The Wonder Years // Origami Angel // Kississippi // Live Review // Leeds Beckett Student Union // Leeds
The Wonder Years join us in Leeds tonight, during a cloudy and grey transition into Winter. The Wonder Years are an American band formed in the early 2010s. They have around 9 albums already, if you include deluxe editions, and are a strong fanbase, most of whom they saw through adolescence and growth. Today, the band are supported by two other bands.
Kississippi are an independent band from America. The band is actually described as a solo project by the singer, but she is here supported by three other members. It’s great to see bigger bands sharing their stage with newer bands still finding their feet, which is becoming more common nowadays thanks to social media allowing networking to be more accessible. After researching, I was impressed to see that Kississippi have already surpassed 1 million plays on multiple songs on Spotify, despite having a modest following of around 50k.
In a pastel pink skirt, the singer introduced the band and immediately they got into some tunes that you could imagine listening to driving home as the sun sets.
The singer’s vibe was enough to sway the audience to their side. With her thankful and sweet personality. The singer gave a shoutout to fans at the barricade who had helped them in Glasgow when they were struggling with their amps (earning a blowing kiss from the fans in question). The singer had a smile on her face for almost the entirety of their set.
The vocalist has very soft and airy vocals that almost sound like a lullaby until the guitars come in. She’s further supported by the drummer, who adds great backup vocals. The vocalist had great stage banter with the audience, keeping them entertained between the songs and towards the end of their set even had the audience partake in a little dance making letters with their bodies to match the lyrics.
The band seem to be sorting a lot of things by themselves, having no manager – the singer having to disappear for a second to get some water, leading to the guitarist telling a joke to the audience. Once the singer returned, she apologised if anyone may see her “ass” as she didn’t want to dress unlike herself. The band went into their last song of the night, thanking the crowd for “being a dream”.
Origami Angel are an American band described as having a “fusions of pop-punk and fifth-wave emo” sound. They have a modest amount of followers on Spotify, with just short of 100k, and have just released their latest album this summer.
The 2-piece came on to the cheer of the crowd, some of whom seemed to have been fans eagerly awaiting this band specifically. The band kicked off into their first song and it was clear to see they were much loved by a group in the pit.
Now, this band have a great sound live, but with only two members, neither of which can move, I found myself wishing their was more going on on the stage as it felt flat compared to performances you may be used to seeing for such upbeat music. As my first introduction to them it felt like there was an energy that just wasn’t giving enough to get me wanting to check them out after the gig. Though they are clearly talented, I would’ve loved more going on and more stage banter from them to get me onto their side.
I could see one barrier member thrashing their head back and forth wildly amidst the static people around them. There was a group of younger fans who seemed to be absolutely buzzing by the band. Every song they would be moshing in their group and shouting the lyrics back to the singer, the singer smiling when he would notice their enthusiasm.
Origami Angel wrapped their set and the change over for the big finale of the night began. The audience seemed to have doubled after half of the night had passed. It’s always funny to me that some fans only turn up for the headliners. I can’t relate, my guy. I’m one of those people that spent their teenage years queueing outside venues as early as possible to get a good spot.
After a long wait, The Wonder Years came on the stage one after another, after a wave to the audience, they got straight into it. The crowd were the loudest they’d been all night and the room erupted into a flurry of cheers and a constant buzzing sound as they sung the lyrics back (which I always love to hear).
There hadn’t been a pit the entire night thus far, making me think that maybe this just wasn’t a band that had that kind of music. But soon the security were lining the barrier ready to help down the numerous crowd surfers within the first two songs. And there were many. Then as the night went on, a huge pit opened up in the crowd, aptly to the lyric “I came looking for a fight”.
It didn’t take long for the crowd to erupt in the Yorkshire chant, only further prompted by the singer giving a shout out to their lighting technician (whose birthday it was and who also happened to be from Leeds). The singer tried to start the Yorkshire chant in celebration, but pronounced it “york-shire-ee”? Which then made the crowd swiftly correct him by chanting “YORKSHIRE” once again. The singer had great stage banter, making the crowd laugh and cheer and even sing happy birthday to the tech and giving a shout out to the anniversary of one of their many albums.
The band wrapped up their set to “Came Out Swinging“, their most popular track. Every member in the crowd seemed to be singing along word for word, giving a beautiful send off for the band til the next time they land themselves in the beautiful grey skies and crumbling buildings of Yorkshire.
The Wonder Years have around 2 more UK dates left in the tour promoting their new album, til they go back to the US and perform a special concert on New Year’s Eve. Then they’ll then be back in the UK in May performing at Slam Dunk.
Ten years ago, Philadelphia’s The Wonder Years released The Greatest Generation, a masterpiece of an album packed with both the snarl and sensitivity of growing up. It has since been called one of the greatest pop-punk albums of all time by Rolling Stone; a tour de force of where the genres of punk and emo collide, The Greatest Generation has garnered critical acclaim over the years for its introspective and mature approach to themes like nostalgia, politics, grief, and the struggles of the working class.
To celebrate the album’s ten year anniversary, the band return to the UK this November for five special live shows. The tour kicks off in Glasgow on November 9th, before shows in Manchester, Leeds, Cardiff and Brighton, culminating in a show at London’s O2 Shepherds Bush Empire on November 15th.
Speaking of tour, frontman Dan Campbell says, “The second leg of The Greatest Generation 10 Year Anniversary is coming to the United Kingdom this November. We’re ripping six shows with our pals in Origami Angel and Kississippi where we’ll be playing the entire album plus a second set of songs spanning our whole catalog.”