Theory of a Deadman LIVE @ The Fillmore

The night of February 16th at the Fillmore in San Francisco, CA was definitely one to remember. Theory of a Deadman played with Spirit Animal opening for the amazing Friday night in the bay. There were many ‘firsts’ that happened for the bands and myself alike as I had never shot at this venue.

Spirit Animal opened the night with a surprisingly funk/pop/alternative sound and it happened to be the first time they played the Fillmore. It wasn’t what I expected but it was something that I liked. I was only able to catch a few of the song titles but I did check out their Facebook and Youtube after the show to dig deeper into their music. Some of the songs that stood out to me were “Regular World”, “Painkiller”, and “Karma”. The songs are a balanced mix between spunky and catchy, and live on stage the band sounds very polished. They had such a great stage presence and had a good response from the crowd with their stage theatrics. I will say that the guitarist is very skilled and I was drawn to his fretwork.

As Theory of a Deadman came on stage it was no surprise that the crowd pushed closer to the barrier and they also admitted that they had never played the Fillmore either. They tended to fool the crowd with misleading guitar riffs before starting a song like they did when opening with “Lowlife”. They played songs off their new album ‘Wake Up Call’ but Tyler had said he isn’t a fan of having a band play a new album front to back with few of their other songs in between. Because of that we got to hear some of their best songs like “Santa Monica”, “Hurricane”, and “Not Meant to Be” with a drum solo right in the middle. Tyler was avid about taking phones and giving fans some quality video filmed from the stage as well as touching hands with everyone in the front row. It was a show that you could feel the rumble of fans jumping in unison through your feet while the bass rumbled in your chest. Before the finale of “Bad Girlfriend”, the crowd sang along to the first few lines of “Paradise City”. At the end of the night I was able to snag a drumstick to take home, and I even bought tickets to see them as a fan and not shooting for their Sacramento, CA date. Overall, a show that is definitely worth seeing. See the photos from the show here.

Live – 3 Doors Down, Acoustic @ The Gallo Center

I had the pleasure of attending the 3 Doors Down acoustic set right here at the Gallo Center in Modesto, CA. This was a particularly new experience for me being my first acoustic show to see and the theater did not have the usual photo pit front and center! It was a bit of a challenge to only use the sides of the seating area to shoot from, but the stairs were handy for good viewpoints.

Elvis Monroe

The night started with Elvis Monroe, a little charming country set that was quite enjoyable! They were very charismatic on stage, definitely a good opening act for the whole idea of a “back porch jam” tour. They hit harmonies well and had everyone on their feet to sing along at one point and at another there was a theater full of flashlights waving to the stage. “The Fight”, written for the Vegas shooting incident, was a very soulful song and meant a lot to the band as two members survived the ordeal. Both “Backyard Family Barbeque” and “Take We Back” were fun light-hearted songs that I enjoyed myself and will definitely be adding to my playlist. Elvis Monroe was pretty great all in all, I recommend giving them a listen if you like country. On top of that they were nice dudes!

3 Doors Down

The band took to the stage with “I Feel You” with such a relaxed pace, even stating that they enjoyed just talking about the songs in an acoustic setting instead of jumping around on stage to put on a show. They touched on the subject that their songs have a lot of acoustic riffs backing the sound so singing them all acoustically is no challenge. Their setlist was quite long with 21 songs total, of course including the big hits that everyone knows and loves: “Kryptonite”, “Here Without You”, “When I’m Gone”, and “My World”. This acoustic setting gave more opportunity to be very connected to the audience and share some personal history, such as Brad’s celebration of sobriety on the 19th (Congrats!) and how he got there by having his wife tell him he should listen to the words in the songs he sings. After singing “My World”, Brad explained that the song was originally meant for Spiderman 2, but when it wasn’t used in the movie it became a hit for them. And even though the song was popular it still was just chasing the heels of Gwen Stefani, of which we heard a lot of grumbling about and mocking “Bananas” lyrics from onstage.

While I did enjoy the acoustic set, the encore was more my style. The boys came back out with electric guitars to end the night with “Fell From The Moon”, “This Time”, and “When I’m Gone”. The finale was a burst of energy and everyone was on their feet, which honestly I didn’t know if it would happen with how chilled out the mood of the set was so there was a good dynamic.

Overall it was a nice change in pace to the typical jump n’ bump rock and metal shows I’m used to. Both Elvis Monroe and 3 Doors Down played great and the atmosphere was phenomenal. Check out the images from this show here

A War Within

Rocking the Detroit music scene since 2014, A War Within is pushing to make their big break nationwide. Comprised of members Spencer Maybe, Roy Guldenpfennig, Zac Bardsley, and Nikhil Rao, the metalcore group has already completed a full US tour with big industry names like Blessthefall, Miss May I, and The Plot in you.

The music A War Within produces is very polished, even the most early songs released are great to listen to. Personal favorites that caught my eye are “Slave” (2016), “Where the Lines Are Drawn” (2017), and “A New Hope” (2015). All of these songs are also paired with some very well made videos as well. But aside from their original material, A War Within has made some pretty amazing covers of hit pop songs such as Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” (one the best, in my opinion) and Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling”. The band has this great duality about them allowing them to manipulate and play those pop songs as well as rock to their own stuff.

I had the amazing opportunity to get a mini interview with the clean vocalist, Spencer Maybe, and he did not disappoint with his enthusiasm for his band:

RMP: So you guys have put out a new song this last August, and you have hinted at working on more original material in the works, how is that progressing? Are you confident in the what’s going on behind the scenes?

Spencer Maybe: It's progressing well. Back in December of last year we tracked 5 songs with Kris Crummett and now by the end of the year or early next year we'll track a couple more and finish up the album. We believe we have the best selected ideas so far so we're gonna put them to the test and hit the studio. As far as the production of this next album I feel like this is the best one yet. I know plenty of artists probably say that but we've focused our skills a lot more for this album. It's a bit tighter on sounds so far and song writing and tracking wise we've increased our skills so much more. We've tracked both prior albums by ourselves and sent them off to mix. This time has been different, we'll be tracking and producing this one with several people so there will also be several more things added that we've never done, mainly not producing ourselves. I'm unbelievably excited and I hope you guys enjoy it too.

RMP: As far as touring goes, the band has toured with some big names and your social media has reflected that there is an eagerness to get back on the road. I’m interested in knowing about what is planned for the future in that regard.

SM: So far we plan to hit the road in 2018. Nothing is set in stone yet just because our focus is to release this record. It has been a trial dealing with losing our gear and a vehicle, nothing like recovering from serious issues and coming out clean on the other side. We've had to rebuild since last winter all the things we lost. We have tour dates planned but not a big tour coming just yet.

RMP: I see you interacting with fans day in and day out, are you getting the response that you desire from promoting yourselves using this method? The fans seem to love talking with you and the rest of the band over facebook, how much is that boosting your reach?

SM: I feel like everyone would answer this question the same. I think most people would want a bigger response for less work. It helps in the success of the band for sure. At the moment I feel like what I do on social media is to really to grow our core group of followers. I think it’s way more crucial to have 100 crazy, hungry, excitable fans than to hope for 10,000 people who kinda know who your band is. It's so much easier to love what you do when you get a real response from the music you put out. People singing the songs at your shows, getting tattoos, sharing their life story with you because your music is now a big part in their success and enjoyment. It takes a long time to build a relationship so I would like to start with friends instead of just strangers.

RMP: Being unsigned, but with a dedicated fanbase, you’re really looking to make a record deal. Have you had any thought to who you would like to be signed with?

SM: I've had so many thoughts about what the greatest decision is regarding a label. I feel like they are all good at what they do. At this stage in the game we're looking for the right one. We've turned down a couple offers just cause this is a dangerous business and it's hard to make a living off of being a professional musician. Most that are successful and can make a good living are way bigger than 99% of artists that are sign. A few do so much more because of the other things they have in the works that help them survive. We're really looking to just fit right at that professional level first to get a team together that’ll really help push our project to the surface. I don't think we're quite there yet but every mishap and issue we cross with great strength and now it’s just a matter of time until we clean up what we need cleaning up and we’ll be out there full time.

RMP: Just looking over your music as a collective whole for the article, I’ve seen some lineup changes. It happens, has that hit you guys hard as far as making a name for yourselves or has it wavered your determination at all?

SM:Maybe I'm more old school but I think people care more about the band than the members but yes I do feel like a lineup change can affect a fan base. Just looking at the strides we've made maybe we're still really not that big but the lineup changes we've faced has really affected our growth. Nothing will waver my determination to make music. I knew in the beginning even before this band that this is one of the most difficult and unforgiving careers. I'm not here talking to you because I am looking for a paycheck at the end of the day. I do it because I love the fuck out of it. It really is like a drug I can't get enough of. I work 70+ hours a week and have for 6 years to afford to tour and release material as much as we have. I just took the first vacation in 7 years barely a month ago. I'm here because I love the music and I love our fans. That's it.

RMP: What is your opinion about the music industry today? Is it something you look forward to being a part of or do you plan to make a statement out of the norm?

SM: I feel like the industry has changed a lot. When I was younger it was a more loving society of musicians. Maybe it's always been this dog eat dog jungle and I'm only now seeing the truth. I love meeting people and I love face to face. The internet has changed the game a lot but I still prefer real contact. Real connections are the reason this band has gotten as far as it has. Maybe that has played a factor in why we haven't had a huge success yet but I have faith. People will always want everything for free and they will always love music. I'll stick to what I do best and keep growing better and better until a breakthrough to the other side. It would be nice to be able to see these bright and shining faces I type to every day. Here's to hoping and still hustling for a future! Cheers!

RMP: Thank you for allowing my to speak and share my words with others. I really appreciate it and I'll  see you when I swing through the west coast the next time Jessica!

A big thanks to Spencer for taking the time to interview! Stay tuned for an album review of “Wallflower” when A War Within releases it!