It’s Knuckle Puck Time: Setting Sights for What’s to Come!

It’s Knuckle Puck Time: Setting Sights for What’s to Come!

Knuckle Puck embarks on their new 2018 tour starting in the Northwestern Suburbs of Chicago, IL.
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“We’ll never stop making music that we love and means something to us.” This was probably the most compelling conversational-line Joe Taylor shared with the audience for the start of the group’s U.S. and European tour last Thursday, March 8th. After a lively set of 17-curated tracks, the band left the stage with a hungry crowd asking for more. Luckily enough, they returned for one more song, “Twist,” the second track off of the group’s newest release, Shapeshifter.

If there’s one thing this group has done, they’ve left a powerful statement that “pop punk still [lives] after 2009.” And I’ll be quite honest with you; this band isn’t just pop punk. They have a variety of aspects in their sound – chill creating melodies, dual guitar precision, non-stop energy, but most importantly they have true rock roots. In the grand scheme, this doesn’t matter – it’s more so my perception and listening ear of the group (which as of late, has been daily).

Since the release of Shapeshifter this past October, I’ve managed to catch these five great musicians on three different occasions: Riot Fest, The Metro and now, Durty Nellie’s. The remarkable feat for this group is their ability to improve exponentially, every time. It’s not five guys on stage trying to keep up with each other and figure out leads, intros, and improvisation – this group knows each other so well, eye contact is an afterthought. Knuckle Puck’s members know each move, each sound and most importantly their audience.

Let's think about this for a second: how well does the audience know what the band is singing about? After looking at the setlist from the evening, you’ve got 18 songs which glide across Shapeshifter, Copacetic, While I Stay Secluded, and The Weight You Buried. As guitarist Kevin Maida puts it, “we would like people who listen to our band to delve deeper and figure out what we’re trying to say.” If there’s one thing I’ve lacked thus far with this group, it’s this very suggestion from Maida. Do I think the audience is as dedicated to the lyrical value and integrity? Perhaps – but it’s something that many concert-goers today tend to lack – the work, the sweat, the headaches, the stories which craft these pieces of music which we all grow to love so much.

After performances by Jetty Bones, Hot Mulligan, Free Throw and Boston Manor, Knuckle Puck arrived on stage, smiles blazing on their faces, with colored screens ready, amps on and a full backdrop from their recent album, Shapeshifter. The audience was as prepared as ever, and the first strum of the guitar to open with “Double Helix” ignited everyone in an instant charge forward to the stage. The energy was electric and contagious from wall-to-wall. If anything was more apparent than that energy, it was the delight in the eyes of Joe Taylor (lead vocal), Kevin Maida (lead guitar), John Siorek (drums, percussion), Nick Cassanto (rhythm guitar and backup vocal) and Ryan Rumchaks (bass). It was the start of a new and exciting 2018 tour, with spring right around the corner and most importantly kicking it off in their home state, Illinois. They aren’t “nervous passengers,” but instead commanders of their destiny ahead.

Cover Image Credit: Michael Kocourek

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9 Reasons You're Still In Love With Tim Riggins In 2019

Clear eyes. Full hearts.
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If you're a Friday Night Lights fan, you know very well who Tim Riggins is. And if you've never seen the show, he's basically just the bad boy football star and sensitive hottie of your dreams, all wrapped into one heart-throbbing package. If you haven't already fallen under the Tim Riggins spell, you're about to...


1. He's the star running back of the Dillon Panthers.

Basically every girl who has walked this earth has fantasized about having that cliche football relationship. No shame. #33 on the field, #1 in my heart.

2. He's actually really sensitive.

Tim Riggins may seem hard and dysfunctional on the outside, but he's really just a big softie. He's no JD McCoy, who grew up lavishly and extremely fortunate; Tim had a rough upbringing. He and his brother, Billy, had to work hard all by themselves just to stay above water, which is most likely what keeps him so grounded and humbled.

3. He loves kids.

Tim didn't even think twice about taking his neighbor under his wing when he moved in next door. And for some reason, there's just somethin' about cute boys holding babies that makes us girls swoon.

4. He's genuine and honest.

Sure, maybe he took advantage of his football-star status and slept with most of the rally girls, but once he fell in love with Lyla we saw his compassionate side. (You probably envied Lyla and maybe even hated her for a while because of it...I know I did.)

5. He knows how to have a good time.

It's 5 o'clock somewhere.

6. He's a family man.

Tim took the blame for his brother's crime and went to prison for it...if that's not loyalty then I don't know what is.

7. He's affectionate.

If you either hate Lyla or you want to be Lyla or a combination of the both, you are not alone.

8. He's protective.

Probably the only time you've ever wanted to be in a tornado was when you watched the episode where he shielded Julie from flying debris.

9. He's beautiful.

You're welcome for blessing you with this GIF.

May you all find your own Tim Riggins. Amen.

Cover Image Credit: whereshewanders.com

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4 Books You Should Read This Summer Even If You Don’t Like To Read

Even if you don't like to read, I'm pretty sure you will like these books.

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I get it, sometimes I also need to be in the mood to sit down and read. However, give these four books a chance to make you fall in love with reading. I believe that we don't like the idea of reading because we were forced to read in our high school AP Literature classes and read tons of readings for our college courses. You just need to pick the right books to read.

1. “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini

I've read this book three times, and it never failed to make me cry. Hosseini is such a brilliant author who is able to incorporate bits of history that make you feel like you're a bystander watching the story unravel in Afghanistan.

It provides a glimpse into how two women are able to empower themselves despite the inhumane treatment of women during that time. Never before has a book made my emotions so unstable in the span of a single chapter. I would recommend this book for everyone - it is definitely a must-read.

2. “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes

Not only do I love "Grey's Anatomy," but I also love this book. Shonda Rhimes writes about her life - all the struggles she endured, the fear she had, and the lessons she learned when she simply said, "Yes." She provides such an intimate look into her life as a hugely successful television executive producer and writer.

This book is filled with a myriad of lessons that she learned the hard way and chose to share with the general public. I would recommend this book for introverts, especially those who are afraid to say, "Yes."

3. “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi

In Paul Kalanithi's posthumous autobiographical memoir, you cannot help but fall in love with who Kalanithi was and what he did during his short life. Although he lost to the battle of lung cancer, he lived his life fully as a neurosurgeon, husband, and father.

I would recommend this book for everyone, but especially for pre-medical students who are feeling defeated by the adversities that come with being a pre-med student.

4. “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

The word "classic" may make you feel a bit uncomfortable, but fear not, this novel will captivate you with the cheesy, yet heart-throbbing romance that is so excellently delivered in Austen's novel. It may be a bit difficult to get through at first, but give it a chance.

With such brilliant character and relationship development, the book will make you a "fool in love."

These are some of my favorite books that are arguably easy to read, so give them a try!

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