The Roundhouse, Sydney NSW
September 4th, 2022
Supports: The Maine, Hot Milk and Paperweight
It’s been forever ago since upstate New Yorkers State Champs have done a headline tour of Australia, with their last visit being a single appearance on UNIFY Gathering in 2019. With fourth LP, Kings of the New Age at the forefront of what it means to be a pop punk act this year, what better way than now to give Australian fans the pop punk tour of our dreams! I hadn’t seen an absolutely STACKED lineup like this since the 2000s (anyone else remember being at Simple Plan, The All-American Rejects and Kisschasy in 2005?)
Melbourne newcomers Paperweight had the official duties of getting everyone into the right mood for the rest of the evening, and boy did they not disappoint. For a band who have barely hit their twentieth live show, their onstage camaraderie seems to grow strength by strength. Having witnessed these kids grow from their first show to Knight & Day festival, lead vocalist Haris Dillinger has gained more confidence onstage and in hyping up the early punters for the huge night ahead. With their brand of infectious jams perfectly matching to that of State Champs later in the evening, you couldn’t have chosen a better opening band than Paperweight. Finishing their set with the latest single ‘Lemon Spiders‘, the four-piece left the ambience of the Roundhouse on the right levels, preparing the stage for the next act to set the scene alight.
Moments before Manchester four-piece Hot Milk took to the stage, you could tell that many in the venue were hyped for their first taste of the UK band who are adding some much-needed spice to the music scene, one country at a time. From the moment they launched into ‘Bad Influence‘, you can tell this band are in their own zone onstage. Vocalist Hannah Mee doesn’t stay in one spot for long, as she flings from one end of the stage to the other like she has some sort of superpower. The energy onstage quickly transferred to those in the pit as soon as the opening bars of the band’s earliest tracks ‘Wide Awake‘ played out, with keen fans getting in on the chaotic circlepits during ‘I Just Wanna Know What It’s Like When I’m Dead‘ and the sugar-coated hit ‘Candy Coated Lies‘.
Hannah has one of the most insane stage presences I’ve witnessed in this current live scene, and even when she shares the stage with co-vocalist James Shaw, it doesn’t feel like one is overpowering the other. The chemical bond between the duo is unmatched and unlike anything we have seen before. As they closed their Sydney debut with the heavy-tinged fiery ‘Split Personality‘, you can just foresee that the next time Hot Milk take to the Australian stage, it’ll be on a bigger stage, higher up on the bill playing to an audience that’s multiplied in size. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Honestly, it’s going to be difficult to follow up on the performance that Hot Milk gave us that evening, but if any band can do it, it’s going to be someone like The Maine who’ve got 15 years of touring under their belt. However, according to this reviewer, apart from their recent hit this year ‘Loved You A Little‘, a huge chunk of The Maine’s performance featured tracks from their more recent albums. Apart from the diehards, the rest of the older audience were left feeling a little bored and probably could have been swayed with a track out of the Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop vault. In saying that though, I can absolutely appreciate that the band’s live performance has aged like a fine wine over the years as vocalist John O’Callaghan sings with poise and maturity.
The big moment of the night finally arrived and State Champs took to the Aussie stage for the first time in years, dropping straight in with ‘Elevated‘ and the crowd’s mood instantly matched this notion. Their set flowed seamlessly from pop punk banger to the next, and it’s pretty easy to see why they are the Kings of the New Age right now. Giving us no time at all for any slower moments, the way that vocalist Derek DiScanio seemingly bounces on stage with ease, is reflected straight back into the audience. Their performance was strictly one for the fans, with no time at all for their slower songs, the mood of the entire venue didn’t lower once.
It’s honestly refreshing to see a band give to the fans exactly what we want and how we like it. A State Champs gig is as pop punk as it gets, and reminds us why we fell in love with their music well over a decade ago. While there were a number of fans that night calling out for tracks like ‘Eventually‘, State Champs gave us all the show we’ve been dreaming of in lockdown throughout the past three years. You could say that by the end of the evening, we were feeling ‘Just Sound‘ by how everything had panned out.
Review By Tamara May @citylightstam
State Champs Australian Tour
Supported by The Maine, Hot Milk and Paperweight
Tuesday 6th September @ The Gov, Adelaide
Thursday 8th September @ Magnet House, Perth
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