Andy Black + The Faim + Kulick @ L’Astral

Andy Black

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What do I have in common with 15-year-old girls?  Well…I prefer to text rather than speak on the phone.  That’s pretty much the end of the commonalities.  But there is one last thing:  We love music!

This show was outside my comfort zone, but I do like to go on auditory journeys, and I have to admit that the Pop Punk Genre was somewhat unknown to me.  I grew up listening to Punk and Alternative, so Pop was the enemy.  When I heard the term Pop Punk…I would just run away.

Tonight, I stopped running.  After a fascinating conversation with Sam Tye of The Faim, I do admit that I was curious about how they sounded live.

Tonight, I going to see the show with fresh young eyes and give it a chance.



Jacob Kulick was around 16 when he started his High School band “Story of Another.” His superpower, apart from a strong stage presence, is his prolific songwriting.  

I arrived a little late at the venue, but I was fortunate enough to catch the last three songs.

“Scatterbrain”, one of the newer songs was played with more punch than the iTunes version. Yes, the song sounds clean and polished, but live, it kicks it up a notch.  Jacob and his band sure know how to pump up the crowd.  

“Colors” was next, which is yet another catchy song.  I have to admit, I was starting to have fun.  

More important than how I was feeling, the crowd, which was quite young and mostly female, really seemed to get into the performance.  Gotta love that enthusiasm.  

They ended the set with “Ghost” which had a nice intensity and energy.  

Speaking with Jacob and April after their set, I had to admit that although I felt like I was a little too old for this crowd, I enjoyed the performance.  They couldn’t stick around as they had to be in Philadelphia for their next gig tomorrow, a 750km drive approximately.  

A strong opening act that surely gained some new fans tonight.

The Faim

The Faim
The Faim

The Faim are gaining traction and fans as they play throughout the US and now Canada for this tour.  Kulick opened me up to the genre, and by the time The Faim played, I was starting to get it. 

The Punk sound is what we have in common, but the Pop is where the connection seems to deepen.  This sound is more about celebrating life, than rebelling against it.  They take the energy of punk but apply a positive spin on it. 

Before the band hit the stage, there was the PA music.  Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was played, but to my surprise, no one really bothered with the song.  Then “All Star” by Smash Mouth played, and people sang along…fairly loudly. 

Shrek won over Nirvana tonight, but that’s OK.  I enjoyed looking at all the young faces enjoying the performance and unlike a Punk mosh pit, they all just joined together in dancing and simply enjoying the evening.  Anger replaced with joy…and probably some raging hormones as well.  

“Saints Of The Sinner” was the song The Faim would start with.  This song really shows where the genre can travel to. Falsettos mixed with computer robotic voices at the start, then Josh is unleashed, and the song takes on an energy of its own.  

What that a vocal hint of Billy Talent?  

The Faim

Josh Raven really shines as a front man.  He had the crowd in the palm of his hand the whole set and his energy, matched by the rest of the band was impressive.  Sam Tye would jump and strum and Stephen Beerkens would crisscross the stage with Sam, slapping his low slung bass.  

Josh took some time to sing inside the crowd and make them all feel like they were part of the performance.

The whole crowd jumped along to “I Can Feel You” which refers to fellow Australians INXS, whom I saw at a special show at the Spectrum, at the height of their career where they would normally play arenas.  

One thing I noticed, from all three bands tonight, was that arena energy distilled into L’Astral.  I can easily picture any of tonight’s bands on a much larger stage.  

“Summer Is A Curse” has all the markings of a sing along anthem.  Co-written by Ashton Irwin (5 Seconds of Summer), it seems to have hit a nerve with fans, tonight included.

They ended the set with one of my favorite songs, “Amelie.”  It may have been inspired by Audrey Tautou’s character in the 2001 movie Amélie.  It touches on the influences in our lives and how these can move us towards positivity or negativity.  

Judging from the crowd, The Faim delivered an uppercut of energy and fun that converted some new fans.

Looking forward to their next performance.

After the show, I gave Sam three packs of Tim Tam cookies (Australia) for the band to share and make the boys feel a little less homesick.  I got to taste one and the verdict:  Delicious!  

Tim Tams
Tim Tams


Saints Of The Sinners
My Heart Needs To Breathe
Beautiful Drama
When It Comes
Midland Line
A Million Stars
I Can Feel You
Make Believe
Summer Is A Curse

Andy Black

Andy Black
Andy Black

Andy may have many names (Andrew Dennis Biersack, Andy Six, Andy Black) but his calling is to be on stage performing.  You can tell that his stage presence is refined.  He would use the whole stage to deliver songs from both The Shadow Side and his latest release The Ghost of Ohio.

The crowd went absolutely mental for Andy the whole show.  It was clear that he was the draw for the crowd tonight.

Andy Black
Andy Black

Starting with “Ribcage”, Andy mesmerized the audience with his performance.

You could just feel the energy the crowd was giving back to Andy.  Song after song, they sang along, and thoroughly enjoyed every second of it.  

The crowd really went mental when Jinxx (Guitar) spoke French and translated Black Veiled Brides for Andy.  Andy jokingly said that he Jinxx did a good translation job or just insulted him!  

They played “Savior” from the BVB and the crowd ate it all up, no left-overs.

At one point, he finally noticed a banner and read:  My mom drove 12 hours for me to be here. “I hope she has a fuel-efficient car!”, he joked.  

Andy spoke about his recent 3-year anniversary with his wife (Juliet Simms) and sang “Paint It Black.    

Andy sincerely thanked the crowd for allowing him to do what he does, make music and perform for a living.

Andy Black
Andy Black

He finished the set with “Homecoming King” which had everyone swaying their hands and Jinxx played an old school guitar solo.

After Andy left the stage, the crowd chanted “Andy” over and over again to summon him back.

It worked. “Ghost Of Ohio” was played, followed by a song that who’s instructions were ignored: “We Don’t Have to Dance.”

As the lights turned on, reality crept in, and I returned to my rightful age.  I was schooled in the Pop Punk genre with Andy Black’s solo project and some up and coming bands.  

It was fun music with a ton of energy for those teenagers to let loose.  Unlike some of the dad who stuck to the back row, nursing a beer, I was much closer to the action, soaking it all in.

Andy Black SETLIST

They Don’t Need to Understand
Westwood Road
Stay Alive
Broken Pieces
Saviour (Black Veil Brides Cover)
Beyond My Reach
Beautiful Pain
Louder Than Your Love
Paint It Black
The Promise
Put the Gun Down
Homecoming King

Ghost Of Ohio
We Don’t Have to Dance

Review and crappy iPhone photos: Randal Wark is a Professional Speaker and MasterMind Facilitator with a passion for live music.  You can follow him on InstagramTwitter and YouTube.

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