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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

A Day to Remember recalls a special night in Spokane

A Day to Remember will play the Podium in Spokane on Friday.  (Courtesy photo)

When A Day to Remember’s Neil Westfall heard that a 4,000-capacity general admission venue would be opening in Spokane, the guitarist knew that his band would return to one of his favorite cities.

“We wanted to come back to Spokane because we love it there and have had our share of good times in that city,” Westfall said. “When we got word about a new place with an open floor would be opening its doors there, we were pretty excited. It’s hard for us to get into the Pacific Northwest without a venue of that size. It’s an honor to be one of the first bands to play there.”

A Day To Remember, which on Friday will be the second band to ever perform at the Podium, which opened Oct. 1 with In This Moment headlining, avoids playing seated venues.

“That’s a real struggle for us,” Westfall said while calling from Bangor, Maine. “We feed off the energy of our fans. It’s important for us to have that back and forth exchange. I’m ecstatic to play a huge floor in Spokane. Now that they have this venue, it’s going to be incredible for the city since it will bring in so many bands and it will bring new life to a scene in Spokane.”

Westfall grew up catching recording artists performing in such spaces, such as Blink 182, which had an enormous impact on the insatiable music fan as he came of age in the Sunshine State.

“There was no bigger band for me than Blink-182,” Westfall said. “I loved their humor. They had some serious songs but they didn’t take themselves so seriously. Their songs spoke to me. I checked out everything they did and that led me to bands like the Descendents.”

The members of A Day to Remember draw heavily from the pop-punk and emo of Blink-182, but the Orlando-based group also is impacted by metalcore and hardcore.

“We have always just played what we love,” Westfall said. “I know we blend some genres that don’t normally go together but they work for us.”

A number of bands have traveled such a precarious path, such as Fishbone, Faith No More and Primus. “I understand that bands like ours aren’t as easy to market, but we can only create the music that we’re inspired to make,” Westfall said. “It’s worked out so far.”

It’s been 20 years since Westfall and vocalist Jeremy McKinnon formed A Day to Remember in Ocala, Florida. The band is seven albums into its 20-year career with its latest, “You’re Welcome,” which dropped in 2021.

A Day to Remember’s latest tunes are muscular, at times menacing and melodic. A couple of songs, “Bloodsucker” and “High Diving,” are catchy. And then there are songs like the visceral “Last Chance to Dance (Bad Friend),” which will sate the metalcore fans.

“I think we capture all of our sides with this album,” Westfall said. “This album is the essence of who we are and the songs still feel new to us since we didn’t get the chance to tour behind this album when it came out (in March 2021).”

“You’re Welcome” debuted at number 15 on the Billboard Hot 200 album list. “We’re so grateful that the fans support us like they do,” Westfall said. “We don’t take anything for granted and we always do what we want to do whether it’s cool or not.”

A Day to Remember covered Kelly Clarkson’s smash “Since You’ve Been Gone” in 2007.

“We didn’t care what anyone thought since “Since You’ve Been Gone” is one of the best songs ever written,” Westfall said. “Max Martin wrote a masterpiece. It’s a great rock song.”

A Day to Remember, which also includes guitarist Kevin Skaff and drummer Alex Shelnutt, has an albums worth of songs in the can. The band, which will play Friday at the Podium, will preview one new track, “Miracle.”

“We couldn’t help but play something really fresh,” Westfall said. “It’s a nice addition to our set.”

Regarding those aforementioned good times, Westfall laughed when recalling the day he’ll always remember in Spokane. “It was back in 2007,” Westfall said. “Washington was way ahead of the curve with marijuana. I was trying to find some weed. I remember walking into an Auto Zone and I asked the clerk where I could score some weed. He sold some to me in the back lot and I was a hero to the band. We partied that night in a conference room at the Days Inn. It was one of our favorite nights ever. This time I guess we don’t have to stop in an Auto Zone for weed. Thankfully marijuana is easy to get in Spokane. Life is very different in Washington than it is in Florida and everyone in Spokane should know how lucky you are.”