Want more of the review Zac McDowell wrote about the AP Tour?

On October 24th, 2015, 4 bands traveled to Stage AE in downtown Pittsburgh on the AP Tour, presented by Alternative Press magazine and Hot Topic. This show featured the pop punk groups As It Is, This Wild Life, Real Friends, and the famous Mayday Parade as the headliner. After waiting in line for three hours and trying to pass the time any way that I could, the doors finally opened and the crowd anxiously waited another hour for the first group to come out onto the stage. Going into this show, I had high expectations for all of the groups. Not so much for Mayday Parade as I did with Real Friends and This Wild Life, and I had never personally listened to As It Is before, so I had no idea what to expect for their performance. After waiting another hour, the lights dimmed, the crowd roared, and the first band came out onto the stage.

As It Is was the first group to perform, and they were energetic, to say the least. Patty Walters, the frontman, was always engaging the crowd and jumping around and just looked like he was having the time of his life up there. The group had an overall, stereotypical new age pop punk sound to them. After seeing what I witnessed, there was not really anything too special about As It Is. The crowd did not seem too interested in them either, except for a select few whom it was obvious that they went to the show mainly to see them. I did not know what to expect out of them, and my conclusion is that it wasn’t awful, but it also was not excellent; just average.

The acoustic punk duo This Wild Life were the next to perform. Anthony DelGrosso, the rhythm guitarist of the two, was in fact born and raised in Pittsburgh, so it was a nice visit back to his hometown. The group consists of Kevin Jordan as the lead guitarist, and as it was stated before, Anthony DelGrosso as rhythm. This was the group’s first time back in Pittsburgh since the Vans Warped Tour in 2015, and was actually the very first time the group has played in a club in Pittsburgh. This Wild Life put on a superb show, opening the show with their song “History” from their newest album “Clouded”, released in early summer. Their performance was a break from the loud pop punk sound, as they are a mainly acoustic band. At one point, Kevin requested every individual in the crowd to turn on the flashlight on their phone and light up the stage, and he asked for the house lights to be turned all the way down. This was a great way to engage the crowd in their overall performance, and it honestly, just looked amazing. After they played their last song, which was another song from Clouded, “Better With You”, they told the crowd that they will be back at the merch stand after the next set, and I got the privilege to meet the two musicians. This Wild Life put on a great, great show overall.

Real Friends was the last act to go on before the headliner. As the stage went dark, Metallica’s hit “For Whom the Bell Tolls” could be heard, and the band came out on stage while the song was playing. As they started to play their first song, the crowd turned it up a notch. As Real Friends is an emo, pop punk revival band, getting a lot of their roots from Blink-182, Green Day, and other emo bands such as My Chemical Romance, the movement in crowd became very wild. The powerful voice of the frontman Dan Lambton, and guitar riffs from the two guitar players Dave Knox and Eric Haines, really turned up the volume from the previous performance. It was like an unexpected punch to the face. Fans jumping over top of each other, yelling the lyrics at the top of your lungs, crowd surfers, tiny circle pits; it really creates the atmosphere of a good old fashioned punk rock show.

Thus came the headliner, Mayday Parade. I expected a lot from them, but unfortunately I found the performances of Real Friends and This Wild Life to be far more enjoyable. The only thing that was noteworthy was the light work. It was definitely something that could have been used in a stadium show to the same extent. Opening with older songs such as “Jamie All Over”, the vibe of their show was fantastic. As they progressed their setlist though, I found that they were dying down in energy, and just overall performance quality. Bringing out the piano for their two closing songs, the volume and energy died down noticeably. They played the hit song “Stay” off of their self titled album first, and their last song before their encore set which was a duet between the frontman Derek Sanders and drummer Jake Bundrick, one of their biggest hits “Miserable at Best”, off of their album “A Lesson in Romantics”. Afterwards they played two encore songs, and the energy was built back up until the show was finally over. Overall, the whole show was superb. Real Friends and This Wild Life had the most potential to put on a good show I thought, and I was right.

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Want another perspective on the show? Staff writer Michela Stasa also reviewed the concert – look for her review soon. 

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