A Punk-filled night at The Pageant

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A Punk-filled night at The Pageant

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Four bands, four different types of punk music and one unforgettable night. That is exactly what took place at The Wonder Years’ headlining show Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Pageant.

The first band on the bill was You Blew It! A five piece hailing from Orlando, Florida, they kicked off the evening with their emo flair of punk. Powering through seven songs in a mere 25 minutes, there was barely a moment to take a breath.

With the majority of the set coming from their phenomenal 2014 album “Keep Doing What You’re Doing,” which includes lyrics such as “You can always consider me a friend, just strictly in the past tense.” The passion that is in their music bled over to the live setting with ease. Each song came with choruses where up to three of the members were singing, and there was guitar talent to spare. Despite being first on the night, it was a truely incredible performance.

Next on the bill was State Champs, hailing from New York. The crowd was incredibly stoked for their set, and showed way more interest than for You Blew It! This was a bit unfortunate, because State Champs isn’t nearly as innovative with their music. Though their set was entertaining, it was filled with angry finger pointing, an overly energetic singer encouraging circle pits between each song and typical riffs and progressions that have been present in pop punk since New Found Glory came onto the scene over 15 years ago. Then it was innovative, now it is uninspiring.

Much like The Story So Far and Knuckle Puck before them, State Champs is a relatively new band bound to blow up in the next year, and hopefully with that momentum, they can take some risks in their next album.

Third up were the veterans of the bill, Motion City Soundtrack. Though this concert was billed as a co-headliner, they definitely still had the feel of being an opener. Coming off of their ten-year anniversary tour of “Commit This to Memory,” the album that cemented their status as pioneers of the pop punk genre, the band is older for the genre, but still just as energetic. With a 70-minute set that was heavy on fan favorites, the crowd was significantly smaller than State Champs’, but twice as passionate.

Fans screaming every line of every song were all around, and they were first -hand reminders as to why the band has been successful for so long. Their quirky version of pop punk was a fresh break after State Champs, and I couldn’t help but dance during their set.

Lastly was the main event; the “dinner and desert” as Motion City Soundtrack referred to them while hyping up the crowd: The Wonder Years. There are no words that could do their 75-minute set justice. Coming out and breaking right into the one-two punch of “Brothers &” and “Cardinals,” the crowd went ballistic. Lead singer Dan Campbell stood with arms outstretched while the song started, and then burst into pouring every ounce of passion that he had into the lyrics. The band pulled heavily from their excellent 2015 release “No Closer to Heaven,” but also played highlights from all of their albums. Tons of sweat was shed from those on stage and in the crowd alike, and the passion from both ends was obviously present.

With more mature lyrics and sounds than the average pop punk band, they truly thrive in a live environment. Josh Martin’s bass, Mike Kennedy’s crazy drumming and a trio of guitars played away while perfectly complimenting Campbell’s infectious energy as a frontman.

Though the band has graduated from the tiny venues that they once graced, it has been incredible to see their progression along the way. As I mentioned, simply writing about them does not do them justice, for seeing The Wonder Years is a religious experience that must be exactly that, experienced live to be fully understood.