Pennsylvania’s Realist Pop-Punk Superstars, The Wonder Years, triumphantly returned to the UK for their first full headline tour since the release of their fifth studio album, No Closer to Heaven, in September 2015.
The Wonder Years always provide both a fantastic set and fantastic supports, and tonight was no exception.
Openers Tiny Moving Parts play a mix of emo and math rock which could be enjoyed by fans of early Biffy Clyro and American Football alike. In spite of being a three-piece, they managed to fill the stage with energy and charisma (aided by the size of the drummer’s fantastic moustache) and were a fantastic start to the evening.
Next up were the only UK band on the bill, Trash Boat, who seemed to still not be used to the British weather as the frontman was the only band member all night to wear a hoodie. Trash Boat are a band who have been jumping on support slots for a lot of great bands recently and the crowd seemed to really enjoy them. Their covers of “No Good” by Knuckle Puck, “Dammit” by Blink 182 and something by Black Flag seemed to really go down well.
Main support came from Toronto punk rock band, PUP. PUP play energetic, fast paced music and their stage presence really carried that energy through to the crowd, inciting claps and singalongs throughout their set of favourites such as “DVP” and “Sleep in The Heat”.
The Wonder Years started out as an easycore band (complete with synths), then became the forefathers of the modern pop-punk genre. Since inspiring hundreds of bands to create upbeat and catchy music with more serious lyrics, they seem to now be transcending the genre itself and becoming something new.
Latest offering, “No Closer to Heaven”, touches on a lot of the same themes as previous albums but the sound is slightly darker than its predecessors dealing with death, addiction and America’s gun crime.
Opening with the title track from the latest album with just an acoustic guitar and Dan “Soupy” Campbell’s voice was a nice touch and led into a set of hits from all bar their first album (which they strongly dislike) including a couple of songs from The Upsides, which many fans are upset they don’t play much from anymore.
While the singalongs that came from these old songs were great and made it feel like a standard The Wonder Years show, it was really the newer songs such as “Cigarettes & Saints”, “I Don’t Like Who I Was Then” and “Cardinals” that really struck a chord this evening and, whilst Stylus isn’t a small venue, made it easy to picture the band in a much grander setting in the years to come.