Concert Photography

The Pretty Reckless at Bridgestone Arena

Is there anyone else you’d rather be singing about going to hell with than The Pretty Reckless? We didn’t think so. The band opened for Shinedown on The Revolution’s Live Tour, following Diamante and stepping onstage to a warmed up crowd. The Pretty Reckless had previously had to cancel their own headlining tour twice due to the pandemic, so it was a long-awaited sight for all to see them performing live.

The Pretty Reckless kicked off their set with a bang and a cover of Soundgarden’s “Loud Love” before moving into their own “Since You’re Gone” followed by their most recent single “Only Love Can Save Me Now.” Frontwoman Taylor Momsen had the crowd sing along with the call and response in “Heaven Knows,” while also asking for audience help singing “Going to Hell,” where everyone enthusiastically screamed the lyrics. “Going to Hell” featured a guitar solo by Ben Phillips, where he walked the length the runway and treated us to a couple of minutes of pure guitar goodness.

With a truly stacked setlist, they fit as many fan-favorites as they could in the 8 song set, which only left the audience wanting more.

Concert Photography

Shinedown at Bridgestone Arena

Shinedown stopped by Nashville with only a few shows left on the Revolution’s Live Tour. Shinedown formed in the early 2000’s, so they’re no strangers to the stage, and they certainly gave us all a show. With an opening to the set that celebrated getting back out to tour after shutting down for the pandemic, the members walked proudly out on stage to the deafening cheers of the audience. That would be the last time for the night that anything as slow as walking would be done on the stage.

Starting us off with “The Saints of Violence and Innuendo,” the energy in the arena could not reach a higher peak. Lead vocalist Brent Smith had the arena with their hands in the air while guitarist Zach Meyers and bassist Eric Bass ran up and down the runway, giving their all into their instruments, and drummer Barry Kerch kept up the headbanging at the back of the stage. Towards the end of the song, the stage was lit up with pillars of flames, making the audience roar along with Smith.

The energy, of course, did not dim throughout the night. Shinedown played old favorites and new, including the title track off of their upcoming seventh studio album Planet Zero which comes out July 1st.

Concert Photography

alt-J // The Dream Tour

Nashville celebrated the night of Mardi Gras by attending the co-headlined Dream Tour at Nashville Municipal Auditorium, and alt-J was the final band to play. alt-J opened up their set with “Something Good,” and revealed to the audience the screened-in box that made up their stage. Projected images danced across those screens, resulting in visuals that were ethereal, abstract, and mesmerizing.

alt-J played songs off of their latest album The Dream, including “Bane” and “U&ME.” The screens around the stage lifted for the duration of “Matilda,” in which the audience was invited to sing along to the more intimate song, and then the screens came back down for the rest of the night. Along with the new music, alt-J played all of our old favorites, closing out the show with “Left Hand Free” and “Breezeblocks.”

Take a look at our gallery for photos of the night!

Concert Photography

Portugal. The Man at Nashville Municipal Auditorium

Nashville celebrated the night of Mardi Gras by attending the co-headlined Dream Tour at Nashville Municipal Auditorium. Portugal. The Man took the stage before alt-J, playing fan-favorite singles such as “Live in the Moment” and “Feel It Still,” along with their latest “What, Me Worry?” The audience raved for the wild light show that accompanied the set, and sang their hearts out as Portugal. The Man ended their portion of the show with “Purple Yellow Red and Blue.”

And the most meaningful part of the night was just before Portugal. The Man took the stage, where they acknowledged and honored the Indigenous people whose land they were performing on. In this case, the Cherokee and Shawnee tribes, among others. The moment was much appreciated by all in attendance.

Take a look at our gallery for images from the night!


Miley Cyrus goes glam rock with “Plastic Hearts”

I’m a few days late to this review, but Miley Cyrus’s new album requires some time to sit with to take in the full effect. Plastic Hearts is one surprise after another: with a ballad taking the #3 slot, absolute icons joining for features, live covers, and a whopping 15 tracks. Buckle up, let’s go!

The first song, “WTF Do I Know,” kicks off the album with an anthemic start. Only a few seconds in I was begging that the rest of the album be exactly the same. Miley has already proven she can remake herself and jump between genres time and time again, but I was hoping one day she would bring more rock influence into her music. And she delivered.

Timeless is a word that comes to mind when listening to this LP, and I can surely see us jamming to some of these tracks for years to come. It’s a rare day when I suggest songs for my dad to listen to, but I know we will both be playing the air drums in the car to “Night Crawling” featuring Billy Idol.

The latter half of the album really slows down though, and that was initially a little disappointing to me. I still like the songs, but I wanted more rock ’n roll, more angst, more songs that feature Miley’s incredible vocals that you can hear in her live cover of The Cranberries’s “Zombie.” Am I the only one who was expecting something a little more exciting out of “Prisoner,” her song with Dua Lipa?

But guess what? Miley does what she wants, and her music is primarily for her. And I applaud that. And I will scream from the mountaintops in support of topics she covers: about sexist double standards, about how being LGBTQ+ is normal, and about being unapologetically herself and loving it.

You’ll find me later learning to play “High” on the guitar and being thankful that Miley was able to salvage the music that was lost in the fire that burned down her home in LA.

Music News Reviews

Sound Of Kalima releases “6789ten”

Here’s a duo to pay attention to. Sound Of Kalima is made of up Pete and Sal, two young musicians from Vancouver. They captured the USA’s attention with their single “Wild Trash,” an urgent commentary on the destruction of our planet. Self-described as having “no respect for the limitations of genre,” Sound Of Kalima is here to give us electronic music that holds a human element. Today, the duo released their latest, “6789ten.”

“6789ten” is a song filled with variety. The electric guitar and percussion make you want to jam, there’s prevalent anger, and yet some element makes you want to dance. The refrain of “6789ten” is easy to get stuck in your head, but my favorite part of this song are the verses. The melodic contrast with the chorus grabs your attention and the lyrics run deep.

In this world I’m not an equal / that’s not heartbreak to you, why should I bother?

“Wild Trash” showed us that SOK isn’t afraid to write about controversial topics, and “6789ten” is no different. The lyrics address prejudice based on skin color, racial injustice, and lack of faith in the system, and the siren that seemed like a fun sound effect on first listen takes on a new meaning as you pay attention to the words.

I’ll be keeping tabs on SOK, eagerly awaiting to see what they have to say next. Until then, take a listen to “6789ten.”

Interviews Music News

Novarium on New Single “Virus”

Novarium is a gothic-metal group comprised of lead vocalist Jen Janet, bassist Carey White, keyboardist Micah Consylman, drummer D. Anthony, and guitarists Sean Gronholt and Dean Michaels. Novarium just released “Virus,” their first single in couple years, and we’re sure fans are excited that they are back! We got to catch up with the group about their new song, how they’ve changed, and what’s in store!

CROWDSURFER MAG: Your latest single “Virus” just came out! It’s been a while since you’ve put out new music, how does it feel to release this one?

JEN: This is my first original song done with Novarium, so for me it’s really fun and I’m excited to show the song to the world.

D. ANTHONY: It feels great, and satisfying, to finally release this song. People’s attention spans tend to be short and we wanted listeners to know that we haven’t gone anywhere. I think Virus is the best song to re-introduce Novarium to all listeners as it has elements in there for everyone to gravitate to.

DEAN:  It’s been a long time coming.  We went through some lineup changes and released a single in 2018, but aside from that we’ve been low-key and working on new music.  We didn’t want to come up for air until we had something solid, and I think we’ve accomplished that. 

SEAN: I’ve been close to this song for a long time, so I’m really happy it’s seeing the light of day.

CSM: What was the inspiration for “Virus?”

JEN: I’ve always been very interested in history and theology. I think some of the most powerful questions we ask ourselves, is who are we? Is there a god? Is there life after death, or a higher power, or just some bigger meaning to everything? This song uses ancient Egyptian history and religious imagery to move the story along. That period in history was always very interesting to me because the kings and pharaohs were revered as living gods. A lot of people don’t like the idea of a human being a god, but I think it’s fun to think about. If you love someone, for example, you may treat them in a way, like a god. We treat celebrities like gods, sometimes. It’s an interesting concept. This song is about loving someone very much, to the point where they are put on a pedestal, treated like a god. Sometimes this can go to your head, and that person changes, even though they didn’t want to. Ultimately if one wants to change, they need to do it themselves. You can’t save someone who doesn’t want your help.

CSM: This single has a title that is very timely. How do you feel about releasing it during the pandemic?

JEN: We actually already had the title “Virus” for this song before anyone had even heard of COVID-19. We started writing this a long time ago. We decided now was a good time to release it because the video was finished, but the timing was actually a coincidence.

D. ANTHONY: Luckily, or unluckily, we had that title before the pandemic hit. We actually wanted to postpone any ideas of releasing the video, and single, until things calmed down. We wanted to treat the events with respect and not attract unwanted attention due to the title and the chaos that was to follow the pandemic.

DEAN: We were sensitive to the timing and had even talked about whether this was the right time to release a song called “Virus”, but ultimately we knew that our song had no relation to what was going on.  We filmed the video back in September 2019, so if we’d released it when we wanted to it would actually pre-date COVID.  I remember when the nation experienced anthrax scares and the band Anthrax came out and said, “We’re not changing our name”.  The same goes for our song, “Virus”.  Our song is about human nature, and even during a pandemic, human nature is tested.

SEAN: Kinda like a jerk at first. On the one hand I was concerned that it would be crass or come off as cavalier for us to just drop a song with that title on to a world that’s been hurting under the strain of a virus for months now. But I’ve never been a fan of self-censorship, and as a smarter man once wrote, “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” Now my only concern is that the title will be seen as unoriginal and cliched.

MICAH: Times are pretty rough right now. One small silver lining is that if you are home all the time, you can really let your inner goth kid out. I certainly have.

CSM: Tell us about shooting the music video! What was it like being on set and getting to tell the story visually? And what’s your favorite part of the video?

JEN: Being on set was great – we worked with a property in Pennsylvania who allowed us to use their space. It was a very large warehouse with a few different rooms. I made a storyboard for the video previously and we all put some creative ideas into it, so we knew how the story would go. Basically for the music video’s story, the band plays characters that have died in different ways, and passed on. My character is sort of a “goddess of the underworld” type of person. She appears to each person, one by one, waking them up in the afterlife. They are injected with a substance, and then transform into Novarium. We wanted this to be the story for the video to show that Novarium is back, and we figured it would be fun to have the members in normal, plain clothes first, and then transform into costumes later. On stage for live shows everyone looks very gothic and we keep that aesthetic, so it was fun to have both sides in the video. My favorite part of the video to film was actually the end when we are all performing, just because I haven’t been on stage in a long time.

D. ANTHONY: Shooting the music video was a fun event but it took a lot of work. I for one felt weird during the acting parts as I am far from being, and don’t aspire to be, an actor. The live part during the 2nd half of the video was the most fun for me. I just enjoy playing with fellow musicians and having a good time. You have to play the song over and over for different camera angles so you better like the song!

DEAN:  The hard part was telling our entire story the best we could using what we had available  for the time allotted.  We had it story-boarded out,  we had minimal equipment and wardrobe, and we had never been to the set before.  We weren’t sure if what we had planned was going to work because we couldn’t scout it out ahead of time.  Luckily the people we worked with were very accommodating and understood what we were trying to do.  They were filmmakers themselves and were on scene from time to time to watch the process.  I did a few takes for my hanging scene, and on the second take I realized that I had an audience watching me.  I’m not much of an actor and it was a bit awkward, but you suffer for your art!  I think we were there for 12 or 14 hours and my favorite part only lasted a few seconds on screen: the part where we all open the bay door, having been awakened, and enter where we are “made” for the first time.

SEAN: Personally I’m proud of the noose I tied for Dean. I’d never made one before, but when your friend asks for a noose for himself, what are you going to do, say no?

CSM: Your album Omicron came out in 2016. How would you say your sound has changed since then? How would you say you as a group have changed?

D. ANTHONY: The songs on Omicron started forming as far back as 2008. As you can imagine, we’ve progressed as songwriters since then. The new songs have more collaboration from all band members. Omicron is a great debut album and allowed us to share stages with great musicians and travel, but I feel like we’ve matured as musicians. When you first become a band you are starting to get to know each other and sometimes it takes a few songs, or an album, to figure out the formula.

MICAH: I’ve been collaborating with Novarium from the start. They have always been a talented band. They seem to be progressing toward tighter, heavier, more melodic writing and performances, with really sexy keytar players. The group has changed a lot since getting a sexy keytar player.

DEAN:  Omicron was a collection of songs by a band that was still finding itself.  We knew we wanted to blend a few different elements together, but we hadn’t worked out the ratios yet.  There are a lot of songs on that album that were written and re-written to fit into a mold that was constantly evolving. We were too heavy for the goth crowd, and too goth for the heavy crowd. We also had a different line-up.  Any time you change members, you alter the DNA.  Once we got our bearings and fell into a rhythm, we realized that instead of writing specifically for an audience, we would get better results if we just wrote for ourselves. We’re also experimenting more with vocals than we have in the past, blending what we call “beauty and the beast” style stuff between Jen and the rest of us.  Sometimes the vocal melodies inform the music, so the tracks are a lot more cohesive than before. You could say the band is more mature these days, but I’d like to think that we just stopped worrying so much about how we were perceived and just focused on writing the best songs we could.

SEAN: As a group, we’re more professional now. We have spreadsheets, deadlines, scheduled teleconferences. Only thing missing now is an HR department and performance reviews, which is fortunate for me. But really, we’re a well-oiled machine these days, and we’re far more effective than we were in years past.

CSM: How has the pandemic changed your writing/production/creation process?

JEN: For us it actually has not changed at all. We were already a remote band with members all across the US, so we were already writing remotely and sharing files back and forth.

D. ANTHONY: Our songwriting process is actually still the same. Due to how hard it is to juggle having a career and establishing your band, technology starts becoming your best friend. Even more so when not all band members live in the same state.

SEAN: Yes. Now I actually have to practice my instrument instead of my usual formula of just giving excuses. Like, “I have to go to work.” It’s a tough time to be a procrastinator.

DEAN:  Yeah, not a whole lot changed with the process during the pandemic.  If anything, it gave me a chance to finally sit down and concentrate on finishing a few things!  A lot of the pandemic has been us preparing to release “Virus”, retool our social media and web sites, and create content, so we’ve been pretty busy. 

CSM: “Virus” will be on your upcoming EP. What can we expect when it comes out? Can you tell us anything about it?

D. ANTHONY: You can expect the same elements that form the core of what Novarium has always been, with new and improved sounds.

DEAN: “Virus” set the tone for our new chapter. The EP is chock full of gothy goodness, songs about human nature, various tempos, and includes our previous single, “Christian Woman” for all the Type O (Negative) fans. 

CSM: I know the year is very much up in the air, but what’s next for Novarium?

D. ANTHONY: What’s next is releasing the first EP with our current lineup, finishing the 2nd EP, new merch, and some tours to come.

MICAH: Bass, heavy screaming, and blazing keytar/guitar leads.

DEAN: We’re finishing up the release of other singles associated with our first EP, starting work on a second, and gearing up to head to the West Coast for one of, we hope, a few performances out that way.  We also hope to shoot a new music video – the first to feature our new keytarist, Micah.

CSM: Anything else you want everyone to know?

JEN: We would love to stay in touch with anyone who enjoys our music!

Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / Youtube / Website / Bandcamp

Interviews Music News

Kyle from The Unlikely Candidates on Latest Single “High Low”

You probably know The Unlikely Candidates from their hit song “Novocaine,” which just topped Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart in March. We got to talk with lead vocalist Kyle Morris about their latest single “High Low” as well as making music and staying creative during this pandemic.

CROWDSURFER: It’s been about a month since “High Low” came out, and I wanted to say I absolutely can connect with it. Where did the inspiration for this song come from?

KYLE MORRIS: The song is about growing up, really. I think the older you get, the more people kind of spread out and do their own thing. I wrote this about coming home from tour and realizing that this has kind of happened even more. But I wrote it a week before quarantine happened, and then I rewrote it during quarantine. It took on a new life because the whole thing takes place in a guy’s apartment where he has nothing to do but think about his friends.

CS: You were in tour when things shut down, right?

KM: Yeah, it really sucked. As we were touring, we would hear that the last venue we were at was closing. We were like, this is catching up really fast. Then we played in the middle of nowhere Wyoming and there was a blizzard. So we stayed there in a cabin, completely snowed in, and we had to make the decision to leave tour. It kind of felt like the end of the world.

CS: Was the process of making this song different because of restrictions of the pandemic?

KM: Usually I’ll go and track the vocals at my producer’s studio, but we couldn’t do that. So, I basically had my producer on Facetime and he would help me, but I was just in my closet at home. So that song was recorded in my closet! Like the old days.

CS: We’re all working from home, even in the music industry! Speaking of, what has it been like for you during this odd and difficult time for the industry?

KM: It’s been rough because we had a #1 single, and this was the year that we were supposed to harvest the fruits of our labor. And we didn’t really get to do that. So we started Flatten the Hump Day, our weekly stream, to give people something to do. We’re coming up on our 16th week of doing it which is absolutely insane.

CS: I’m so impressed by that!

KM: Yeah, I think we’re doing it to stay sane at this point! We’re running out of ideas though. We only have so many songs, but we’ve been trying to mix it up. One week we did emo week and covered our favorite emo songs. We all dressed up with black wigs and fingerless gloves, it was pretty ridiculous.

CS: Well, I definitely want to watch the emo week one.

KM: The emo week one was pretty good. Not gonna lie, it was a little rough to sing. Those voices are pretty high!

CS: I realize it might be hard to answer this question, but what’s next for The Unlikely Candidates?

KM: Just trying to write as many cool songs as possible. Last year I didn’t get to write that much because we spent a lot of time promoting “Novocaine.”

CS: Do you think you’ll be able to get out to LA for recording or will there be more closet songs?

KM: It’s basically all closet stuff. But it’s pretty dope! I’ve had people ask me if I’m going to keep doing this afterwards, and I’m like yeah. I think that this works just as well.

CS: Anything else you want us to know?

KM: We have a video coming up for “High Low.” And stay tuned for Hump Days 19-55! Maybe a drive-in theater, too. I’ve been trying to set one of those up.

CS: We’re fans of drive-in concerts, so I hope you get to play one! Thanks for taking time to talk today!

KM: Thank you! Keep watching Flatten the Hump Day at 3PM central!

“High Low” is out now, and you can listen to it here.

Concert Photography

The New Regime at Brooklyn Steel

The New Regime played in NYC on March 5, 2020, the first of a two-night run at Brooklyn Steel. The dark, moody lighting set the tone and we were treated to a longer opening set, which I certainly wasn’t opposed to. The New Regime ended on “Heart Mind Body & Soul,” which is a song I strongly suggest you take a listen to if you’ve never heard it before!

Photos by Lauren Hayes