From Ashes To New Perform in New Jersey – Starland Ballroom Concert Review 11/25/23

Written by on January 23, 2024

Ten years later, rap rock band From Ashes to New has concluded the Blackout Tour Part 1, starring their new album Blackout. Joining them on the tour are Texas natives Catch Your Breath, metalcore rock group The Word Alive, and DJ rap-rock artist Ekoh. On November 25, 2023, Program Director Lara Ziccardi headed down to Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ, to catch her breath and watch the show.

Starting with the first opener, Ekoh was an interesting character. He’s an indie rapper from Las Vegas, Nevada, with a strong appearance similar to Machine Gun Kelly. I kept asking myself and fellow photographers if we were being punked and Megan Fox would come on stage. Listening to his set, I think his style takes influences from Eminem, Machine Gun Kelly and Rage Against The Machine. His style takes an interesting spin on rap in rock, perhaps due to these influences, and presents a unique style through this expression. Towards the end of his set, he asked the crowd to throw their shoes on the stage and signed them. I’m not going to lie, I really thought about throwing my right shoe up there just for fun! But I didn’t want to have my dogs out in Starland Ballroom. To those who got their shoe signed, I hope the Sharpie doesn’t come off!

Catch Your Breath is a metalcore rock band from Austin, Texas. The four-piece had some great songs and a good stage presence! During their third song, they brought Ekoh back out on stage for their collaborated song “Mirror.” I absolutely love it when artists bring out singers from the previous openers. One of my favorite photos I took from this band was of the bassist, Cianan Madigan. In the photo, he’s looking straight at my camera while playing his bass, and his bandmates are in the back. When I saw Motionless In White, the band brought out the singers from Alpha Wolf, After The Burial, and Knocked Loose (If you want to see photos from that night, you can check them out here)!

Catch Your Breath released their debut album on October 20, 2023, along with a bunch of singles, a top song being “Dial Tone.” I’m looking forward to seeing what they do next!

Moving right down the lineup at number three is The Word Alive. Since being in the scene in 2008, they’ve released seven albums, with Hard Reset being their most recent release. I loved taking photos of all the bands that night, but these guys were cool.

The Word Alive also has a great stage presence – I really enjoyed how energetic they were. According to Apple Music, their top song is “RISE” from the video game League of Legends, and the second top song is “Trapped” from their 2016 album release. Escape the Fate frontman Craig Mabbitt founded the group alongside guitarists Zack Hansen and Tony Pizzuti in 2008. As of today, Tyler Smith has held the role of lead vocals since 2008.

When I first heard From Ashes to New, I recognized that they took a lot of inspiration from Linkin Park. Just our neighbors from Lancaster, PA, Ashes has a way of blending rap and rock into their own style. While I’m not too into rap, I appreciate their great stage presence- they really know how to work the stage.

From taking photos and watching their set, you can tell that these guys love what they do and adore their fans. At one point, some people in the crowd got a little frisky and were asked to leave. This caught the attention of vocalist Danny Case. He told the crowd that by walking through these doors that we’re all a family and here to have a good time – and that fighting will not be tolerated. Case’s words have really stuck with me from that point on because he is absolutely right- No matter who you are or where you come from, music is such a special way to connect with people. What I also loved about Ashes was their fans. Some of my favorite photos from that night were of crowd surfers and even the crowd. I loved their livelihood of them along with their energy: both the band and the crowd were just so excited to be there.

Overall, The Blackout Tour Part 1 was great! The lineup of bands fit the cohesive vibe of the tour and the headliner and, of course, I love the venue. Hopefully From Ashes to New will be announcing The Blackout Tour Part 2 soon!