Pink Cloud Summer
October 23rd, 2017
Teagan McGinnis | Knuckle Puck | The Irenic | USD Radio
As the sun fled from the sky at the Irenic, a venue located in an abandoned church, Knuckle Puck’s “USA Tour ‘17” commenced with the entrance of Homesafe, a pop-punk group from Oak Lawn, Illinois. The band showed an unbelievable amount of promise as they sought to begin the night on the right wavelength with an energetic tempo matched by a wide vocal range exhibited by lead guitarist and vocalist, Ryan Rumchaks.
The second opener of the evening, With Confidence, a band that has been recently booted from the tour due to allegations of inappropriate behavior with a minor, did not portray the same level of promise. Their music reflects the younger side of the pop-punk genre, garnering a more juvenile age group, which in light of recent events, is rather morbid. The band’s sound and live performance remain indistinguishable from other male groups of the teen pop-punk genre.
Though Knuckle Puck was the headliner, their performance remained uneventful and redundant in terms of sound and lack of passionate stage presence. The chord progressions and foundational percussion beats seemed to drown out the vocals with the same pattern for each and every song. It was extremely difficult to be present and attentive as an audience member due to a lack of personal connection to the lyrics because of the inaudibility. As an observer who saw the band perform two years ago, there was an expectation of a better execution with both the energy and passion found in their records. Knuckle Puck’s live performance did not surpass or let alone, match their recorded sound.
Their newest album release and focal point of the tour, Shapeshifter, was acclaimed by fans and critics alike. Shaped by tumultuous experiences, Knuckle Puck’s record comes from a place of hardship when one considers the pain that can accompany a disconnected recording process. Eventually having to start from scratch, the group’s transformation was evident in songs like, “Gone” and “Stuck In Our Ways,” which explore both the obstacles and triumphs of finding passions that consume one’s being. Nailing down the quality of their live sound will be paramount in fulfilling the emotionality of the record in shows to come.
Yet, amidst all of this, there was an unbelievably profound performance by the third opener, thus my desire to focus my energies on spotlighting their talent with an unparalleled amount of fervor. Just having released their first full-length album, Feel Something, the band played a combination of old and new songs. At the core of their music is a sense of introspection. Each song contains lyrics that are a series of internal dialogues within lead singer, Patrick Miranda. The instrumentals consist of spacey and fluid guitar techniques that seem to dictate the tempo of each song, producing a parallel to the emotional charge of the lyrics.
The song “Nineteen,” from their debut EP was one of the best performances of the night. The lyrics explore Miranda’s relationship with his father, speaking of his absence and unreasonable expectations for Miranda to mirror his own aspirations for the future. The spoken interlude states, “Someday I hope to make it clear to you that success is not determined by leather bound books and ink on paper, but rather the passion that I have found out of heartbreak and anger. I know that happiness is stability, but stability is not a desk job. And I refuse to sacrifice my aspirations for an income and security. What the hell is security? I am not a warrior. I am not you. I am barely me.”
The concert provided a tangible and sensual accompaniment to the album. Movements truly made us feel something. It was an introspective experience that produced images of past, present, and future moments like film on a continuous reel. Their music continues to push listeners to look beyond surface-level interpretations and acknowledge the omnipresent internal dialogue that is an honest gage of our authentic feelings.
Tickets for Knuckle Puck USA ‘17 Tour range from $17-20