Summer is over, the days are getting shorter and the nights are drawing ever longer so it seems there is no better time to escape inside from the chill of these melancholy months for a night of emotionally charged pop-punk goodness. That’s right THE WONDER YEARS are finally back on the sunny shores and we headed into Manchester to catch the show at a packed Academy 2.
Up first are Leeds alt-rock outfit BEAUTY SCHOOL, riding high from their recent appearance at this year’s Slam Dunk festival the group present a fantastic energy in these opening stages of the night. As lead vocalist Joe Cabrera makes note of during the show Beauty School as an entity are relatively new on the live circuit, but you can clearly see in their performance on stage their playful synergy as a group, with a combined confidence that will be sure to take them places. And if it isn’t clear by Cabrera’s ever present grin these lot are revelling in being able to bring their music to an eagerly awaiting audience.
Next up are New Jersey based SAVE FACE. Clad in a uniform of red jumpsuits the group clearly have no intention of slowing things down just yet.
There is definitely a lot to like here for fans of that evergreen, early 2000s emo/pop punk sound but don’t be mistaken there’s a down right dirty side to Save Face as the group confidently slide into their fair share of breakdowns and fits of anarchic noise. The track ‘Sharpen Your Teeth’ in particular sees the band unleash those chaotic post-hardcore influences that lend the performace a particularly wonderful energy.
And speaking of energy, lead vocalist Tyler Povanda certainly exudes a more than generous amount. Not spending a single second standing still, constantly to be found bouncing from one side of the stage to the another, up in the air, on the floor or even climbing the speaker stacks. Although the crowd tonight seems to be made up largely of people unfamiliar with the group the set is received very warmley and it is not hard to imagine that a return to Manchester will be highly anticipated.
The Wonder Years
Opening the show with new album anthem ‘Low’ followed by both ‘Dismantling Summer’ and ‘Local Man Ruins Everything’ THE WONDER YEARS are clearly not going to be holding anything back for this one.
Despite the band’s dedication to following their own unique sound The Wonder Years have always been cemented firmly in that Pop Punk ethos and if the buckets of energy the band are bringing to their performance tonight doesn’t convince you maybe the sea of crowd surfers just might.
There is clearly a lot of love in the air for the incredible collection of songs that TWY have brought with them tonight, with a fantastic balance of songs both old and new, each being met with matching enthusiasm by the crowd and the sing-a-longs are lengthy and loud. The pauses in the action to highlight quieter songs such as ‘Summer Clothes’ only help to accent the energy of the rest of the show and really showcases the incredible songwriting on display. With curfew looming ever closer there was just about time to squeeze in one final go around. Closing out the night with ‘Came Out Swinging’ front man Dan Campbell is joined onstage by both Cabrera (BS) and Povanda (SF) for vocal duties and along with the ever present enthusiasm from the crowd it leaves the night feeling like a proper family affair.
All images by William Mawdsley