Electric Callboy – September 15, 2023 – Palladium Times Square, New York, NYSaturday, 23rd September 2023
You know what metal shows need more of? FUN! With a very firm history of extreme music concerts in my backpocket, which I absolutely love, increasingly over the last few years I’ve longed for something different when I go to a show. I’m getting older (and weaker – thanks HRT) so I’m not exactly thrilled to jump in the center of a moshpit, because at this point, I’m probably going to be regretting it the next morning…if not instantly. So it’s definitely trackable on this very website that my concerts have taken a shift away from the more ‘brutal,’ for lack of a better word. Having been itching to get to a Conquer Divide show for a few years at this point but not being able to pull the trigger properly, and given a nudge to check out Electric Callboy over the summer, I dove into their latest release which they are touring for, Tekkno. Full of incredibly goofy lyrics and wild genre shifting, I was pretty much sold on the concept and the first thing I could think of was how much fun it would have to be live. Unsurprisingly, many share the same opinion and the band’s entire US run was sold out – and for good reason. It’s just as entertaining live (if not moreso) as it is on the recording.
In an ever-increasingly packed Palladium, Conquer Divide was the first band to grace the stage. They hit the ground running with “Atonement,” the first of four cuts from their recently released and excellent sophomore album Slow Burn. Vocalist Kiarely Castillo and bassist/screamer Janel Duarte stood front and center of the stage did a lot of interacting with each other and the crowd, not to mention zipping over to the edges of the stage for interactions with guitarists Kristen Sturgis and Izzy Johnson. The band was seemingly all smiles, yet their frantic metalcore still brought plenty of heaviness (perhaps even more so than the recordings would predict). Duarte commanded these heavier moments, ordering the crowd to commence a wall of death at one point, to which the audience certainly obliged them.
Two older songs from their 2015 debut, “Eyes Wide Shut” and “Nightmares,” were a welcome addition, with the latter closing the set with maximum crowd participation – culminating the repeated inciting of the band’s circle pits, jumping, arm swaying, and clapping that left the crowd more than ready for the two acts to come. If a short 30-minutes was not enough, the band is still out on the road, this time with Icon for Hire, and they’re bound to pick up quite a few new fans with an energetic set like this one was.
Of the three acts, the one I personally had the least exposure to was that of Solence. But sometimes that’s a good thing, as was the case here when it became a welcome surprise. The band’s upbeat and ‘party’ sensibilities fully intact, coming out in all-white jumpsuits and all sorts of ‘good vibes,’ the crowd instantly took to them. Much like Electric Callboy would do with their set, Solence was all about having a good time on stage and that was an infectious feeling. With songs like “Banger a Day Keeps the Doctor Away” and “Fuck the Bad Vibes” you can start to get a good impression of what the band is going for with massive grooves and catchy choruses.
Vocalist Markus Videsater was a ball of energy on stage, as were the rest of the group, inviting the crowd to sing along to a number of the songs (as well as teaching the words beforehand) and even having everyone get down on the ground at one point before rising up to dance. For their first US tour, it was very impressive how the crowd instantly loved them, and they kept things moving for nine songs at full-tilt. While it’s probably not something I’d listen to much outside of a live experience, it was a really fun set that made it easy to keep the energy going from Conquer Divide.
Clearly the crowd was primed by the time that Electic Callboy made their way to the stage, and they instantly took off and ran with it. A set that saw them playing almost all of Tekkno in its entirety, as well as some older cuts and fun covers. Starting off with an amusing video before “Tekkno Train” started it all, with the crowd all but erupting as the equally danceable/moshable act grooved and moved their way about the stage. Utilizing two vocalists can always lead to more on-stage energy if used properly, and this was definitely a weapon the band used in their arsenal. Fun and energetic is the only way to describe their live performance, as it’s clearly the music is very much serious but their vibes are entirely ‘go with the flow’ and trying to find ways to really maximize and feed off of the crowd’s energy. The crowd was a more than willing participant for all of the band’s antics, further evidenced by the passionate reaction to their latest single, the cover of “Everytime We Touch,” featuring everything from singing along and dancing to copious amounts of pushing and moshing as the song’s heaviness grew.
A break from the heavy (in both moshing and dancing) came in the form of a brief medley of Frozen‘s “Let it Go” and Backstreet Boys’ “I Want it That Way” played with acoustic guitar and keys. A riot to see more metallic-clad fans (which was only a portion of a very diverse crowd) singing and clapping along – and you know why? Because it was FUN! On a few occasions the band actually changed their outfits, donning some wigs and even more wild clothes for tracks like “Pump It,” and “We’ve Got the Moves.” A later highlight being Kiarely Castillo’s return to the stage for the song “Fuckboi” and she again impressed with her vocals and ability to work over the crowd and engage, this time, with the members of Electric Callboy.
Speaking of guest appearances, as it was the last date in the tour run, the members of both Conquer Divide and Solence returned to the stage for the final song “We’ve Got the Moves,” giving the song an even stronger dance party vibe as all three acts gave it one last hurrah before ending things for the night. All the acts were super appreciative of each other, with Electric Callboy being rather emotional and thankful for the ability to come back to the States after such a long absence and play a string of sold out shows. But it was not a complete goodbye, with the band announcing plans for a return in 2024. So if you missed out on them this time, which is entirely possible given how fast the shows sold out, it’s strongly encouraged that you plan ahead for next year once something more official is mentioned. If you want something that’s heavy and uplifing, letting you move those dance muscles as well as your moshing ones – it’s hard to beat what the three bands did here tonight.