Gig Review

Wonder Years
A Loss For Words
Birmingham, Institute
11th May 2014

Wonder Years                  A Loss For Words


Photo Of The Wonder Years © Copyright James DalyI’ve been looking forward to tonight’s gig for a while now, I love the Wonder Years ever since I caught them supporting Saves the Day almost four years ago, and even then I was late to the party. But trying to keep an unbiased opinion, I arrive at the already bustling venue a little later than expected with the final support band already on stage.

A Loss for Words are an American pop/punk/hardcore band from Massachusetts, this 4 piece are already getting the crowd warmed up, with their melodic vocals and gritty guitars. They bounce around the stage and entertain this mixed crowd of old and young. They’re good but nothing special, they do a cover of the Photo Of The Wonder Years © Copyright James DalyJackson 5’s I want you back that goes down great but for me isn’t anything to write home about. They do a great job of getting the crowd pumped, but the songs just don’t cut through like I thought, they sound well and don’t miss a beat but it needs something more that I can’t put my finger on. Wonder Years singer Dan “Soupy” Campbell comes out to join them for Conquest of Mistakes which gives them an extra boost as the crowd goes crazy pressing towards the stage. They end there set with Wrightsville Beach and leave the stage to huge applause, it’s clear they’re doing something right as this crowd are now hyped for the main event.

Photo Of The Wonder Years © Copyright James DalyThe Wonder Years, take a bit of time to get to the stage with lots of sound checking and people running back and forward, but eventually the band walk out one by one and get to their weapon of choice and then proceed to blow everyone away with the sheer passion and power of their pop punk rhythms from the off. They start with There, There which starts of slowly as Soupy sings “I’m Just Trying To Breathe” before it hits the chorus and on his shout of “I’m sorry I don’t laugh at the right times” which gets the room exploding as the band hit the chunky chords and get this party started. They continue with Passing through a Screen Door which sees the crowd singing along to every word as they sing an Photo Of The Wonder Years © Copyright James Dalyanthem for everyone who’s felt alone and scared. Soupy then takes a moment to talk the crowd about their “shitty week” which involved cancelling a gig, having there van break down on numerous occasions, having to sleep at rest stops and having there sat navs do nothing, but then tell the audience that it’s all worth it though, as they get to be here and play for everyone, they then go into Local Man Ruins Everything, which gets people crowd surfing amidst the signs telling them not to, unfortunately the share drum brake towards the end of the song which leads it to be cut short, this ties in with their bad week, and the irony isn’t lost on Soupy who tells the crowd to talk amongst themselves as Photo Of The Wonder Years © Copyright James Dalyits gets fixed, before stopping and saying no, actually I want to take this time to thank you for being here! They eventually continue and build up the pace again with Cul-De-Sac, The Bastards, The Vultures, The Wolves before playing Everything I Own Fits in This Backpack which is dedicated to everyone who came and saw them in Birmingham 7 or so times ago when they used to come and play in tiny venues.

At this point the set seems to dwindle, it feels like the band are losing energy, they’re not bad by any means, they just don’t seem to have the heart like they did at the start, I’m Photo Of The Wonder Years © Copyright James Dalyguessing this is down to their hectic week, and might not be noticeable to people who haven’t seen them before but for me its crystal clear, but they continue with Washington Square Park, Coffee Eyes and The Devil In My Bloodstream. Before Dismantling Summer Soupy announces to the crowd how he can’t believe how far the band has come, they were never meant to get from the tiny basement shows and to be write here right now is amazing! This seems to get the band back on top as they put their heart and souls into the rest of the set getting me and the crowd stoked again. They play Don’t Let Me Cave In and Logans Circle before Soupy tells a lovely story about how the last time they played this room it was supporting Yellowcard and Saves The Day, and how as a kid he was so into Saves The Day it was amazing to be supporting them, when he was younger they had a competition on at schools across the country to get Saves The Day to play a gig at a school, and all they had to do was save up empty cans of soda, so Soupy stole a shopping cart from the local store and went round the neighbourhood door to door to get cans, he ended up filling his trolley and got Saves The Day to play. This story comes before their final song Came out Swinging which shows this 6 piece from Philadelphia’s more punky side as the 4 guitarists go crazy Photo Of The Wonder Years © Copyright James Dalyon stage and the rhythms all mould into one great burst of energy which sees the crowd go mental! The band leave the stage to huge applause before returning shortly after to play the epic 6 minute I Just Want to Sell out My Funeral which takes the crowd on a journey through mellow notes to heavy choruses which is pure energy and emotion and makes you think about the desperation and loneliness that the band must feel at times. The song comes to a massive end and the crowd disperse happy after an amazing showing by an awesome band.

Tonight’s gig overall was awesome, there were some slow points but it wasn’t enough to marr the pure passion that comes in a Wonder Years gig, unfortunately 2 songs where missed of the set list (An Elegy for Baby Blue and I was Scare and I’m Sorry), but this could just be a printing error for the tour, or because there van broke down on the way over from Cardiff meaning the set had to be cut short. But this doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things as there 14 songs they did play where epic and blew this crowd away!

A Loss For Words – 3/5
The Wonder Years – 4/5

Review By James Daly

 The Wonder Years

Nick Steinborn
Dan Campbell
Josh Martin
Matt Brasch
Casey Cavaliere
Mike Kennedy

 A Loss For Words

Matt Arsenault
Marc Dangora
Mike Adams
Chris Mullen

 Band Related Links
The Wonder Years Facebook
A Loss For Words Facebook
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?