I’ll be honest and say that prior to this tour, I hadn’t listened to A Day To Remember in quite some time. Their last record was lukewarm for me, and I can’t remember the last time I returned to it. However, on the rise of their upcoming record, Common Courtesy, I figured this might be a good time to check out their live show for the first time in years. Plus with an opening line up as strong as this, I couldn’t really miss this.
Traffic made getting to the venue take an hour, so I very unfortunately missed the first half of The Wonder Years’ set. However, I was very happy to catch “Passing Through A Screen Door,” a song I had been wanting to see live since I first heard it. The track was met with massive crowd chaos and appeal. “Dismantling Summer” followed and then the massive “Came Out Swinging” closed the set. Few bands can open a tour with as much energy as The Wonder Years, and every time I see them, they just set the mood for the entire night.
Accompanied by a “F*CK” backdrop and always witty stage banter, All Time Low followed to a screaming crowd. “The Reckless And The Brave” proved to be an ideal opener, as did the transition into Nothing Personal hits. Just like the last time I saw them – and was surprised by this then too – “Time Bomb” was one of my favorite live tracks. This time, the guys let 3 people from the crowd come help sing. It was definitely one for the books, to say the least. “Backseat Serenade” was as catchy as ever, but the real highlight was “A Love Like War.” As I’d hoped, Vic Fuentes joined the stage to help out with arguably one of the best All Time Low songs to date. “Dear Maria” closed out the set to a loud crowd all singing at top volume.
The incredibly talented Pierce The Veil were the last of the openers. This band continues to be one of the most consistent and talented live bands I’ve seen. While the band can clearly deliver some very powerful heavier moments – “Caraphernelia” and “Hell Above” – the band also has a knack for melody and more upbeat choruses. “Bulletproof Love” and the chorus of “Hold On Til May” allow them to exercise how talented they can be at more upbeat cuts. Not to mention, Vic Fuentes can sing any key without missing a beat, and man can guitarist Tony Perry shred . This band deserves all the credit in the world, as they are easily and consistently one of the most talented crew I’ve seen.
After an incredible three opening bands, A Day To Remember entered the house – literally. The set up was highly amusing: a white sheet overtook the stage and a video of Jeremy being invited to a house party by the other band members flashed up. Then the sheet feel, a huge house appeared, and the band walked out of the garage to start the show. Yeah, it was seriously impressive.
The band really does know how to put on a live show, that’s for sure. Fire and smoke shot out from the stage. The members took turns going on the roof of the house. Jeremy ran around the crowd in one of those blow up ball things. The show and entire setup was highly entertaining, set up wise.
In the midst of all of these antics and entertainment, the band tore through a little bit of everything. “All I Want” opened the set, which was a great move as it is one of their most accessible songs. “I’m Made of Wax, Larry” and “2nd Sucks” brought the heavy end of the spectrum, while “You Had Me At Hello” and “If It Means A Lot To You” gave the crowd a breather when played back to back. The band even played their cover of “Over My Head” as Santa and elves came out … yeah.
Clearly, A Day To Remember know how to entertain a crowd. The house, the fire, the smoke, elves, antics, etc – they know how to put on a show. While I can’t say I’m about to break out their discography – I just don’t really listen to that stuff anymore – I will say their live show is definitely huge. There’s no other way to describe it. It will be interesting to see what Common Courtesy offers next week (I think?) but here’s to hoping they push their boundaries on it.
I’ve had the luxury of seeing Yellowcard a couple times since they’ve returned from hiatus. I caught them in October 2011 when they were touring for When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes and then this past summer on the Warped Tour main stage. One thing rings true every time – they always deliver. The stacked opening line up only added to my excitement, as it had been about a year and half since I’d seen The Wonder Years.
One of the best surprises of the night came early as Sandlot Heroes took the stage. In fact, the band reminded me of when I saw Every Avenue open for Yellowcard last year, with vocalist Dan Kastelnik having a kind of Southern rock vibe – also not unlike The Maine’s latest material. As expected, they mainly stuck to material from The Trace EP, with tracks like “My Favorite Song” and “Freeway” carrying across very well live. Much of this can be attributed to the help of Chris Morrison and Jake Lare on back up vocals, as their contrast gave Kastelnik’s words a lot more power. This was a set of sing alongs and rocking tunes – nothing too fancy needed, just fun rock music.
I was anxious to see how the young’uns in We Are The In Crowd would sound live, since I missed their set on Warped Tour this past summer. Sure enough, Tay Jardine and crew were incredibly entertaining. The chemistry between Jardine and Jordan Eckes on stage dominates the show, with their call and return being all the more addictive live than on the records (yes, “Kiss Me Again” is what I’m talking about). For being so petite, Jardine can absolutely control the crowd and stand her ground. She never stood still, constantly running across stage to where each member was. There’s a reason why these guys have gotten all this hype over the last couple years – they know exactly what they’re doing.
Our beloved fellas in The Wonder Years took the stage next. What I remember most about seeing these guys for my first time in 2011 was how much energy the guys had. This sentiment reigns true more than ever nowadays. Soupy went from being on his knees to being on top of the crowd to covering every inch of the stage throughout the set. The man is a machine. In fact, every member of the band holds his own, with the opening guitar licks of “Local Man Ruins Everything” starting the set off in a pure riot. As always, the band is all about being personal, so Soupy had interesting ways to tie all of the songs together, incorporating short little anecdotes into the set song after song. The guys even went back to the beginning and tore through “Won’t Be Pathetic Forever,” a crowd favorite for obvious reasons. At first, I found it odd that the set was to end with “Came Out Swinging,” but the I understood – start with an anthem, end with an anthem, right? Full of energy and a hint of chaos, The Wonder Years’ live show deserves all the praise.
As I’d hoped, “Awakening” started off Yellowcard’s almost 2-hour long set. What followed was the perfect mix of everything Yellowcard new and old. New cuts such as “Rivertown Blues” and “Always Summer” sounded massive live, while the little surprises (“Hollywood Died”) had the whole crowd in the air. As always, Ryan Key dominated the mic with his usual grit, while Sean Mackin had a smile on his face the whole night. “Southern Air” was the perfect pre-encore closer – I can’t think of a better song that really defines the entire feel of Yellowcard. Tay Jardine even joined the crew to help out “Here I Am Alive,” which was quite the hit.
Of course, the massive “Ocean Avenue” tore down the house last, while “Breathing” added a huge kick in the night early on. There’s a reason why Yellowcard have been on the move for the better part of the last 12 years – the guys just can’t sit still. This is how a live band is supposed to be – full of pure energy and drive. Yellowcard hold their ground every show, proving exactly why they’ve kept such a prominent legacy over the last decade.
I think what makes their live show so enjoyable is the timeless of it all. Ocean Avenue was one of the first CDs I remember having in my stereo back in the day, yet Southern Air dominated the last summer for me as I was preparing for college. That’s the beauty of Yellowcard – their sound is just classic. The music screams summer, beaches, and sunny days – their live show screams liveliness and a sense of growing restlessness. This is a band that isn’t about to slow down anytime soon, having released two full lengths in the last two years and touring nonstop. Seriously, the guys just won’t slow down.
A tour that brings together both old and new pop-punk, this is a show you can’t forget. Yellowcard’s timeless nature matched with The Wonder Year’s young drive, We Are The In Crowd’s instant likeability, and Sandlot Heroes simply memorable rock tunes. Southern Air has to be one of the best records of the year, and this tour commemorates just this – and why Hopeless Records continues to dominate the scene.
The upcoming The Wonder Years three-track-sampler definitely has got me more stoked on the record than I even already was.
Of course, "Local Man Ruins Everything" has already been on repeat all week. It's arguably one of my top 5 favorite songs thus far in the year, and a great single at that. Soupy is full of fervor, and his lyrical abilities are top notch once again. If you haven't heard it, go stream it here - now.
"Coffee Eyes" continues with the energy of "Local Man" only times five. Soupy's vocals are raw and cutthroat here, adding emotion to the addictive track. The chorus will have you singing along after only a couple listens, as the guitars shred in the background. A different feel from the majority of The Upsides, this track is real and honest, with the different vocal style being a welcomed change.
Lastly, "Don't Let Me Cave In" is a softer cut at first, much more similar to The Upsides sound. However, once the guitars pick up and the energy is there once again, this track could prove to be one of the best tracks on the record, it seems.
Basically, this sampler makes one thing clear about Suburbia I've Given You All And Now I'm Nothing, it will be a record of further progression - of more energy and honesty. Get excited for the best pop-punk record of the year, as it's already pretty evident that Suburbia will be just that. Yeah, these songs are that good.
Everyone's favorite pop-punk album of the year, The Wonder Years' The Upsides will be re-released on Hopeless Records on September 21st with four additional tracks. After receiving the album, my verdict is that as expected, the additional tracks are great. No question about it.