response from the audience. For me, that was one of the highlights of their performance, music aside, because it is beautiful to witness someone being overtaken by the response and effectiveness of music, especially if it’s their own. Looking at the band’s stage presence, it is quite minimal, but I think it works for them. This summer, the band featured on the Vans Warped Tour on the Full Sail University stage, and when they performed they all had a little bounce to them paired with some swaying; however, at last night’s performance, it is notable that they band has grown more comfortable in their own performance style, yet that style isn’t jumping off the walls, everyone forming a circle pit, kind of performance, and that’s okay. As an audience member and a fan, if you stand their pointing as well as screaming the vocals and the spoken-word lyrics with a crowd of 600 people, it’s just as fulfilling and moving. Overall, Movements put on an amazing performance that was centered around who they are as a band, and even though it brought down the overall pace of the show, the crowd was overly engaged throughout their set, and after them everyone was pumped and ready for Knuckle Puck.
The act that everyone in the building was waiting for, the one, the only: Knuckle Puck. Although this was a tour celebrating the release of their newest album “Shapeshifter”, Knuckle Puck played a variety of music that covered every album, EP, and spilt they’ve put out. This was nice for the audience because it gave them older music that they know and love to scream the lyrics to and enjoy as well as the new hits that were just released. Towards the end of the set, Knuckle Puck asked the audience what songs they wanted to hear, the audience screamed “Gold Rush” and “Give up”, two older songs that band has released, and on the spot the band performed both songs before moving to their last song before the encore: “Untitled”. This was very admirable, for there aren’t a lot of bands out there who would be willing to play songs that they haven’t prepared for their set, so it was cool that they asked, and were more than willing to perform those old favorites. As their set came and went, Knuckle Puck didn’t disappoint, they had high energy throughout every song, and they used every inch of the stage that they could, and they got as close to the crowd as they could (sadly, there was a barricade, so no stage diving). Overall, Knuckle Puck gave a high-energy performance that kept a rapid pace, so that they could play about twenty songs. The crowd for this tour was going insane, and it was easy to see that the band was feeding off that energy and giving it everything that they had: it was a mutual joyfulness feeling from the audience and the band. The only thing that was questionable was their choice for an encore song, the band kept “Disdain” and used that as their encore song. Yes, “Disdain” is one of their well-known tracks, but it’s definitely not bigger than “No Good”, “Gold Rush” or “Pretense”, so it did come as a shock when the band chose to make “Disdain” their very last song, but the crowd was just as crazy in the encore as they were during those other hard-hitting songs, so I guess it didn’t matter too much.
Overall, I would give this concert a 4 out of 5 stars. Before a single band played it was evident that the line-up was strong, so the audience was in for a good time; also, none of the bands disappointed. Each band came out on stage, and they gave all that they had in their own way, which helps to make it a better concert for everyone in attendance (including themselves). Furthermore, if you have the chance to check out any of these bands live, I would highly recommend it, just be prepared for screaming lyrics at the top of your lungs, circle pits, and crowd surfers.