The End The Madness! Tour hit Raleigh this weekend at The Ritz and what else could you expect from one of the biggest bands in the alternative/post-hardcore genres, a current pop-punk staple, the Aussies with an empowering message, and the biggest breakout band of the year? Well, madness, that's what.

Opening up the night was the Houston based trio, Waterparks. As I previously mentioned, this band has to be one of the biggest breakout groups in 2016. With their first full-length studio album just a couple weeks old, they've been on road for almost the whole year. If you went to the Vans Warped Tour this year, you probably heard their catchy tunes as you walked around. They've got one of those sounds that I'd compare to Cute Is What We Aim For. It sticks with you and keeps you singing along for years. Although they played a relatively short set, Awsten Knight (lead vocals/guitar) kept the crowd engaged with his silly jokes and spent 10 minutes just chatting with the crowd to fill time at the end of their set. 

Pickup or stream their new album "Double Dare" here: http://www.waterparksband.com

Tonight Alive followed with their positive and empowering message. Jenna McDougal leads the Australian band with her powerful voice, standing for human rights and equality for all. Her short speeches blend with her lyrics and everyone is always left with a good feeling and a smile once the band walks off stage. 

With the current state of pop-punk music, State Champs has to be one of the staples right up there with The Wonder Years. I had barely even heard of the New York band until a couple years ago, and just this year I've seen them 3 times. Still a relatively new band, they've got many years to grow as one of the more recognizable acts (if they're not already) and expect to see their name a lot on rock related festival lineups.

Welcomed by the ear piercing screams of all the girls in the crowd, Sleeping With Sirens hit the stage with all their heart-throb glory. They opened their set with a couple of my favorite older songs and then rolled into songs from their 2015 album "Madness." Their stage presence is something more bands should pay attention to. Not one band member stuck to a specific place on stage, everyone was constantly moving and engaging fans from every inch of the stage. They look like they are genuinely enjoying their time with each other on stage and share that energy with everyone, even the photographers.

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