New Politics at House of Blues San Diego

After not seeing the band since 2014, I got the chance to check out New Politics on the Lost in Translation tour with support from Dreamers and The Wrecks at their stop in San Diego at the House of Blues. Though the band has become much more musically refined in the last few years (I remember seeing a breakdancing, rapping, pop-punk act opening for Dirty Heads back in 2011), they still maintain their high energy roots. They have also become a much better live band, with solid production and a tight live show.

Indie-rock band The Wrecks opened the night, playing a 30 minute selection of their songs, including “James Dean”, “Favorite Liar”, and “I Don’t Like You”. The band has a variety of influences, but one that was clear from the start, especially on “I Don’t Like You” is Cage the Elephant. Seemingly out of coincidence, the first song after their energy-filled set was Cage the Elephant’s “Come a Little Closer”.

Dreamers is the direct support on the tour, one of the notable songs they played was a cover of The Cranberries’ song “Zombie”. The band released a recording of the cover online on February 9th, just three weeks after the death of Cranberries’ lead singer Dolores O’Riordan. Other songs the band touched upon included “Sweet Disaster”, “Wolves (You Got Me)”, and “Painkiller”.

As the main act of the night, New Politics started with an upbeat song off of their newest effort, Lost in Translation. “Istanbul” got the crowd going, and singer David Boyd was crowdwalking before the song was over. After a track off of Vikings, the band jumped things back to their 2010 self-titled release with “Love Is a Drug”. Even though many of the fans in the audience seemed to be newer converts, there was still an intense energy during the cut. During “Lifeboat” the band showed that they can still write a pounding, anthemic track to get the crowd going.

After dedicating “Color Green” to all their friends and family, the band played a few more songs from their first release; “Dignity” and “Die For You”. After the latter, the band was amazed that a mosh pit had formed. Throughout the rest of the set, the band blended songs from each of their albums and ended the main set with hit single “Harlem”. Several of the songs during the night also featured additional performances on keys and bass by stage techs, which was new to me but a nice touch. Some songs just seem to call for live bass, rather than the band’s standard backtracked synths.

Once the main set was over, the band came back for a three song encore, of “Lifted”, “Pretend We’re In a Movie”, and finally closing the night with their first hit, “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah”.

Check out their tour dates to see if they’re coming to a city near you!

Press photo by Brendan Walter.

Theory of a Deadman at 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.

Against Me! @ Vogue Theatre, Vancouver

We photographed Against me at their show in Vogue Theatre, Vancouver.