Jetty Bones was the opening act for the Knuckle Puck headlining tour at Mainstage in Morgantown, West Virginia on March 24, 2018. The band walked onto the stage, and from the first few moments the audience was hooked on them, for their music was catchy, and they had a certain aura to them that was genuinely likeable. Looking into their music with more detail, their music was rhythmically simple, and the bulk of their music was homorhythmic from their instrumentation to their vocal, melodic line. This gives the audience a quicker chance to learn the material they are presenting, for they aren’t overwhelming the audience with complex melodic figures. Each selection the band played during their set provided a unique vibe to the audience, for they were giving the audience musical material that they could simply sway to and just relax. When looking at the context of each work, it was evident that each of their songs had a positive attitude attached to it, which meshed well with the aesthetic of the band, for the members of the band appeared to be fun-loving people, who just loved to play music together for the masses. The band got the crowd to become semi-involved with their music, but their music doesn’t make someone want to jump and push into one another; rather, their music just makes you want to sing along and have a good time. Overall, you could see that each member of the band was having the time of their life, and that was evident through their small mannerism shown throughout the set. Jetty Bones was a great concert opener for the concert, for they got the crowd in a pleasant mood, which will make them ready for more music.
Next up was the fresh, quickly growing pop punk band: Hot Mulligan. Before talking about their set specifically, it is important to note that this band is going to be the next big thing in the pop punk scene of music, so if you haven’t checked them out yet stop what you’re doing, and just do it. Let’s now dive into their music. Looking at their music, the band provided vocals that juxtapose one another, for half of the vocals are sung in a natural voice, and the other vocals almost feel strained, for the vocalist would pretty much yell the melodic line while keeping a steady melodic picture. The instrumental material that the band utilized throughout the set was absolutely killer, for the band would incorporate over the top instrumental breakdowns. These breakdowns would work within the embellished natural of the strings with the heavy hits in the percussion section. As the band would work through these ornate rhythms, the band would also use a synthesizer, which helps the band advance their characteristic sound as they mix influences from several musical genres. Bouncing off their music, the band kept their energy at at least 100% as they amplified their characteristic stage presence. Their stage presence seems to fall into the category of being semi-awkward; meaning, the lead singer would awkwardly remain on the stage, but the way that he moved along to their music enhanced the nature of their performance instead of making it seem off. Surprisingly, the majority of the crowd knew the music that the band played throughout their set; thus, the crowd was going crazy from the very beginning. This helped to give the band even more energy to build off of. Overall, this band presented a set where each song got better and better, and this resulted in a concert that makes you just want to scream every lyric at the top of your lungs.
The next band to take the stage was Free Throw. Listening to Free Throw’s music before the concert, it is heard that the majority of their music falls on the slower(ish) spectrum, when comparing the pace to that of Hot Mulligan’s, but the shift to their sound and tempo did not phase the audience one bit. From the moment the band stepped onto the stage, they gave the crowd high energy times 100. They were able to keep that energy constant as they provided wall to wall instrumental interludes that were high in contrast to the sections that contained vocals. The vocals that were used throughout their set bounced back and forth between regular, clean vocals, and vocals that seemed to be strained due to the vocalist yelling into the microphone. During those vulnerable vocal moments, the crowd would go crazy, for those fall in the more dramatic portions of their selections; thus, this helped to keep their energy pushing forward throughout the entire set. As the band moved throughout their set, they elaborated on their recorded versions, which helped to keep the audience intrigued; however, it didn’t just keep the crowd engaged, it made them lose control, for the band was going crazy for the band. This was really awesome to experience, for the band was already giving their set everything they have. So, you could tell that they threw in an extra 10% because of how responsive the crowd was, which made them a fantastic inclusion for this tour.
The act preceding the main band of the night was the boys in Boston Manor. Boston Manor hit the stage running in hopes to pack their music in quickly with minimal breaks, which was evident by the entrance of the band, for they all came out, and the music just ran. Unfortunately, following the first song the band experienced a technical difficultly that they recovered from after about 5 minutes. This didn’t damage the set, for the band was still able to perform the full content they planned for. When looking at the band’s music it is evident that they enjoy elaborate instrumental melodies that complement the vocals. This works well for the artist, for it gives them the opportunity to have over the top instrumentals that work well with the vocal line. With that being said, the band included various instrumental breakdowns throughout their performance. This was well received, for each interlude had its own characteristic tone color to it, but they all felt as if their elaborate nature was increased by 200%, which made the crowd go crazy. Throughout the set, the band included a good variety of songs. They were able to do so by playing an older song, a new one, and some of their classics with the slow selection “Broken Glass” falling directly in the middle. The last important thing to consider when looking at this performance is how much the band has evolved. The last time I saw Boston Manor was at the Vans Warped Tour in the summer of 2017. Although that wasn’t too long ago, it was very apparent that Boston Manor, since then, has taken the time to find and fall into the band’s characteristic stage presence as well as groove. From this performance, it is evident that one day Boston Manor is going to take this music scene by storm, which makes them a perfect choice for this tour.
Finally, the band that everyone in the venue was waiting for: Knuckle Puck. Knuckle Puck came out swinging from the very first song of their set, and they kept that pace rolling throughout, even when the band played some of their slower selections. Throughout their set, the band gave their audience a solid mixture of songs off just about every compilation that the band has released; however, they did put a focus on their newest album “Shapeshifter”, and there’s nothing wrong with that. As the band moved throughout their set, it was apparent that they were sticking to their roots with their characteristic stage presence. This worked well with the audience, for the audience was already crazy by the thought of Knuckle Puck hitting the stage, and the band used that energy to enhance theirs. The background setup for this tour was rather cool. The physical backdrop was the picture of the girl from the “Shapeshifter” album cover, and around that were differently sized TVs that displaced the solid colors as they would fall on the physical album cover. As always, the band provided their audience with over the top instrumentals while performing their music effortlessly. As the band moved throughout their set, it was evident that each of them were living their best life, which is always humbling to watch, for the band looked like they were having just as much fun as we were. Furthermore, Knuckle Puck put on another killer performance, and if you’re planning to gear up for this tour: prepare to lose your voice.
Overall, I would give this concert a 5 out of 5 stars. I am giving this concert such a score for a variety of reasons. The first reason I am giving this event such a score is because the line-up was stacked from top to bottom. Each and every artist on this tour was killer: point, blank, period. Each and every one of them came onto the stage with their characteristic aesthetic and took the audience on their own musical journey through their music, which was absolutely magical to be a part of. The other main reason that I landed on this score is because each band gave the audience a time they wouldn’t forget. As mentioned earlier, each band came out with their own aesthetic; therefore, by doing so, each band was able to give the audience a fantastic musical experience from their standpoint, and since every artist was so firm on who they are as a band, it made for an overly memorable and exciting evening. Furthermore, please take the time and see all of these bands live: you won’t regret it in the slightest.