State Champs brought their Kings Of The New Age Tour to the San Diego House of Blues mainstage on Saturday night. Supporting them at the halfway point of their tour was Australian band Between You & Me and California-based bands Hunny and Mothé.
Mothé, born Spencer Fort, sauntered onto the stage wrapped in a translucent cape-like jacket. Introducing themself as “Moth with an e at the end,” they delivered a playful set of indie alternative music with a DIY energy. Spencer had previously released a handful of EPs and singles as part of a two-piece alternative rock band called Moth Wings before branching off and evolving into their current artist identity. Mothé’s debut album I Don’t Want You To Worry Anymore released earlier this year, and their setlist included a variety of tracks from it. The vibes range from dancy pop songs with grungy guitars to airy ethereal sounds. The room was flooded with red stage lighting as the band members jammed out through each song. Mothé’s long hair and mustache evoked a rockstar energy, and they spoke with confidence about their love for the LGBTQ+ community throughout the set. Guitarist Jakob hopped off the stage afterwards to take photos and interact with fans at the barricade. Mothé was a last-minute addition to the San Diego date after original opener Games We Play had to cancel his stint of shows on this tour the week prior, and the crowd was not disappointed.
Next up, Between You & Me took the stage and were welcomed to a room full of cheering. As vocalist Jake Wilson introduced the group as a Melbourne-based band, an excited fan yelled “Aussie Aussie Aussie!” to which they replied “Oi Oi Oi!” The other members that make up Between You & Me are Jai Gibson (guitar), Chris Bowerman (guitar), Jamey Bowerman (drums), and James Karagiozis (bass). The band played mainly songs from their 2021 album Armageddon, but sprinkled in an earlier single, “Overthinking,” and arguably their most popular song “Dakota” from their debut album Everything Is Temporary (2018). Band members jumped around the stage, doing high kicks and leaning into their guitar playing the whole time. You could tell they were enjoying the liveliness in the venue and passionate about their music. The Aussie quintet brought an abundance of fun pop-punk energy, a wonderful addition to the lineup of State Champs’ Kings Of The New Age Tour.
Go To Hell
Pleased to Meet You
The third and final of the openers for the evening was Hunny, an American rock band hailing from Newbury Park, California. Forming in 2014, the members include Jason Yarger (lead vocals, guitar), Kevin Grimmett (keyboard, bass), Joey Answerson (drums), and Jake Goldstein (guitar). The crowd had a great energy throughout the night but they went especially hard during Hunny’s performance, enthusiastically singing along and even crowd surfing during their set. Hunny is signed to Epitaph Records and recently dropped a deluxe EP titled Homesick just a few weeks ago. They played a handful of songs from this release, as well as familiar favorites like “Televised” and “A Slow Death In Pacific Standard Time” off of their earlier albums and EPs. Their sound is a more chill genre of rock, with some added indie and funk influences blended in.
A Slow Death In Pacific Standard Time
Good Will Hunting Song
Vowels (And the Importance of Being Me)
Everything Means Everything To Me
Sports With Strangers
Lula, I’m Not Mad
Stage hands prepared the room for the headlining act, clearing duplicate drum kits and setting up a narrow riser at the front of the stage. State Champs walked out to an eager audience who was erupting in applause and chants. Forming in 2010 in Albany, New York, the foursome is made up of Derek DiScanio (vocals), Ryan Scott Graham (bass), Tyler Szalkowski (guitar), and Evan Ambrosio (drums).
The boys kicked it off with a triad of songs that packed a pop-punk punch, “Just Sound,” “Mine Is Gold,” and “Eventually,” with C02 smoke cannons shooting off throughout. Crowd surfers made their way to the front pit to high five the band members. They played a variety of songs spanning most of their discography, including popular crowd pleasers like “Elevated,” and “Criminal.” Their setlist did not however include any songs from their early nine-song album Apparently, I’m Nothing (2011); while this was the band’s first release, it has a different, grittier sound than their more recent albums and they don’t reference it often. Lead singer Derek DiScanio pointed out that next year is the 10-year anniversary of the band’s 2013 album The Finer Things, perhaps hinting at an anniversary tour in 2023. The evening continued on with mosh pits and even a small dance competition amongst the crowd with bassist Ryan delivering some dance moves of his own.
The band closed with their most-streamed song on Spotify, “Secrets,” off of their 2015 album, Around the World and Back, before emerging for a final encore of “Everybody But You.” The Kings Of The New Age Tour wraps up on December 10th in the band’s hometown of Albany, NY.
Mine Is Gold
Outta My Head
Crying Out Loud
Our Time to Go
All You Are Is History
Act Like That
Deadly Conversation / Hurry Up and Wait / Losing Myself / All or Nothing / Breaking Ground
Encore: Everybody But You