A panel review of the State Champs concert

Don Broco opened the night at Wooly’s on April 11.

State Champs headlined Wooly’s Tuesday night, bringing a variety of openers with them. Three Limelight members attended the show: Dalton, Parker and Caroline.

English punk pop band Don Broco had the pleasure of being the first of three openers. What might seem like a difficult task was made easy by the band.

Caroline: I had heard of these guys but I had never really listened to them. Their live show was a pleasant surprise and introduced me to their music in a really cool and personal way.

Dalton: The band had an interesting sound. It seemed like a mix of the 1975 and The Story So Far — the drums and guitar melodies were reminiscent of traditional punk music, while the vocals and keys played more like alternative pop music. I really enjoyed their rythms, melodies and overall vibe. I see this bad going places in the near future.

After Don Broco had the crowd buzzing, With Confidence, the popular Australian punk band, took the stage.

Caroline: I caught With Confidence at Warped Tour last summer and liked their set in an outdoor setting. Since then, I have listened to their album quite a bit. At Wooly’s, their set was even more exciting. I feel like their music is made for small indoor clubs like Wooly’s. They are a really fun band that sounds a little younger than the other bands that played last night, but they fit in the lineup well. 

Parker: From what I caught of With Confidence, I enjoyed how melodic they were. A friend and I were expecting to hear something a little heavier, but their style of pop-punk was appealing to a casual listener. Their Warped Tour appeal was evident and worthy.

Dalton: Caroline is going to be upset with me, but I feel indifferent about With Confidence. Their set was good and they got the crowd excited, but their music is nothing atypical for the punk/alternative scene. Someone near me summed it up pretty well, commenting, “They seem like they’re 10 years too late. Sounds like 2003.”

Regardless of how our panelists felt, With Confidence had the crowd excited, including plenty of crowd surfers.

After With Confidence, the female-led group Against the Current met the crowd.

Dalton: Against the Current was good, but something was lacking from the performance. The crowd was not as hyped for their set, though they might have just been more into the music than the physical concert. Singer Chrissy Costanza was a highlight, however.

Caroline: I am a pretty big fan of Against the Current, but if I’m being honest, they were a little disappointing. Frontwoman Chrissy Costanza’s vocals were as stunning as ever and I don’t think she ever stood in one place for more than about two seconds. However, the rest of the band didn’t even come close to matching her energy. The performance seemed more like a solo artist with support than a full band. 

Parker: I agree with Dalton and Caroline. Costanza definitely presented an energy that wasn’t matched by the rest of the group, which gave the band’s presence an uneven feel. Besides that, I also thought that their general energy was a little too high for an opening act. It almost seemed as though they were trying to make it a co-headlining show.

After a stream of openers, State Champs finally came out, singing one of their staples: “Remedy.”

Parker: “Remedy” is by far my favorite State Champs song, so it was the best possible opener for me. There’s something about the melody and how it reacts and relates to the instrumental that grabs a listener. The group also did a great job alternating between material from their debut album and their most recent effort. Each track was noticeably tight and benefitted from the ferocious precision the rhythm section provided.

Dalton: I am a big fan of State Champs’ acoustic sessions, so I was curious to see a full live show. The whole band had plenty of energy, bouncing from song to song, interacting with the crowd and having a good time.They had to come on after three bands had already performed, but their energy infiltrated the crowd instantly.

Caroline: When State Champs first came out I was actually across the room. As I walked back to my spot to meet up with my friend, I was singing along at the top of my lungs. What was really cool about the crowd was that instead of getting frustrated with me moving through, they sang along with me. The whole set felt like what pop punk shows should be. Everyone was moving and cheering together and it was complete, of course, with a huge amount of moshing and crowd surfing. State Champs really fed off that energy too. 

Parker: This being the fourth time I’ve seen State Champs, I was interested to see if they updated their set in any significant way. While they stuck to their high-energy pop-punk schtick, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I’ve yet to see State Champs not give it their absolute all during a live performance. Derek Discanio is an excellent frontman, with body language that matches the music’s mood, whether that be violent or melodic.

Dalton: While I was hoping they would break down for “If I’m Lucky” in the middle of the show, I was satisfied by their relevant sound from “Remedy” to start all the way to “Elevated” and “Secrets” to finish. Derek Discanio impressed on vocals and their performance left the crowd energized even as they left Wooly’s. 

Caroline: Overall, I really enjoyed State Champs and was pretty impressed. Their sound translated from recordings to the live show really well. They had the finished sound of seasoned musicians but they had the comfortable and energetic stage presence of a really good pop punk band. Their songs are all memorable, and Discanio seemed like he was having a lot of fun on stage. I always like seeing musicians who genuinely love their job and that definitely seemed true for these guys.

State Champs, Against the Current, With Confidence and Don Broco all brought something different to the show; each had their own sound, starting with Don Broco’s unique style and finishing with State Champs’ impressive melodies. The groups gave solid performances, handing Wooly’s another successful night.