Knuckle Puck @ Paradise Rock Club

Knuckle Puck
featuring Homesafe, Movements, and With Confidence

November 12, 2017 @ Paradise Rock Club

By: Rachel Lipson

The Paradise Rock Club is always a crowded venue, but at Knuckle Puck’s sold out Sunday night show, you could barely see to the other side of the room. Luckily, there wasn’t much reason to look away from the stage, because this show was one to remember.

The first band to take the stage was Homesafe, hailing from Oak Lawn, Illinois and featuring Knuckle Puck’s bassist Ryan Rumchaks on vocals and guitar. The crowd was a little slow to get rowdy at first, but as the opener, it was Homesafe’s job to fix this problem. Needless to say, they succeeded. While the band only had a few scattered fans in the audience singing along, the whole crowd was jumping and rocking out before the first song, ‘Guts,’ had even finished. The band played a set that spanned most of their limited discography, and it’s rare to see a band with literally every single one of their early songs being fantastic. Fans were especially excited to hear them play ‘Mountain,’ a popular favorite from the band’s 2015 EP, Inside Your Head. There was even a special request shouted out for another song from that same EP, ‘Resolve,’ which Homesafe happily obliged. Perhaps the most visually notable part of their set was Rumchaks’s fabulous long flowing red locks, which actually became a conversation point for both the onstage banter and chatter among the crowd. Rumchaks and vocalist/bassist Tyler Albertson had some particularly great onstage bro-chemistry, and I looked forward to seeing him and his luscious mane back onstage later with Knuckle Puck.

Next up was Movements. The quartet of SoCal sadbois opened up their set with ‘Colorblind,’ the widely popular single from their new album Feel Something, which just recently came out this past October. The band played many other songs off the album and promoted it frequently, but also balanced out the set by playing some old favorites such as ‘Nineteen.’ The entire crowd sang along to that one, which blew the band away. They repeatedly expressed that they genuinely felt this was one of the best crowds they’ve played to. The band’s set was a lot heavier on emotion than the other acts of the night. Their delivery played a big factor in this, as many of their songs featured spoken word parts that gave the lyrics greater impact than singing them would have. A particularly moving moment occurred during their performance of ‘Deadly Dull,’ a song that vocalist Patrick Miranda explained was about a loved one dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. The shift in the mood was also demonstrated by the audience members. The once raucous crowd simmered down and listened intently out of respect for the band’s emotionally charged lyrics, and there was a lot more hand waving than jumping and moshing. Ultimately, they brought the energy back up by ending the set with ‘Kept,’ a single off of their last album Outgrown Things.

“Who here has heard of With Confidence?” “AHHHHHHH!!!” The small venue erupted into screams that could fill an arena as Aussie pop-punk group With Confidence ran onto the stage. Technical difficulties prevented the music from starting right away, but as soon as everything was fixed, a short-but-sweet “Hey everyone, we’re With Confidence” from vocalist/bassist Jayden Seeley launched the set into full gear as they started off with their most popular track, ‘Voldemort.’ It sounded as though every single audience member was singing along, and Seeley was quick to point out and appreciate that after the song ended. The band’s set was full of bubbly jams that put the “pop” in “pop punk,” and showcased lyrics and riffs that would take a 2008 All Time Low fan back to their roots (fangirl screams and all). Most of the songs played were from the band’s first full length album, 2016’s Better Weather. They also threw it back to a deep cut from their older EP Distance, ‘Godzilla,’ a song that many of the audience members clearly loved. The setlist was crafted skillfully, mixing in the newer songs with the old, and also presenting an opportunity to play a recent B-side release for Better Weather that came out this past summer. With Confidence’s performance was not only pleasing to listen to, but also entertaining. Lots of conversation both between band members and between the band and the audience occurred between songs, featuring jokes, crowd chants, and even a count-off for the crowd to shout an insult in unison to Seeley. The guys also paid respect to their host city by playing a snippet of ‘I’m Shipping Up To Boston’ by local favorites Dropkick Murphys.

Finally, the moment the crowd had been waiting for: Knuckle Puck. The suburban Chicago-based group didn’t hesitate at all to get the action started, launching right into ‘Gone,’ a single from their most recent release Shapeshifter. The set consisted of many new jams from this album, as well as many from the band’s last album Copacetic, such as ‘Poison Pen Letter’ and ‘Pretense.’ Some old fan favorites were thrown in as well, including ‘But Why Would You Care?’ from 2014’s While I Stay Secluded. The pit was absolutely insane — after all, it’s not a real pop punk show unless you get punched in the side or kicked in the teeth at least once. Lead vocalist Joe Taylor even took the time to mention that, while Knuckle Puck has played the Paradise many times before, this was the best time they’ve had there by far. The energy didn’t drop at all despite the late night; in fact, with the crowd singing along to every single song at the top of their lungs, it actually felt like it increased. The best part about Knuckle Puck’s live act is that all the guys seem like genuinely nice people who enjoy doing what they do. Bassist Ryan Rumchaks (onstage for the second time this night) routinely made it a point to check in on members of the crowd who looked like they were getting a little beat up in the pit, and encouraged the security staff to hand out water bottles to the crowd. Homesafe’s bassist Tyler Albertson also made a guest appearance at the end of ‘Evergreen’ and stood side by side with Taylor as they sang together, proving that the aforementioned bro-chemistry extends far beyond the confines of their own band. It was unclear whether Knuckle Puck had actually intended to play an encore, but all of the chants of “One more song!” after leaving the stage convinced them to come back out. They finished up their set with a performance of one of their earliest songs, ‘Gold Rush,’ as a tribute to their dedicated fans, and it could not have been a more perfect ending to a great show.

Authors Note: A few hours after the show concluded, news broke out that With Confidence lead guitarist Luke Rockets was the subject of allegations of sexual misconduct. With Confidence was quick to release a statement that said Rockets was no longer a part of the band and that they would no longer be on the current tour, and all of their social media icons were updated with new photos to reflect the lineup change. Knuckle Puck also released a statement saying they would continue the tour with a series of local openers to make up for the gap in the lineup.

Listen to Movements here:

Listen to With Confidence here:

Listen to Knuckle Puck here:


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