First Annual FEAR THE RIFF EXPO Hosted At Brooklyn Expo Center

Many are widely familiar with the annual New York City Hot Sauce Expo which attracts hundreds of New Yorkers, including out of state travelers to check out some of the best hot sauce vendors in the U.S. Shortly after the fifth annual New York City Hot Sauce Expo, its brother, Fear The Riff ExpoNYC's 1st Annual Effects Pedal & Gear Expo had been announced to take place on October 7, 2017. Fear The Riff was also hosted at the Brooklyn Expo Center, and caters to musicians, audio engineers, entrepreneurs, audio equipment merchants, and guitar and bass guitar enthusiasts alike. Fear The Riff Expo opens its doors to veteran music merchant companies, as well as new companies expanding on their custom products. Due to the positive feedback that already circulated  around the New York City Hot Sauce Expo, Fear The Riff gained initial traction through the hot sauce expo's good reputation, along with renowned sponsors such as SAM ASH, CUTWATER SPIRITS, GEAR GODS, JED FOUNDATION, HIGH RIVER SAUCES, LAGUNITAS BREWING COMPANY, LOUDWIRE, PEDAL GENIE, PINKS BAR & GRILL, REVOLVER MAGAZINE, RIGS OF DOOM, ROCK AND WRAP IT UP, TONE MOB, VIRGIL KAINE LOWCOUNTRY WHISKEY CO., and WSOU 89.5

Doors for Fear The Riff Expo opened at 10:15 A.M. The Sam Ash Demo Stage held half hour demo presentations for select vendors participating at the expo. Booths situated throughout the expo center greeted guests with booth demos and reading material on displayed products up for purchase. The Night Owl Industries booth presented its hand crafted amplifiers constructed with vintage electrical work. Night Owl Industries' owner/builder Seth works alone and plans to release new amps every three months, as the construction of his amps requires one month of handwork, one month of tubing and more for his final product. Night Owl amps are ideal for home, studio, or small venue use, "carrying full bodies, tight, and warm to raw, loose, and over driven tones." Night Owl Industries are preparing to release their 2018 Spring Batch which will be limited to 100 units.  Night Owl's mission is to offer their clients an escape from virtual and digital to experience analog musicianship. 

Damnation Audio launched on October 2016 in Baltimore, MD. Damnation Audio specializes in manufacturing bass distortion pedals with the Damnation Audio MBD-1 MOSFET Bass Distortion available on the company website. For bass guitarists who look to achieve a tasteful distorted bass tone for various types of bass guitars to create heavy fuzz tones and high output, especially for down tuned instruments. 

Fear The Riff riffers brought along their own instruments to demo the amps and pedals. At the EarthQuaker Devices booth, one woman attracted a small crowd while demonstrating the company's effects pedals on her electric violin. Since 2004, EarthQuake Devices owner Jamie Stillman has impressively stocked the company's inventory with uniquely themed effects pedals, such as their latest called, "Eruptor" which delivers an ultimate fuzz tone. EarthQuaker Devices believe in user friendly pedals, simultaneously offering room for maximum creativity. 

Influential guitar giant PRS Guitars displayed a fortress of their S2 and SE guitars, including Mark Holcomb of Periphery's SE Mark Holcomb Burst and Zach Meyers of Shinedown's SE Zach Myers Semi-Hollow Body featured below. Reps at the PRS booth kindly offered brief demos on PRS guitars through PRS amps. PRS Guitars will be returning to NAMM 2018 and have announced a new limited edition model in their S2 series the S2 VR Vela

Analog Alien Guitar Effects Pedals and owners Joe and Jack Napoli appeared at Fear The Riff Expo with their custom-tailored the "Joe Walsh Double Classic" pedal for  the Clown Prince of Rock himself Joe Walsh of The Eagles. "A great responsive limitter/compressor with pre-post option, coupled to a channel strip. Use it as a buffer, EQ, clean boost or overdrive. This pedal is like adding another amp to your rig - Enjoy!", is Joe Walsh's own testimonial to his specially made dual effects pedal by Analog Alien. Analog Alien has been in business for seven years with Joan Jett, Elliot Easton of The Cars, Vertical Horizon and more as clientele.

Fear The Riff also brought out some innovative guitar, pedal, and amp accessory companies. Option Knob Inc. came out to promote their brand new "WingMan - Effects Pedal Foot Controller".  The foot controlled effects pedal knob easily replaces factory knobs to gain more control over effects levels with a nudge of your foot. Option Knob Inc. opened shop in 2008 and appeared at NAMM 2017. WingMan™ was released by Option Knob three months ago and has garnered much popularity for its ease during live performance. Option Knob Inc. handed out free WingMan foot control knob samples to people visiting their booth along with an opportunity to sample them on pedals. 

VIP purchases to Fear The Riff Expo offered unlimited beer and cocktails from Cutwater Spirits, Virgil Kaine Lowcountry Whiskey Co. and Lagunitas Brewing Company. Outdoor access was available to all who were looking to ground up some grub at the Pinks Bar & Grill food truck, as well as beer vendors situated throughout the Brooklyn Expo Center selling cold brews. Gibson Guitars' massive tour bus stood parked in the Brooklyn Expo Center parking lot nearby  the food trucks.  

Schecter Guitars had the advantage of having their booth near the expo center's floor to ceiling windows where the sun cascaded over Schecter's new line of showcased guitars. main.ace.fx pedals were one of the interesting products to see, as their appearance and sound can be customized to what the client wants, 100% handmade and "100% Delicious", with all artwork done in New Jersey. main.ace.fx are dedicated to donating 10% of all pedal sales to homeless animals as well. Fans of the movie Dune should also check out the company's 'spice' pedal "Navigator".  

Avedissian, Gretsch Guitars, Acorn Amplifiers, Magic Pedals, Fuzzrocious Pedals and more were also highlighted vendors at Fear The Riff. For more information on Fear The Riff Expo, visit their website at www.feartheriff.com. More photos of the event below!

IN THIS MOMENT Deliver Haunting Performance At PlayStation Theater

Scryer Photo took the  opportunity to shoot In This Moment's concert last week at PlayStation Theater on October 4, 2017. The tour line up itself is sonorous enough to want to break your wallet for. Opening performances from Of Mice And Men and the mighty Avatar from Sweden packed the venue as soon as doors opened, with In This Moment headlining their "Half God, Half Devil" tour. Since signing with Atlantic Records in 2014, In This Moment have achieved maximum recognition with the releases of Black Widow in 2014 and Ritual released on July 21, 2017. The "Half God, Half Devil" tour kicked off in April 2017 and with the amount of popularity the tour amassed, In This Moment made the decision to extend it into the end of Fall 2017 in continued support of Ritual

PlayStation Theater opened its doors to fans on a line wrapped around its busy block corner in Times Square. Avatar are nothing short of spectacular and built up momentum with a theatrical start to their set. Avatar's performances are fantastic, Carnivàle themed productions backed with an extensive resume of impressive Melodic Death Metal musicianship. Each letter of their stage prop spelling out the band name 'Avatar', lit up one by one at the beginning of their set. All members of Avatar were dressed in ring leader costumes, as lead singer Johannes Eckerström stood upon a ring leader stand-up with the spotlight right over him. Eckerström is a highly entertaining front man in between songs to talk to the crowd with an evil, maniacal growl. Masters of the riff, Avatar bring their twisted circus sideshow world to life on stage, adding traditional hair windmills to synchronized headbanging. Eckerström maintained crowd interaction up until the end of their set, kneeling at the edge of the stage to sing to fans, following a violent headbang at an abrupt breakdown. Avatar dished out yet another animated performance they are renowned for. 

Fans remained rooted near the front of the stage during In This Moment's elaborate prop set up. During this time, the house music overheard kept everyone entertained with Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey. Many were dressed for the occasion with Maleficent horns, face paint, and shrouds. The set list for the evening included hits like "Blood", "River of Fire", "Adrenalize", "Roots", "Burn", "Lay Your Gun Down", instrumental cover of Metallica's "For Whom The Bell Tolls" and "Creeping" Death", "Black Wedding", cover of "In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins, "The Infection", "Sick Like Me" and "Oh Lord". Lead singer Maria Brink emerged with the Blood girls through billowing fog during "River of Fire". Maria Brink, well known for her raspy intonation, seemed to summon the high energy of fans while reaching high notes.

Each song during their show had a different set and lighting to capture and portray the emotion and meaning behind them. In light of the tragic shooting at the Jason Aldean concert in Las Vegas, In This Moment dedicated a heartfelt performance of "Lay Your Gun Down", Brink singing with heart-wrenching emotion at the piano. Already possessing a raw talent of musicianship and camaraderie amongst each other, In This Moment have trail blazed in the Rock and Metal scene as creative entrepreneurs in their dedication to showmanship. Maria Brink constantly shows great appreciation to her band members on stage who help bring every performance to life, as she graciously introduced them individually to the audience at PlayStation Theater that night.

After an astonishing concert, naturally fans chanted for one more song, to which In This Moment reappeared to do an encore performance of their acclaimed song "Whore". In This Moment are not just musicians, but seasoned performers who interact with fans as if it were their first show. Going to an In This Moment concert is not just a metal show, it's a theater production that doesn't necessarily have to catch one's ear to catch their attention. In This Moment will be continuing the "Half God, Half Devil" tour through November 21st, check out all tour dates below. Ritual is available for purchase here!

IN THIS MOMENT Tour Dates 2017:

Gig Review: KYNG At Gramercy Theatre

Los Angeles Heavy Rock band KYNG joined HELLYEAH on their U.S. tour July 23, 2017 in support of their latest full length release Breathe In The Water. With Iron Maiden and Slayer in New York City in the same week, Kyng managed a brutal turn out Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at Gramercy Theatre as direct support for HELLYEAH. Kyng made their debut in 2011 with their first full length studio album Trampled Sun and with Burn The Serum following in 2014, Kyng have been trailblazing ever since. The band achieved milestones when they performed at the Orion Music + More Festival organized by Metallica, and having the opportunity to tour with Heavy Metal giants Megadeth, Trivium, and Black Label Society to name a few. 

With limited time given to the openers that night, Kyng pulled out all the stops during their set. As a three piece, Kyng cover all the bases when fusing Hard Rock, Grunge and Heavy Metal elements in their music. Kyng opened their set under the darkness of the stage with only a dim blue light behind them. Songs like "Breathe in the Water" and "Pristine Warning" can be described as heavy blues, genuine classic rock with a modern twist. "Pristine Warning" grabs your ear in the first thirty seconds of the song with tasteful switch up from fast hard hitting drums to pulling it back slightly as the song transitions into the chorus. Kyng are recognizable the moment drummer Pepe Clarke hits the first open handed note during "Falling Down". Influences of Alice In Chains and Soundgarden in Eddie Veliz's vocals, as well as the band's music arrangements are strongly noticeable. Catchy melodies, rapid bass plucking by bassist Tony Castaneda and hard thundering drum fills kept the crowd gravitating to the front of the stage and focused on their set that evening. Kyng continuously aspire to provide their fans with a genuine approach to Hard Rock in a time when Rock and Heavy Metal tend to be saturated with artificial tones and backing tracks. 

Kyng return stoner and classic rock to many in the scene who have awaited a strong band to bring it back tastefully and successfully. The crowd in Gramercy Theatre that night grew significantly during the broodingly heavy, album titled track "Breathe In The Water". The new album has brought the band a long way from their first release, and smoothly fits them on major heavy metal and hard rock tours and music festivals nationwide. Fans interested in purchasing Breathe In The Water can do so here! Check out upcoming Kyng tour dates below. 

Fat Rad Catering and Jesse Leach of Killswitch Engage Host 'Small Bites of Hope' for Mental Health Awareness & Suicide Prevention

At some point in our lives we hit rock bottom. Some of us are lucky enough to be resilient, however there are many who struggle with reaching a turning point once it hits. Going through traumatic experiences causes a ripple effect over months, even years. It pours into daily lives and hinders our daily endeavors in society.Those emotions often go unnoticed by friends and family until it's too late to reach out to anyone enduring any form of depression. As advocates to mental health awareness and suicide prevention, Chef Brian Tsao (featured on Beat Bobby Flay and Chopped) and Nick Emde of Fat Rad Catering took to the cause by hosting their pop-up culinary event Small Bites of Hope in conjunction with the non-profit organization Hope For the Day. The event was held to raise awareness on mental health issues and suicide prevention. 

Small Bites of Hope took place at the Gibson Guitars Showroom in Midtown Manhattan on May 18, 2017 from 6PM - 9PM and paid homage to Mental Health Awareness Month. The event was also joined by Jesse Leach, frontman of the renowned heavy metal group Killswitch Engage who took the stand that evening to deliver a heartfelt speech on what the cause means to him and how others can reach out to help anyone going through chronic depression and mental illness. Jesse spoke up about his own experiences with chronic depression and addressed the possible ways we can recognize anyone needing the help they need and deserve, a crucial necessity they would otherwise feel ashamed to ask for. Brian Tsao discussed how he himself dealt with the realization of needing therapy, which addressed the topic of how mental illness does not mean a person is "crazy", but that we all experience moments of feeling hopeless and helpless. Brian Tsao's speech also touched on how important it is to have organizations such as Hope For the Day, where many who are experiencing these issues are able to find solace with others who are or were in similar situations. The organization reaches out with a reassuring slogan of how "It's ok not to be ok". The touching slogan helps to eliminate the shame attached to harsh stigmas of social and cultural factors, which prevent many from expressing their issues with mental health such as depression, PTSD and thoughts of suicide. 

Scryer Photo last joined Fat Rad Catering at their company launch party in January 2017 at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn, NY. The company has since then garnered a large clientele in the music industry through extreme professionalism and high quality catering services and successfully sold out Small Bites of Hope. Many in attendance last week were accompanied by friends and family to learn more about Hope For the Day's mission directly from its Founder and CEO Johnny Boucher who gave a speech as well that day. With a full board and staff, Hope For the Day constantly host a variety of events and have spoken to crowds of hundreds to raise continued awareness in communities all around. HFTD has brought so many people together to show that they are not alone in their battle, that there are others who are just like them who have found a support system amongst each other to never give up and for all to realize and always remember they are worth it. All too often, a lack of mental health organizations and programs leaves many good and brilliant people vulnerable to falling through the cracks of society,with the idea that the topic is too taboo to share or discuss.

Coincidentally, legendary singer Chris Cornell of the iconic grunge bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, sadly and unexpectedly passed away the same day of Small Bites of Hope, which became a poignant reminder of the cause. For many internationally known touring musicians, Chris Cornell's passing evokes the high demands of the music industry. Requests for tickets that day shot through the roof, despite being completely sold out. In honor of Chris Cornell, Nick Emde served his "Louder Than Love" cocktail made with Blackcraft Ghost Pepper Whiskey, Blue Curacao and Ginger Ale. The one and only Jesse Leach served as DJ for the night on the Gibson showroom's soundboard and later dedicated a 40 minute playlist of Soundgarden and Audioslave as a tribute to Chris Cornell. 

Small Bites of Hope welcomed its patrons with their delectable signature brand of "comfort food", the menu consisting of:

  • Vegan appetizers
  • Crostini with hummus
  • Asparagus and cheddar quiche 
  • Vegetarian sushi
  • Beef and porkbelly sliders
  • Bacon and grits topped with shrimp
  • Snowdays Snow Cream (Taiwanese shaved ice, all dairy with a snow texture which finishes like ice cream) 

The event was proudly sponsored by Sixpoint Brewery with the Crisp and Sweet Action cans as the selection for the night. All other proud sponsors listed on the step and repeat backdrop at the venue entrance included Metal InjectionMetal Blade Records, Outerloop ManagementMetalSucksGibson GuitarsUncle Dougie'sSnowdaysArtistFlags.com, Blackcraft SpiritsAll In Merchandise and more. Small Bites of Hope was larger than life in achieving success for an event that provided everyone with a vast amount of information to share with anyone suffering from thoughts of suicide and mental illness. People came together from different walks of life and shared experiences and stories with one another throughout the evening. All proceeds go directly to Hope For the Day's suicide prevention and mental health awareness programs. Small Bites of Hope also reminds us that mental health issues and suicide can affect any and everyone. It emphasizes the importance of organizations like Hope For the Day and the You Rock Foundation so that we don't feel alone or ashamed to seek help if/when we find ourselves unable to stand back up again. 

The Fifth Annual New York City Hot Sauce Expo 2017

The NYC Hot Sauce Expo celebrated its 5th annual return at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint on April 22 -23, 2017. The expo is a two day event at $15 per ticket, which unites dozens of innovative chefs, restaurant owners, and distributors from around the world to display their hot sauce and top shelf liquor products. The event also held record breaking contests such as Grimaldi's Pizza Eating contest, Spicy Taco Eating Contest, and the Stoli Vodka and Bloody Mary contest. On the expo's second day, The Guinness Book of World Records attended the event to oversee the Carolina Reaper pepper eating contest, renowned as the hottest pepper in the world. From 11AM to 5PM, New Yorkers flooded Brooklyn Center Expo Center's doors to check out new and veteran hot sauce products. Good weather also allowed for food trucks to set up shop on the expo center's outdoor area which faces the city skyline. Hot Sauce Expo founder Steve Seabury and Lisa Seabury  host this killer event with an incredible amount of enthusiasm and energy all while seeing that event production runs smoothly. It was all too awesome to see them just as involved in the festivities  as everyone else attending!  

The combined scent of milk and hot peppers permeated throughout the venue as every booth throughout the expo center offered samples of their spiciest hot sauce products with milk to soothe the intense after taste. Expo attendees enjoyed craft beers and tacos as they visited a variety of hot sauce booths with elaborate displays. The NYC Hot Sauce Expo contests are not your typical contests. These contests are executed with concentration and perfect time management. This was especially the case during the Bloody Mary Mix-Down National Championship where winners from the Arizona, California and Portland Hot Sauce Expo's competed again NYC's best mixologist for the championship title, Stoli Vodka Bloody Mary trophy and a cash reward of $2500. The panel of judges of the Bloody Mary Mix-Down included a couple of big names as well as hot sauce hall of famer Chip Hearn and his chicken hat. Also remember that this is Brooklyn, and the NYC Hot Sauce Expo would not be complete without the Chihuahua Runway Fashion Show. Chihuahua owners proudly carried their little ones up to the stage in full costumes to strut their stuff on the make shift table runway. Although all the pups looked fabulous, a pair of Chihuahua siblings donning disco costumes and sunglasses stole the show. 

The contest that many had anticipated on April 23rd was the Carolina Reaper pepper eating contest administered by The Guinness Book of World Records. Each carton of peppers were carefully weighed for contestants who competed against Greg Foster of Inferno Farms who broke the record at 120 grams of Carolina Reapers in November 2016. Greg defended his record title that day, leaving rivals walking off stage, doubled over with a carton of milk and whipped cream.

With so many hot sauces to name that were all worthy of purchasing a bottle or two to take home, our photos captured some of the highlights of this exciting, fun and quirky event that people make sure to mark on their calendars every year. Beer, music, food with an unlimited amount of hot sauce has been a recipe for success for the New York City Hot Sauce Expo over the last five years and its popularity continues to grow with something new every year. A word of advice to anyone attending next year's NYC Hot Sauce Expo, pace yourselves and enjoy. This event is a guaranteed ton of laughs and a great place to network while enjoying a day out on your day off. Hot sauce lover or not, if you missed this year's NYC Hot Sauce Expo, stay updated on next year's event on their website or Facebook page here and check out the rest of our photo coverage below!