Four Year Strong’s “Go Down In History” Tour with Transit, Such Gold, and Seaway
Red 7 in Austin, TX on November 15, 2014
I haven’t really thought much about Four Year Strong since Enemy of the World came out four years ago. At the time, I was a sophomore in high school, and the album was right up my alley – a pop-punk album with absurdly catchy choruses and hooks for days. However, that genre pretty much died hard, and even though the band had a new EP out this year, I haven’t really been able to get back into it these days. Still, having seen them on Warped Tour back in the day, I knew their live show was one that is very worth seeing – and despite some time off, they didn’t have any rust to shake off.
I missed Seaway due to wanting to arrive as late as possible since it was 45 degrees, rainy, and outdoors. So, Such Gold were up first for me. The last time I saw them was two years ago with Senses Fail, and their live show blew me away. Even now, I’ve only ever been a casual fan of their albums, but their live show knocks it out of the park. The mix of melodic hardcore with more recent pop-punk (A New Sidewalk) makes the live set highly entertaining. The band primarily played Misadventures and A New Sidewalk songs. “Two Year Plan” proved the perfect opener, as Ben Kotin and Jon Markson’s back-and-forth in the chorus made the crowd go wild as the two attacked the guitar and bass. Other Misadventures cuts and "Choosing Cages" kept the pace at 10, while the only older song included was “Gut Rot.” New songs such as “Engulfed In Flames” and “Faced” reminded me to spend more time with the new album, as the emphasis on cleaner vocals and less hardcore elements works great for the band.
Two Year Plan
Engulfed In Flames
Locked Out of the Magic Theater
Transit is a band I was incredibly curious about how they’d sound live. I’ll be the first to admit I’m only really a fan of Listen & Forgive, but I am a big fan of that one, so I was happy the set started with “Long Lost Friends” into “Listen & Forgive.” New songs like “The Only One” and “Rest To Get Better” were actually quite enjoyable live, with frontman Joe Boynton adopting a lower octave on parts of the former that fit better. However, two of the Young New England should really just not have been included. Both “Nothing Lasts Forever” and “So Long, So Long” reminded me of how bad those songs were and why I haven’t listened to them since the album came out – the choruses instantly ruin both, which isn’t exactly ideal. However, thankfully “All Your Heart” was thrown in between, along with the older “Please, Head North” that had the crowd going wild. The set made me realize how much of a mixed bag Transit is for me – I enjoy their older stuff, love Listen & Forgive, but just can’t get into Young New England or Joyride, despite wishing I enjoyed the latter more.
Long Lost Friends
Listen & Forgive
The Only One
Please, Head North
Nothing Lasts Forever
Rest To Get Better
All Your Heart
So Long, So Long
The bearded fellas in Four Year Strong managed to rip through 16 songs in an hour – quite the feat in itself. The opening riffs of “Prepare to Be Digitally Manipulated” and yelling of “Calling all cars!” brought me straight back to middle school in 2007. Dual vocalists/guitarists Alan Day and Dan O’Connor had a ton of energy despite the cold weather, dominating all of the call-and-return vocals. Other Rise or Die Trying songs ranged from “Catastrophe” – a crowd favorite – to “Maniac (R.O.D.), with the entire crowd going crazy to “I've always heard that the good die young / There's little time left to prove them wrong.” I was shocked at how into the band these kids get – the most pits, circle pits, that weird arm-swinging move. It was dangerous how crazy these kids go. It’s great to see this band have such a solid fanbase after taking some time off and not having a super well-received album since 2010 – despite their new EP being favorably received.
New songs included “What's in the Box?,” “Tread Lightly,” and title track “Go Down in History.” The majority of the crowd knew all of the songs already, yelling along to “When the push comes to shove, I'll shove it down your throat” and “So you can live like a time bomb that doesn't have long / Go down in history.” I was instantly reminded of how catchy their songs are – these guys are great at writing hooks that sound like anthems to tear down walls. Hearing the Rise or Die songs really shows how far this band has come musically and vocally over the years – the live versions sound worlds better (especially vocally) than the album.
Prepare to Be Digitally Manipulated
Tonight We Feel Alive (On a Saturday)
Stuck in the Middle
What the Hell is a Gigawatt?
Find My Way Back
What's in the Box?
One Step at a Time
Go Down In History
Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die
It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now
Bada Bing! Wit' a Pipe!
Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)
While I’m not really into Four Year Strong or the “easy-core” genre like I was when I was 16, I still had a great time at the show. The band just knows how to write hooks, gang vocals, and bring all the energy to the stage live. I had mixed feelings about Transit’s set similar to my mixed feelings about their albums. And then Such Gold managed to have even more energy live than on their albums, a great feat for such a young band. Regardless of what era of Four Year Strong you’re into – or even if you aren’t too into them anymore – their show is highly entertaining with an energy that can’t be topped.
Although every year I know less of the bands at Warped Tour, the bands I do enjoy always kill. Yesterday, I attended the Dallas stop of Warped tour.
The band I was most excited to see was of course Every Time I Die, and my luck, they were one of the first bands to perform on the main stage. ETID played the perfect mix of old classics ("Floater") and new killers ("The Marvelous Slut"). Having never seen these guys live before, the show blew me away. Keith Buckley sounded amazing, better than on the records, and screamed his lungs out the whole time. Williams and Buckley also slayed on guitar, as well as Leger on drums. Every Time I Die is a machine, one of my favorite bands, and they sure put on a pristine, flawless show. ETID stole the entire show, as I couldn't get them off my mind all day. Yeah, they were that good.
Interested in how Jerry Roush (ex-Sky Eats Airplane) would sound, I caught the end of Of Mice and Men's set after ETID, and wow, was I pleasantly. Admittedly, I did enjoy their debut self-titled record. After seeing them live, it's clear that they are actually quite talented - Roush was a perfect fit for the band and sounded fantastic. The guitars, drums, and Bourget's clean vocals sounded great as well. Bourget is one of the best clean vocalist in that genre, hands down.
After OM&M, I thankfully caught the end of I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody's Business' set. Ace Enders sounded beautiful, and he ended playing one of my favorite TEN song, "Ever So Sweet." Packed with pure emotion and perfect vocals, the song was simply haunting. After I Can Make a Mess, however, one of my friends wanted to stick around to catch nevershoutnever! to my dismay. As there was no one else playing I wanted to see at the time, I decided to tag along to see what all the girls loved so much about this guy was about. Ugh, it was hard to sit through. I mean I'd read all of the trash about Christofer Drew on this site before, but after seeing the kid live, I've found every word to be true. Sure, Drew has lively stage presence; there's no denying that. But he's just obnoxious. From the constant bopping around to trying to scream weirdly in some of his songs to his arrogance, he's just annoying. I will give him one more positive though: he is entertaining and although his nasely voice is not for me, he can actually sing pretty well live. With his persona, I can sort of understand why all the girls adore him so much, but for most, he's just simply obnoxious.
After his set, I decided to check out In Fear and Faith to see how they sounded live; I did actually enjoy their debut record, Your World on Fire, for what it was, although I have yet to check out their latest, Imperial. Screamer Cody Anderson sounded surprisingly good live; however, clean vocalist Scott Barnes did not. His voice was very awkwardly high and almost unbearable to listen to. Honeslty, he made the entire set hard to listen to. Despite this, guitarist Ramin Niroomand and drummer Mehdi Niroomand sounded great and are quite talented. Anderson can sure scream his lungs out, making Barnes the only real hindrance to the band's live show.
After leaving IFAF's set early due to not being able to withstand Barnes' vocals anymore, I caught The Rocket Summer's set. Being a huge fan of Bryce Avary, I was very excited to see him. The man sounded great, kicking off with the infectious hit "Do You Feel." Avary sounded better live with his pure fervor than he does on the record. Period. Able to play every instrument, Avary is very multifaceted, making his live show great. The guy made up a song during the set, playing drums, piano, and guitar. I was unsure how TRS would sound live, since they were originally a one man band and are on records, but the guys sounded great. Avary's vocals are simply wonderful live, full of emotion, showing his love for music.
After The Rocket Summer's superb show, I headed to see Set Your Goals, interested in how these guys would sound live, because they're one of the best bands in their genre hands down. The band sounded really great, playing more songs of TWBTDOU than Mutiny, a good or bad thing depending on preference. Guitarists Aire and Flores played wonderfully, and Jordan Brown sang his lungs out. However, the other vocalist, Matt Wilson just did not compare to Brown on vocals; he sounded weaker, but maybe it was just a bad day for him. This did make the overall vocals unbalanced, but still, it was a solid show.
Directly after SYG was Massachusetts' Four Year Strong, in my opinion the best "hardcore influenced pop-punk" act in the genre. They completely outshined Set Your Goals. Kicking off with "It Must Really Suck to be Four Year Strong Right Now, vocalists Dan O'Connor and Alan Day packed so much energy and excitement into the show. They sounded phenomenal. The crowd roared throughout the entire set, as Four Year Strong played favorites off Rise or Die Trying as well as Enemy of the World. Their live show is absolutely insane and energetic. It was the second best show of the day behind ETID. If you think these guys rock on their records, their live performance is twice that.
And then it began to pour down rain as Pierce the Veilwere getting set up after FYS. Rain sure didn't stop them, they were full of energy, starting right into new found favorite "Caraphernelia." Vocalist Vic Fuentes sounded great as he wailed "what's so good about picking up the pieces" over lively guitarist Tony Perry screaming. Fuentes sounded great throughout the entire show, even playing a quick cover of Drake's "Find Your Love," which actually didn't sound half bad. Surprisingly, bassist Jaime Preciado was fantastic; he sounded great playing and had great stage presence. PTV were incredibly entertaining to watch, as they stood on tall boxes and played while Vic wailed his lungs out standing on the crowd in pouring rain. It was an awesome show, making me happy I skipped out on one of my most anticipated bands, Emarosa, to see Pierce instead.
The last band of the day for me was UK's You Me At Six. Now let's get on thing straight, their latest record Hold Me Down did nothing for me, in fact I found it boring and generic; however, their debut Take Off Your Colours is a favorite of mine, making me curious to check them out. I was not disappointed in the least. Vocalist Josh Franceschi sounded great and was the driving force of YMAS' live set. Even tracks I didn't like much on HMD ("Trophy Eyes" and "Stay With Me") were worlds better than on the album due to Franceschi's energy in his vocals. "Stay With Me" was one of the best of their set, while older "Save It For the Bedroom" sounded awesome as the crowd chanted "save it, save it for the bedroom" with Franceschi. Overall, it was a great way to end Warped Tour 2010.