On Stage: Fitness tops surprising busy Tuesday night local show schedule

By Denny DyroffEntertainment Editor, The Times


July 17 is a Tuesday and Tuesdays is not usually the best day of the week for a selection of live music at area venues. Mid-week shows are a tough draw – especially Tuesday’s following a summer weekend.

This year, July 17 is an exception. The area music calendar features shows by Fitness, an electro-pop duo from L.A. on July 17. There will also be a couple of interesting mid-week shows on July 18 – especially British death metal band Dyscarnate and singer/songwriter/rocker Ahi.

Fitness is the new musical project from Max Collins (Eve 6) and Kenny Carkeet (ex-AWOLNATION). Together they create a sound that is very distinctive — pairing alt rock melodies with aggressive synth pop. 

Fitness just released its new album “Karate” on June 29 as well as a new single called “In the clear.” Now, Fitness is on a national tour in support of its new music – a tour that touched down in Philadelphia on July 17 at MilkBoy Philadelphia (1100 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, 215- 925-6455, www.milkboyphilly.com).

“We’re on Day 1 of this tour,” said Collins, during a hone interview last week from a tour stop in New Orleans.

“We’ll be out for about one month – mainly East Coast dates. This will be the first time for Fitness to play the East Coast.

“Kenny and I met in 2012 when our bands Eve 6 and AWOLNATION were on the same show with Public Enemy at a radio festival in Buffalo, New York. We hung out that night and strayed in contact.

“It was about a year-and-a-half ago that Kenny made this track that was so devastating and so good. I implored him to let me write on it. It was something to exercise our weirdness. The track was called ‘Get Dead.’ The collaboration was easy and fun.”

The pair got together in L.A. and began writing songs together, fusing elements of rock and electronic music, crafting a sound that is uniquely their own. In 2017, they released their debut EP “Aggroculture.”

“Our first show was at this art gallery,” said Collins. “It was a KCRW show in Santa Monica in March 2017. We put out our second single in July 2017 and radio stations started to pick it up. We put out at third single and then our EP ‘Aggroculture.’ We made another single – ‘Matter of Time’ – and then started working on the album.

“We recorded ‘Karate’ at our own studio here in L.A. We still work with other acts. Any time there is an off day at the studio, we’ll write. By the time we released ‘Aggroculture’, we had five songs in the bucket for the album. Before long, we had 20 songs. But, ‘Matter of Time’ was doing so well, we had to move the album release back. We’ve changed songs on the album a number of times.”

In this day of internet information, it’s easy for a band to disseminate information about the group – but not so with Fitness. Try doing a Google search for “Fitness,” “Fitness Band,” or “Fitness Music,” and you’ll come up with everything but a link to the California music duo.

“We like the challenge of setting up as many impediments to success as we can,” said Collins. “The name Fitness appeals to me because it is not a band name.”

Video link for Fitness — https://youtu.be/atpWVZdZ7hg

The show at MilkBoy Philly, which has Wild Moccasins as the opener, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18.


It may seem strange for a music act to share its name with a type of tuna. It may seem that way with AHI but tuna had nothing to do with AHI’s name.

AHI is a singer/songwriter from Toronto who credits himself as the originator of his own musical genre— “‘BLUEBLACKmusic.” And, unlike the fish, AHI is pronounced “eye.”

AHI just released his sophomore album “In Our Time” on July 13 via Thirty Tigers and is now touring in support of the new LP. The tour brings him to the area on July 18 for a show atBoot and Saddle (1131 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, 215-639-4528, www.bootandsaddlephilly.com).

“I started taking music seriously seven or eight years ago,” said AHI, during a phone interview last week from his home in Toronto.

“I started off doing poetry and hip hop. I loved writing, but I couldn’t sing at all. Then, I learned how to sing and play guitar. Over the last eight years, I’ve taken it to another level.”

World travel added to AHI’s base for songwriting topics.

“I traveled to Ethiopia and that was an amazing experience,” said AHI. “I was soul searching at the time. I did a similar thing in Trinidad. That was my first travel experience.

“My father is from Trinidad. I think my songwriting ability comes from calypso – the way calypso music tells stories. I also traveled a lot in Canada. Backpacking around Ontario is what inspired me to do songwriting.”

Like many musicians from all over North America, AHI went to Nashville to record his latest album.

“I recorded the album after the Christmas holiday,” said AHI. “I made the album at Bomb Shelter Studio in Nashville. It’s a great analog studio. I had Andrija Tokic as the producer. We went from tape to ProTools to tape and got a very warm, very authentic sound. We had a lot of great Nashville musicians on the album. It was a really great process.

“When I write, the narrative is really important to me. When knew I was going to do an album, a lot of songs came to me. Then, when I was ready to go into the studio, more songs kept coming. We recorded 15 songs and cut it to 11 for the album.

“I’m touring with a four-piece band and we’re playing a lot of songs from the new album. It’s actually a fair mixture of songs from all my recordings. This band does a great job with all the songs.”

Video link for AHI – https://youtu.be/-1gXJOhU2Sk.

The show at Boot and Saddle, which has Birdie Busch as the opening act, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.


Dyscarnate, which will be performing at The Voltage Lounge (421 North Seventh Street, Philadelphia, 215-964-9602, www.voltagelounge.com), is a powerful death metal trio featuring Matt Unsworth on drums, Tom Whitty on guitars and vocals and Al Llewellyn on bass and vocals. The band is currently touring in support of its new album “With All Their Might,” which was released late last year on Unique Leader Records.

“The album came out in September and we’ve been touring ever since,” said Unsworth, during a phone interview Monday night from a tour stop in New York City. “And, we still have quite a bit of touring to do yet.

“We came over on the 24th of June to L.A. and did the first show of the tour. We’ve worked our way across the country and we’re playing the East now. Then, we’ll tour through the South, play shows in Florida and Texas and finish up back in L.A.”

Dyscarane was formed in 2004 in Horsham, England – a small town south of London.

“I still live in Horsham,” said Unsworth. “Al lives in Swinden and Tom lives in the Netherlands near Amsterdam. We’ve had a lot of line-up changes over the years, but it’s always been Tom and me.

“At the start, we three guitars and five or six people in the band. We whittled it down to a three-piece in 2010. Up until then, there had always been at least two guitars. Now, we can do all we need to do with just the three of us. We’ve had this line-up for three years. We’re great friends and we have a great time.”

Llewellyn was the most recent member to join and he was in the band prior to the recording of “With All Their Might.”

“Al joined in 2015 and we recorded the album in 2016,” said Umsworth. “It helped having some new blood for the writing process. It’s rare that anything gets writing without all three of us being there. We write together in person – not via email. We’ll get together at Tom’s place in the Netherlands or maybe in London.

“We recorded all the instruments in Swinden. All the vocals we did at a nice little farmhouse in Wales. One of Al’s mates had just opened a guesthouse and we were the first to use it. We set up a little home studio using Keybase and spent a couple weeks there.”

“With All Their Might’ shows a quantum leap for the band from the music they made in the past – especially their previous album “And So It Came to Pass.”

“The music on our new album isn’t as fast and as frantic as our older stuff,” said Umsworth. “It’s a little slower – and less blast-y. Our early songs were more extreme and more brutal death metal. We still love death metal, but now our songs are more complex musically.

“We worked hard on composing songs and not just putting riffs together. A lot of the new songs still start with a riff but not as an intro – more in the middle. We put together strong riffs and good vocal lines. We wee very finicky about what we put in.”

This will be Dyscarnate’s first time to play Philly and area fans wanting to hear the new songs played live will not be disappointed.

“In our live set on this tour, we do two songs from “And So It Came to Pass’ and the rest are from ‘With All Their Might’,” said Umsworth. “We want to focus on playing our new music.”

Video link for Dyscarnate – https://youtu.be/sgBxumzrLnA.

The show at The Voltage Lounge, which also features Faceless, Lorna Shore, Nomvdic, Dead Eyes Always Dreaming, The Hearkening, and Tallah, will start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20.

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