State Champs, Leeds Beckett University

Overseeing a gig is all well and good but being told pre-rock and roll that fans may tumble over into the photo pit? It’s a feeling of excitement yet intense nerves…

That happened when I went to see State Champs in action.

State Champs, Leeds Beckett University, 17/05/22.
Image credit: Daniel Caddick

Originating from Albany, New York, this American outfit have recently followed through on their fans’ wishes for a new album and a supporting tour. After releasing their newest record, ‘Kings of the New Age’, and sparking quite the inner fire within their fanbase, you could visibly grasp how much this concert meant to the band and those who turned out to see them.

State Champs, Leeds Beckett University, 17/05/22.
Image credit: Daniel Caddick

Excelling at a top-tier level and united in the spotlight, State Champs formed quite the queue outside while fans eagerly waited for their tickets to be checked. A straight-up sprint to the standing area ensued.

The night of pure head-banging was kicked off by the first artist, Between You & Me, who were a perfect booking for the occasion. It was then chased up by Heart Attack Man, who were a gripping and suiting support for the headliner. Without a doubt, between them, they got the crowd warmed up.

State Champs put a full stop on many statements, however, they really did prove that anyone can pull off guitar-driven rock. Whether you’re Australian like The Chats or even like The Gulps, who contain musicians from all around Europe, there’s an aspiration and appreciation for what State Champs do genre-wise. The American way of sticky-floor rock has never departed and this gig evidenced that it shows no signs of doing so.

‘Kings of the New Age’ is State Champs’ newest and most brightening LP to date, and this tour piggybacked on its release. Naturally, the set gave total insight into how the studio album sounded live in front of a crowd, too. A point to place extra emphasis on after the COVID-19 trough.

State Champs, Leeds Beckett University, 17/05/22.
Image credit: Daniel Caddick

But the fresher material wasn’t all they delivered — this was the setlist in full:

  • ‘Here To Stay’
  • ‘Eventually’
  • ‘Frozen’
  • ‘Outta My Head’
  • ‘Hard to Please’
  • ‘Mine Is Gold’
  • ‘Act Like That’
  • ‘Simple Existence’
  • ‘Remedy’
  • ‘Easy Enough’
  • ‘Criminal’
  • ‘Just Sound’
  • ‘Losing Myself’
  • ‘Slow Burn’
  • ‘All You Are Is History’
  • ‘Everybody but You’
  • ‘Dead and Gone’
  • Encore:
  • ‘Elevated’
  • ‘Secrets’

This gig was heavily exciting throughout; a constant, uninterrupted pace made for an enthralling experience for not only the bodies in the room but the photographers like myself.

Massive props to Jake Camp and the production team with the lighting techniques and colour schemes they went for throughout the set, too. Perhaps the most impressive lighting I’ve seen at a gig of that size so far.

I send my thanks to State Champs for this one and I hope to see a return to the UK for the stars soon.


Guest gig review contributed by Daniel Caddick

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