A Night with Semler and Relient K


I’ve very much enjoyed getting back into the swing of live music. Freshly boosted and ready for a taste of the good old days, Jeremiah and I dropped by Paradise Rock Club in Boston to see Relient K. It is a fact universally acknowledged that Jeremiah’s favorite band is Relient K, and I get tickets every time they come around because one day, I know they won’t come around anymore. And I feel as though that day is closer than we all may realize, so I don’t want him to miss a chance to see them.

This is Relient K’s first tour since 2017, when they toured with Switchfoot as every 90s youth kid’s dream lineup. A killer show, one I will always viscerally remember. At that point, I don’t think I was writing for the site, or else you definitely would’ve heard me gush about it. But before that, I saw Relient K for the first time in the same room I saw them in just last week, for the Mmhmm 10th Anniversary Tour in 2014. Jeremiah and I weren’t together yet, so I lured a friend who could drive to take me under the guise of “You’ll get to relive your youth group days.” It all feels very full-circle.

Opening that first night was From Indian Lakes, one of my all time favorites. Opening this past show was Semler, a queer Christian artist. I won’t lie, one of the reasons I got tickets to this Relient K show was to see Semler, who I have followed on social media for a little while now. Something about a person who goes against every religious norm we were raised with, who can still sing truthfully, drew me in. When Relient K announced that Semler would be the opener, the comments on their socials were honestly awful, and I wasn’t sure how it would play out. But the night of the show, there were just as many Semler fans as Relient K fans. I bought a t-shirt, obviously.

Generally the opener is supposed to get you pumped for the main event, but by the time her set was over, there wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd. You could feel the church hurt palpably. It was like a therapy session. I fell in love.

Relient K came on not much later, opening with “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been”. They played an energetic, career-spanning set. Obviously, we couldn’t get enough. One of the things that made the show even more fun than it could have already been (if that was possible) was the audience. It really was just a bunch of us having a great time vibing and remembering how it used to be. We met up with a couple of friends and just generally danced all night. The band has as much energy as ever, and Matt Thiessen somehow hasn’t aged a day.

Noticeably (or not noticeably) missing were any tracks from Collapsible Lung, but there was a great rep from Forget and Not Slow Down, one of my top Relient K albums. They obviously played all the popular tracks and saved “Be My Escape” for last. When I first saw them, I captioned my instagram post, “It’s funny how you find you enjoy your life / When you’re happy to be alive” and it still rings true. I don’t know if I’ll have another chance to see Relient K before they finally hang it up for good, but what I do know is that they made me who I am today, and it’s always a joy to be in a room where we all have that in common.

by Nadia Alves

kiel_hauckNadia Alves has been a music enthusiast since she can remember. Going to shows is her main pastime. The other is being upset when she can’t go to shows. This is her first official venture into writing about music. You can follow her on Twitter.

Podcast: Our Favorite Bad Songs


What songs do you listen to when you switch Spotify to private mode? We all do it. So let’s talk about it! Kiel Hauck is joined by Nadia Alves and Kyle Schultz to share their deepest, darkest music secrets. The songs we love that we don’t tell our friends about. The songs that move us that we don’t share with the world. And why they mean so much to us. So what are some of our favorite “bad” songs? Take a listen and find out!

Subscribe to our Podcast on Apple or Spotify

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Farewell (For Now) to Switchfoot

In all of the crazy music news from the latter part of 2017, I feel the most bittersweet as we bid farewell (for now) to Switchfoot. Unlike other bands whose departure from the scene has been negative, Switchfoot states the need for being present in their home lives as their reason for stepping back. Finally, something admirable!

Throughout their 20 years as a band, Switchfoot have impacted both the scene and countless lives with their contribution of 10 full-length albums, three EPs and Fading West, their tour documentary. They are also a contributor to many charitable organizations, including To Write Love On Her Arms.

I have had the privilege of seeing Switchfoot live twice. I saw their Fading West tour and their latest Looking for America tour. Both of those rank on my list of best shows I’ve been to. The Looking for America tour also featured Relient K, and, quite frankly, as a kid who grew up listening to both bands, was a dream lineup. I wonder now, given this news of a hiatus, whether that was intentional – a last hurrah and nod to the golden age of Christian pop rock.

Hello Hurricane was the album that, for some reason, really drew me in. I always turn to that album as a familiar and constant musical friend. I don’t even have a favorite track; the entire album is like one long song and it feels like home. My boyfriend has been listening to Switchfoot for almost his entire life and I feel like that’s one of the things that really made us connect. He had the opportunity to see them for the first time from side stage when he was playing with a friend’s band in 2016, and he told me about what a special experience that was.

Switchfoot had the ability as a crossover band to really bring both sides of rock fandom together – those who just enjoyed their sound and Christian kids who craved something new and refreshing but didn’t know where to find it. Their songs about enjoying life and trying to find the meaning in all of it connect with people everywhere. Even if you don’t know Switchfoot, you know of Switchfoot. The broad range of people they’ve impacted is really incredible, and they used their influence to better the music scene they were in and the people around them.

I don’t know whether Switchfoot will ever come back to create new music, but I hope they realize what they and their art mean to all of us. Their musical talent and authentic lyrics are a gift. To Jon, Tim, Drew, Jerome, and Chad: Thank you.

by Nadia Paiva

kiel_hauckNadia Paiva has been a music enthusiast since she can remember. Going to shows is her main pastime. The other is being upset when she can’t go to shows. This is her first official venture into writing about music. You can follow her on Twitter.

Relient K Turn to the Bright on “MMHMM” Anniversary Tour


Staying positive isn’t something that comes easy for many of us. Those that struggle to stay on the up and up know how important it is to have encouraging friends by their side. Not necessarily the obnoxious type of optimist who ignores life’s struggles, but the kind of friend who can see how those trials might bring about something good.

Relient K have long been that friend to the pop punk community – one often rife with negativity and pessimism. Instead of focusing on constant unconstructive cynicism, Relient K have made a career out of looking on the bright side and fighting for hope and joy in a broken world. This year marks a decade since the release of one of the most affirming and hopeful records to come out of this scene – MMHMM.

Of course the band celebrated with an anniversary tour and of course people arrived in droves to see the spectacle and sing along. However, there’s something unique about this particular anniversary tour. Something uniquely Relient K.

For many in attendance during the band’s recent trek, MMHMM serves as a beacon of light; an encouraging reminder that everything is going to be alright. The whole album seethes hope amidst pain and frustration. Just listen to the words on tracks like “More than Useless” or “High of 75”. Even songs that focus on the pain itself, like “I So Hate Consequences” and “Let it all Out”, end by looking toward a better tomorrow. To gather in community to sing these songs aloud again is a reminder to live in that hope.

But the members of Relient K aren’t immune to defeat and frustration. They’ve all spent the last decade battling through pain and disappointment, dealing with break-ups, and wrestling with life’s uncertainties. It’s one thing to sing these songs with confidence in your early 20s, it’s another thing to still live in such confidence after 10 years of taking life’s haymakers on the chin.

When Matt Theissen takes the stage in Indianapolis, he admits to battling several days of the stomach flu and apologizes if his performance lacks spark. The bug appeared to have little effect. In fact, the entire band’s set was full of life. From the opening chords of “The One I’m Waiting For” until the final uplifting notes of “When I Go Down”, the band plays to full tilt and everyone in attendance bounces and sings along to every word.

This tour is especially exciting as it includes the band’s reunion with former drummer Dave Douglas – a fan favorite and the only proper person to man the skins at such an event. Seeing Theissen, Douglas and guitarist Matt Hoopes grace the stage together again is a sight for sore eyes and makes performances of songs like “Be My Escape” and “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been” that much more special.

It’s the next to last stop on the tour and it’s obvious that the band is fighting through exhaustion, both from illness and road weariness. You don’t notice it in the performance, but it can be witnessed between songs if you look close enough. In a way, it oddly mirrors the battle-for-joy sentiment that bleeds throughout the entirety of MMHMM. Even a decade worth of life later, the band still deems it worthy to fight this good fight. Many of us in the crowd have used these songs to spur us forward in our own moments of weakness.

Relient K have spent over 15 years as a punk band despite so starkly differing from what many deem to be “punk.” Whether it be the nerdy songs about school dances, the underlying Christian themes in their songs, or the upbeat hints of happiness that run throughout their discography, Relient K certainly did things their own, unique way.

MMHMM will always stand as the band’s defining album. It’s a polished, nearly perfect pop punk album that excels on nearly every level and never fails to uplift. Even the album artwork, featuring a lone blooming flower on a cloudy day, speaks to something deeper. It’s a reminder that there is hope. Ten years later, you get the feeling that the band still believes that sentiment. It’s refreshing, but it’s also a reminder to cling to hope whenever and wherever you find it.

Maybe that’s what makes this anniversary tour so special. It’s not just about a timeless album – it’s about remembering a timeless truth.

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Relient K announce MMHMM 10th anniversary tour


To the delight of nearly every pop punk fan, Relient K will be embarking on a 10th anniversary tour in celebration of their 2004 release MMHMM. The band will be taking Blondfire and From Indian Lakes as support. You can see the dates below and get more information at the band’s website.


10/30/14 Louisville, KY Mercury Ballroom
10/31/14 Cincinnati, OH Bogarts
11/01/14 Chicago, IL House of Blues
11/02/14 Minneapolis, MN Mill City Nights
11/04/14 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall
11/05/14 Salt Lake City, UT Complex
11/07/14 Seattle, WA Neptune
11/08/14 Portland, OR Roseland
11/09/14 Sacramento, CA Assembly
11/11/14 San Francisco, CA Slim’s
11/12/14 West Hollywood, CA House of Blues
11/13/14 San Diego, CA House of Blues
11/14/14 Pomona, CA Glasshouse
11/15/14 Las Vegas, NV Hard Rock
11/16/14 Phoenix, AZ Nile Theater
11/18/14 Tulsa, OK Cain’s
11/19/14 Dallas, TX House of Blues
11/20/14 Austin, TX Emo’s
11/21/14 Houston, TX House of Blues
11/22/14 New Orleans, LA House of Blues
11/24/14 Jacksonville, FL Freebird Live
11/25/14 Orlando, FL House of Blues
11/26/14 Atlanta, GA Masquerade
11/28/14 Charlotte, NC Fillmore
11/29/14 Saxapahaw, NC Haw River Ballroom
11/30/14 Silver Spring, MD Fillmore
12/02/14 Philadelphia, PA TLA
12/03/14 Boston, MA Paradise
12/04/14 New York, NY Gramercy
12/05/14 Pittsburgh, PA Altar Bar
12/06/14 Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall
12/09/14 Grand Rapids, MI Intersection
12/10/14 Detroit, MI St. Andrew’s Hall
12/11/14 Indianapolis, IN Deluxe
12/12/14 Nashville, TN Cannery Ballroom

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Relient K release new version of “Sadie Hawkins Dance”, tease tour


As part of a recent Gotee Records release, celebrating the label’s 20th anniversary, Relient K has re-recorded their hit song “Sadie Hawkins Dance”. The new version of the song can be heard below:

Also, the band appears to be on the verge of announcing a big tour – could it possibly be a 10 year anniversary tour for their album MMHMM? The tweet below seems to suggest so:


Posted by Kiel Hauck

10 Classic Christmas Songs by Bands in the Punk Scene


It’s officially December and you know what that means – time for Christmas music! We decided to dig up some of our all time favorite Christmas songs by bands in the punk scene to help make your holiday a little bit brighter and a lot more fun. Feel free to share with us what your favorite Christmas renditions are in the replies!

1. Copeland – Do You Hear What I Hear?

Aaron Marsh was born to sing these kinds of songs. His vocals are absolutely bananas on this rendition of a Christmas classic. The song truly sounds like Copeland to the core and Marsh manages to pour all of his emotion into this performance. Incredible.

2. Saosin – Mookie’s Last Christmas

Nothing like an extremely sad Christmas song about the loss of a loved one to lift your spirits. Regardless, this Anthony Green-era Saosin is a Christmas staple in the scene and is so good, you can listen to it any time of the year.

3. Acceptance – So This is Christmas (War is Over)

We promise, we won’t use this as another excuse to long for a band that broke up much too soon. Jason Vena’s voice is excellent and perfectly suited for this somber Christmas song. Too bad the band couldn’t have provided a full album’s worth of holiday jingles before they hung it up.

4. Relient K – Sleigh Ride

This is truly a band that loves everything about Christmas. Don’t believe us? Check out their full-to-the-brim Christmas album Let it Snow Baby, Let it Reindeer. This may be the best of the bunch – fun, lighthearted and a cool twist on the original.

5. Eisley – The Winter Song

Eisley is another band that has released a slew of Christmas songs, but this first one stands out for the haunting vocals of Sherri DuPree-Bemis. The song captures the feeling of a Christmas night, walking along the streets in the snow. It’s perfect in its melancholy delivery.

6. Cartel – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

A true Cartel rendition of a rockin’ Christmas original. Will Pugh kills this song and proves why he’s one of the best in the business. The peppy upbeat feel makes you want to get up and dance.

7. August Burns Red – Home Alone Theme

August Burns Red continue their tradition of serving up metalcore instrumentals of some of our favorite Christmas classics, this time in the form of a John Williams cover. It’s a brutal, guitar-filled ride conjuring up memories of that creepy dude with the snow shovel outside Kevin’s house who turned out to be a pretty decent guy.

8. Fall Out Boy – Yule Shoot Your Eye Out

It’s not quite what you’d expect from a Fall Out Boy Christmas song, which is what makes it so brilliant. It’s an original acoustic track with a painful yet catchy chorus and features the wonderful vocal work of Patrick Stump.

9. Anberlin – Baby, Please Come Home

If Anberlin where to cover a Christmas song, this is exactly what it would sound like. That’s not a bad thing – in fact, Stephen Christian has the perfect voice for this song’s belted “Christmas” refrain and the band delivers a gift of a song.

10. Mae – Carol of the Bells

In what turned out to be a beautiful decision, Mae recreated this Christmas classic with only their instruments and a few backing vocals. It’s mellow, soft and full of surprises. From start to finish, this rendition is just about as good as they come.

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.