The Vanguard Sells Out for “At Your Own Risk” Release Show

Last night, Saturday, November 16, five local bands sold out the Vanguard in Tulsa. The bands gathered to celebrate the release of Cliffdiver’s second EP, At Your Own Risk, and found themselves playing to a packed room with 400+ people.

The night started with Hazelwave. For the band’s first performance, it was fairly impressive. With their enthusiastic sound and booming instruments, Hazelwave instilled excitement into those already on the floor and entertained those still in line, waiting for will-call tickets.

Second was Rose Gold. Known for their melodic tracks and screamed poetry, the band put on an invigorating show complete with rage and moshing fans. Their songs put the audience in the mood for crowd surfing, apparently, as several dove off of the stage into the mess of people on the floor. Rose Gold played to a sea of risen arms attached to head-bobbing and jumping fans while brave souls launched themselves in the air in a display of trust and adrenaline, riding the excitement for as long as possible.

Ben Quad played third. This group is notoriously fun and upbeat. Every performance is paired with some sort of comedic skit – in this case, they made jokes, sang a line from “Don’t Trust Me” by 3OH!3, launched into the first verse of “All Star” by Smash Mouth, and had everyone participate in a “team leadership building exercise.” (Everyone was supposed to say three nice things to the person beside them – and “you’re nice” or complimenting their clothes didn’t count.)

Comedy aside, Ben Quad played their tunes about mental health with their uniquely upbeat twist. Rather than simply singing about the struggles of mental illness, they performed songs that embrace the aspect of moving-on and leaving the past. The four had an incredible onstage presence that only enhanced their vibrant and interactive performance.

The Classless went next. The epitome of a pop-punk band, The Classless had the crowd singing and dancing along from start to finish. Their performance was exhilarating and their music, intoxicating. The band sounded experienced and put-together, lacking the pause for tuning and technical difficulties that the earlier bands shared.

Whether they were playing songs off of their latest EP, Try Not to Panic, Pt. 2, or older songs, they had the whole audience enthralled by their music. Even those unfamiliar with The Classless were able to participate when the group’s cover of Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” began, causing everyone to revisit their angst-y-teen-girl side.

Then came Cliffdiver. The excitement for this band was tangible, bubbling in the crowd as people waited with bated breath for the band that brought them there. The cheers began while members were still setting up as a reminder of their love and support.

When it was time for the five to begin their set, the whole room shifted to the front, squeezing those at the stage while they belted out lyrics and voiced their approval. A range of emotions was felt throughout the next hour or so as Cliffdiver performed their entire catalog – both Small Hours and At Your Own Risk were played through entirely.

It has been said before that this band can make you feel every emotion under the sun, and last night was no exception. One minute, you’re crying to “Alone in Your Apartment” and stressing to “Satan Parked My Car,” and the next, you’re bellowing, “I know I’m good enough – enough for anyone – and finally, myself.”

Every verse, every sax solo, every note escaping the instruments onstage; it was enough to both bring a person to tears and to restore hope in the hopeless.

Cliffdiver filmed a live music video last night, as well; so, for those who attended, be prepared to soon see yourselves in the throes of a concert high while the band plays “Lost in Ikea.”

Check out Hazelwave, Rose Gold, Ben Quad, The Classless, and Cliffdiver on all social media and music streaming sites.

Cliffdiver Premieres “At Your Own Risk”

Today, November 8, Cliffdiver premiered their second EP, At Your Own Risk.

The band previously released two singles off of the collection: “Cameron Diaz” on October 4 and “Are You Still Seeing Graig, the Orthodontist?” a month later, on November 1.

Both songs received great reception; multiple publications covered the songs (including The Alternative) and “Are You Still Seeing Graig, the Orthodontist?” was added to the spotify playlist, New Punk Tracks.

At Your Own Risk consists of five songs. Beginning with “Elwood’s” and ending with “Lost in Ikea,” something of a story arc is formed. It starts with hitting rock bottom, expressing your darkest thoughts, and then delves into details of some of the most prominent ones. By the end, however, help is sought. Things start to be “alright.”

Cliffdiver has become a poster-band for depression, bringing mental health resources to their concerts and welcoming open dialogue from their fans, and it’s not surprising to see that reflected in the EP.

The group has been open about their themes since they started promoting the EP. Little tidbits of information have been revealed on their Facebook and Twitter – like:

“Two of [the songs] have never been played live,” says the band.

Cliffdiver revealed part of their writing process and some meanings behind their songs back in May in our interview, but the message is fairly straightforward. The EP is about the process of accepting your mental illness and seeking help.

“Elwood’s” starts the EP on that low note. With talk of drinking and “not [being] good enough – not for anyone, especially myself,” emotional turmoil is evident. This is a song that will tug at your heartstrings and make your chest constrict as you relate to the seemingly hopelessness of the lyrics.

The song goes into a soliloquy discussing how [he] always blamed someone else because it was easier to do that than to accept [his] problems. [He] never felt capable of changing.

However, the song foreshadows a happy ending. Mentioning getting a therapist and some sleep, the song ends on a hopeful note.

Their latest single, “Are You Still Seeing Graig, the Orthodontist?” follows. The track is more upbeat than the other one; set over the sounds of a party, the song seems to denote being in a room full of friends and feeling alone, lost in a fit of anxiety.

Third is “Alone in Your Apartment.” With loss and frustration and the passing of blame, the song is yet another tearjerker – an emotional roller-coaster that spins and sputters.

“Cameron Diaz” acts as a turning point. It serves as a reflection; it’s the moment where you realize that you’re not okay, but you can be.

Finally, “Lost in Ikea” ends the EP. The song that ties the whole collection together, it brings more than just hope; it brings acceptance. Rather than changing and giving in to the awful thoughts, “Lost in Ikea” is about slowly realizing that “[you’re] good enough, enough for anyone, and finally, [your]self.”

The final song brings aspects and lyrics from the former ones like repeating “everything’s alright” from “Are You Still Seing Graig, the Orthodontist?” and changing the “I’m not good enough” from “Elwood’s” to “I know I’m good enough.”

Each track off of At Your Own Risk is powerful and emotional. For some, it may be like listening to your own thoughts put to a melody. However, the message of “it will get better” and “you are good enough” spins the low notes into a positive light.

You can listen to At Your Own Risk below, and you can also watch the music video they created for “Cameron Diaz.” The band will also be on tour over the next few weeks; be sure to catch them in a city near you. Check out Cliffdiver on all social media and music streaming sites.