Putting on a show is hard work, let me tell you. From start to finish, it is about non-stop grind. From finding the act, to selling the tickets, to the day-of-show operations, it is a heck ton of work. But when you’re as involved in the creation of a show, like I was, the absolute best part of the entire process, is watching everyone in the audience enjoy the show. There isn’t a feeling better than watching the looks on the faces of people in the crowd enjoying every single second.
There were many ups and downs and struggles that we went through when planning the 2019 Spring Concert. But with all the sweat and tears put into the entire process, being there and feeling the energy of the room made it all worthwhile. Especially for me because this was the last show I was going to be a huge part of since I’m a senior and graduating in May. We struggled a lot finding an act to headline and even setting the date. I saw State Champs had a tour announced and brought up that we should try to get on the tour. In the end, that’s essentially what we ended up doing. Since there was no Pittsburgh date, and being that the last time State Champs was in town was back in September, fans did not waste time buying their tickets.
After a long day of getting everything together and making sure everything was ready for doors, 7pm hit and fans came rushing in the doors. Legit… they got through security and ran down to the stage to secure their spots, after sitting outside for 6 hours in the cold. Before we knew it, it was time for the show to begin.
We booked Eternal Boy as an opener, after securing the headliner. For one, they fit really well genre-wise, with State Champs. The other reason is because lead vocalist, Rishi Bahl, is actually Dr. Rishi Bahl, a professor at La Roche. He’s also my academic advisor and been a huge motivator and support for myself and my academic career these last few years.
If you’re unfamiliar, Eternal Boy, formerly The Spacepimps, is a pop/punk band from Pittsburgh. I’ve shot them several times before. Some of their most popular tunes include “Party Foul“, “Awkward Phase“, and “Katie“.
The crowd responded well, despite a vast majority having been there specifically for the headliner. They did not cease to mosh or crowd surf, that’s for sure. One of the coolest parts of their set was when they surprised the audience with a cover of Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”. Despite having reservations about doing the show, because he tries hard to separate his best of both worlds life, Rishi and the rest of Eternal Boy put on an amazing show, and one of the best I’ve seen of theirs lately.
After a quick intermission, it was time for the headlining act…. State Champs. Now if you’re unfamiliar, which I assume isn’t the case ’cause why else would you be reading this, State Champs is a pop/punk band from Albany, New York, who has blown up over the last decade. With quite a large following in Pittsburgh, they were a fantastic choice for a spring concert headliner.
Last time I saw them was at Four Chord in 2017, when the barricade fell over not 5 minutes into State Champs’ set. Well, history repeated itself this year, barely a minute into their set beginning. Luckily, we had a lot of security and staff on hand that reacted quickly. Our concert council staff ended up sitting on the seat/step part of the pit side of the barricade while the hired security caught the various crowd surfers and sent them back into the audience. It was utter chaos. But so much fun. Also… it made for great photos.
State Champs played a ton of their most popular songs from the oldest EP to the most recent album, and every single voice in the audience sang along. Some of my favorites that I jammed to during the set included “All You Are Is History“, “If I’m Lucky” acoustic, and “Secrets“. During “If I’m Lucky”, lead singer, Derek Discanio, pulled out an acoustic guitar and it was just him and the audience and it was so pure and raw. A bit later on, they did an encore and came out in a Redhawks jersey! (A baseball jersey, not football, Derek). They ended the set with “Secrets”, a fan favorite. The set was everything we could have asked for. With sweat dripping and hair being pulled back, the crowd made their way out of the gym.
It was our best show yet. From the sounds of it, it was probably the best spring concert La Roche has ever had and I am so proud to have been a huge part of that. Post show and during clean up, the tour manager agreed to let a few of us get a photo with the band once they were showered and ready to go. I talked to them individually and they were extremely nice guys. I can’t say enough how great State Champs is all around, on and off stage. If they’re coming to a city near you, get tickets because it is a pop/punk concert experience you’ll never forget.
Below I included some of my favorite shots, which was SUPER hard to narrow down might I add. You can check out the rest (which you definitely should do) on my Flickr page!