State Champs at the Rex Theater – Review
By Meghan Zonno
Pop punk powerhouse, State Champs, is a five-piece band from Albany, NY. The band is composed of lead singer Derek DiScanio, guitarist Tyler Szalkowski, rhythm guitarist Tony “Rival” Diaz, bassist Ryan Scott Graham, and dummer Evan Ambrosio. The group is doing a run of small venue shows before hitting the road in Europe to promote their new album, Living Proof, which was released on June 15th.
The show was at Southside’s venue, the Rex Theater, and sold out very quickly. Three openers kicked off the night, beginning with Pittsburgh’s own Eternal Boy. They started off their set strong with high energy music and fun audience interactions. They were followed by Undesirable People, hailing from Detroit, MI. They kept the crowd moving with their heavy rock sound. Homesafe was the last opening act, but from the way the crowd was acting, one would have thought they were the headliner. From the first song to the last, people were moshing, surging, and screaming the lyrics. The three openers did a great job of getting the show started and I highly recommend checking any, or all of them, out.
The moment State Champs took the stage, the crowd exploded in a fervor of emotion. There is always a sea of crowd surfers at their shows, but due to the fact that there is no barrier at the Rex Theater, the crowd surfing led to stage diving. Derek would often reach out his hand to one of the crowd surfers and help pull them on stage. Throughout the show, the energy level never dropped. This was my sixth time seeing Champs. I have watched them grow as performers from 2015 when they opened for All Time Low at Stage AE to this past weekend when they performed three sold out shows of their own. Every time I see them they get better.
Champs opened with “Dead and Gone,” an uptempo single from their new album. They kept a good mix of old and new music on the set list, playing about the same amount of songs from The Finer Things, Around the World and Back, and Living Proof. They added an intro to “All You Are Is History,” a fan favorite, that led to what was possibly the wildest three minutes of the night. During the encore, the lights dimmed, leaving Derek alone on the stage with his acoustic guitar and slowed things down for “If I’m Lucky.” In State Champs fashion, they closed out the show with “Secrets.”
A State Champs concert is more than a show, it is an experience. The crowd helps others up when they get tackled by a stage diver, the band is amazing, and the energy in the room leaves you on a high for hours afterwards. I highly advise anyone that likes State Champs, or is looking for a high energy concert to attend, to see them the next time they come around. Thankfully, you will not have to wait for long. During their set, Derek hinted that they would be back this way during the American leg of their tour promoting Living Proof. Dates have yet to be announced, but when they are, buy a ticket and enjoy the experience.
In the meantime, you can catch State Champs on tour opening for Fall Out Boy