Alter The Press!


Live Review: Four Year Strong, Fireworks and The Wonder Years – Islington Academy – 03/05/10

Tonight is just over two years since tonight’s headliners first headlined London in 2008. Though the venue may have changed ownership and Four Year Strong’s star may have risen significantly over the past two years, the crowd is of a similar ilk. A good mix between hardcore-types and Kerrang! readers like two years previous, the majority seem to be here for Four Year Strong, which is a pity as the support this time around is far stronger.

It’s the job of Philadelphia residents, The Wonder Years to start the proceedings. Coming off the back of a very successful stint at Slam Dunk, the five-pieces unique take on poppunk is rabidly recieved by those in the know and definitely converts some new fans. There is a good mix of tracks on show this evening from the band’s debut album, EP, and the recently released album ‘The Upsides’. Though older tracks like ‘Solo & Chewy:Holdin’ It Down’ and ‘Keystone State Dude-Core’ are welcome additions to the set, it’s ‘The Upsides’ material that really shines. All five members give it their all bouncing around the stage, which sees singer Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell narrowly miss a painful accident falling face first off the stage. There are notably more hoots and hollers for the band by the end of their set.

Next up were Fireworks, hailing from Detroit, Michigan, they were also fresh from tearing apart stages at Slam Dunk and are well-recieved by small pockets of the crowd across the room. It’s hard not to enjoy Fireworks’ own take on New Found Glory, especially when it’s so clear the band themselves are full of self belief. Fireworsk use their time to maximum effect, cramming in a massive eleven songs into their set. The majority of the songs came from their album, however older tracks such as ‘Mountain Movers, To Lazy Losers’ and ‘Michigan Boys Need to Get A Clue’ were equally well recieved. Though Fireworks have plenty of good songs and put plenty of energy into their performance, by the end of their set most of the songs were rolling into one, and I had switched off.

The anticipation in the room before Four Year Strong took to the stage visibly grew, with tides and tides of people flooding to the already packed front. Every member of the crowd seemed eager to witness what was about to happen. The band hit the stage to a spoken word intro, which I didn’t recognise and burst straight into ‘It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now’. The crowd went off and the song sounded huge, with plenty of sing-alongs being had. Four Year Strong’s set was surprisingly ‘Rise or Die Trying’ heavy with only five tracks from their recent album being aired. The band were unfortuantely blighted with technical problems, with Dan’s microphone and guitar lead being tinkered with throughout. Despite the problems the bands performance was tight, and as usual Alan and Dan’s harmonies were perfect. However, whether it was the technical issues or tour-weariness, the band did seem jaded and the set seemed pretty rushed, despite a rapturous encore of fan-favourite ‘Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die’, which trigged a sea of crowd-surfers.

On the whole, Four Year Strong definitely have the tunes and technical ability to ensure that this current upward trend continues, but in terms of energy and performance, it’s The Wonder Years who stole the show.

Dan Issitt

Alter The Press!