State Champs Concert Review 12/7/23

Written by on December 29, 2023

Review by Amber Bintliff 

On December 7, 2023, State Champs celebrated the 10 year anniversary of their debut album The Finer Things with the first of three shows at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City. Consisting of lead singer Derek DiScanio, guitarist Tyler Szalkowski, bassist Ryan Scott Graham, and drummer Evan Ambrosio, State Champs have been a driving force of the pop-punk genre since their formation in 2010. I’ve been a fan of the band since roughly 2017 and to see their very first album that I love so dearly live in full was such a special experience for me. I ended up arriving about 20 minutes before doors opened and managed to say hi to Ryan as he came out to greet fans in line with a video camera in hand.

The night began with opening act Pollyanna, a New Jersey pop-punk and grunge inspired band who I had only heard of a few days before the show. Their set was a fun and energetic way to kick off the night and get the crowd hyped for the rest of the show. One song they performed off their debut record titled “Smile” was my personal favorite of the set and got most of the crowd jumping and dancing around.

The second State Champs came on stage, people already had a ton of energy. Since this was a no barricade show, a lot of people began to crowd surf and even dive from the stage back into the crowd not even 20 seconds after the song began. Derek is an incredibly high-energy performer and always knows how to keep the crowd going all night long. “Elevated” will forever and always be one of the best opening songs I’ve seen live at a show. They played all 11 tracks from The Finer Things, with “Simple Existence” and “Easy Enough” being my absolute favorites.

“Simple Existence” has always been in my top five State Champs songs ever, so getting to hear it live and sing-along at the top of my lungs felt awesome. The same also applies to “Easy Enough,” which concluded the portion of the evening dedicated to the album.

The next half of the show was spent playing fan favorites from the band’s other three records. This is where things got a little crazy for me (in the best way). I saw State Champs back in 2022 on their Sad Summer Fest run, and was devastated when “Eventually,”  my favorite song from their latest record at the time, was sadly not played at my show. So, imagine my excitement when I saw that it on the setlist and I finally got to hear it live!

“Everybody But You” concluded the hour and 20 minute long set and gave the crowd a chance to really go wild for one last hurrah of the concert.

I ended the night with two guitar picks from Tyler and a printed setlist which I am incredibly grateful for. Overall, this show was epic and may even be making its way into my top ten favorite shows of all time (out of 44)! If there’s one thing State Champs knows how to do, it’s put on an insane, energetic show and make it look easy.