State Champs @ TLA 5/9


Ryan Bowman

On Tuesday night State Champs along with their trio of opening acts took over the TLA in Philly. Fans had lined up early in the afternoon eager to be one of the first inside and get that beloved spot on the barricade. The opening acts, Don Broco, With Confidence, and Against the Current set the mood for a night of pop punk, powerful guitar beats, and crowdsurfing galore. After the opening acts finished and the crowd recovered from the wall of death that took place, the lights dimmed and the anticipation was overwhelming. The five piece pop punk band out of Albany took the stage to deafening cheers from their fans that had packed up against the barricade like sardines.

State Champs is made up of Derek DiScanio (vocals), Tyler Szalkowski (lead guitar), Tony Diaz (rhythm guitar), Ryan Graham (bass) and Evan Ambrosio (drums). Formed in 2010, they self-released EPs before signing with Pure Noise Records in 2012. Their debut full-length album The Finer Things was released in late 2013, and they supported a variety of other pop punk bands on tours. Their sophomore album, Around the World and Back was released in late 2015 after touring with bands such as All Time Low, Neck Deep, A Day to Remember, and playing Warped Tour.


They opened with one of their older songs, Remedy, off of Overslept, an EP they released in 2012. This was followed by a strong of their newest album, which was also celebrating the release of the deluxe version just a few days ago. The set also included acoustic versions much to the delight of the older fans, including Stick Around (one of the first songs they wrote) and Around the World and Back, the title track from their new album. The transition was absolutely fascinating, with fans crowdsurfing and moshing one moment to standing perfectly still and absorbing the acoustic vibes that suddenly encompassed the venue. After the last note of the second song, Derek compelled the crowd back into the frenzy they were in before, and they jumped into one of my favorite songs, All You Are Is History.


They continued bouncing around between albums old and new before finishing with the heart-thumping Elevated which featured way too many crowdsurfers to count. Their encore consisted of Critical, another older one, and arguably their best known song, Secrets. The song was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2016 Alternative Press Music Awards, where the band won Best Breakthrough Band. To say the band has exploded in the past few months would be quite the understatement. While they always were well-known in the pop-punk world, their spot on Warped Tour last summer and continuous coverage from Alt Press has elevated (ironic, right) them to one of the best known bands in the punk world right now.


The band wraps up their U.S. tour in the next few days before heading across the pond for a month of European dates in June. Their third studio album is up next on the agenda, and the summer will be spent writing and recording the much anticipated next chapter in the State Champs saga. Keep an eye on their website for news on shows and the new album.


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