In Review: State Champs Exceed Champ-Level Expectations

This year’s Alternative Press Music Awards Breakthrough Band winners closed out the Vans Warped Tour at its Tinley Park stop Saturday, July 23.

The festival day was a grueling, humid and 90-degree one, featuring artists from The Story So Far to Yellowcard. But less-than-ideal weather circumstances sacrificed neither excitement for, nor dedication to, seeing pop-punk group State Champs take the stage.

Filing on stage one by one, lead singer Derek DiScanio brings up the rear before they dive into “Shape Up”, an easy way to pump up any potentially worn crowd. Not even nine hours in the heat could stop this audience from reciprocating the vigor exerted by the band.

The same caliber of liveliness ensues, as State Champs tear through well-adored tracks from their most recent album, Around the World and Back, including “Perfect Score” and a favorite scream-along anthem, “All You Are Is History”.

Not to be forgotten are older tunes, like “Elevated” and “Simple Existence”. Another older song, “Remedy” had to be cut, as dark clouds settled above the stage and lightning in the distance called for a slightly shortened set. But unless you have the tour setlist memorized like myself, it is hardly a noticeable disappointment when compared to the electric delivery of the rest of their performance.

State Champs at Tinley Park (via Alyssa O'Brenski)
State Champs at Tinley Park (Alyssa O’Brenski/photo)

Secrets to Performative Success

Pounding melodies in each State Champs song are executed by both their instruments and high-energy movement onstage. DiScanio is hardly ever in one place for more than a few chords at a time, keeping the crowd and the band as hyped as possible the entire way through. Things close out with the first single released from Around the World and Back, titled “Secrets”.

Even following sets such as Good Charlotte and Sum41, who fulfilled all the angsty needs of my adolescence, State Champs were easily a favorite of the day. They proved their breakthrough artist title by effortlessly rejuvenating this festival’s vitality. It was a set I desperately wanted to revisit and experience again, as I searched for my car in the vastly dense Warped parking lot with ringing ears. Until next time, Festival Champs.

Alyssa O'Brenski

Southwest-suburb born and raised, and attending University of Iowa. Chicago, its sports, and an infinite amount of music are a few things I can't get enough of.

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