The Wonder Years // Save Face // Beauty School // Live Review // The O2 Academy II // Birmingham
Once again I found myself battling the horrific cold for a night of Pop-Punk fun at the o2 Academy Birmingham. The night’s lineup consisted of one of Pop-Punk’s most beloved bands, The Wonder Years, with support from Beauty Schooland Save Face. After the doors opened I quickly rushed into the warmth and the wait for the first act began.
It wasn’t long until the opening act for the night, Beauty School took to the stage and provided one hell of an opening set. Blending Pop-Punk with elements of Mid-West Emo created an incredibly familiar yet fresh experience that I and the crowd simultaneously enjoyed immensely. Despite the band not being around for long at all, I don’t give it long till they’re playing bigger stages (and being a six-piece they need it) thanks to the tightness of their performance and overall sound. A great start to the night.
After a short changeover, Save Face took to the stage. To say I wasn’t expecting their set to be as energetic and explosive as it was would be one hell of an understatement. With a sound reminiscent of The Used to top off the set, I couldn’t take my eyes off the stage for the entire duration of their performance and neither could the crowd who ate up the band’s energy and channelled it straight back into the room. Another great set that perfectly set up the headline act of the night.
After the final changeover, the band everyone came to see The Wonder Yearstook to the stage to an entire room of screaming fans ready to throw themselves forward. The Wonder Years are a band I’ve never had a chance to check out until this show and my god was I missing out. From the moment their set started, it felt closer to a hardcore show thanks to the heaviness of the performance mixed with the crowd’s relentless energy. There’s an art to putting on a good performance and I can honestly say that The Wonder Years made it look effortless as they devoured their set, the crowd kept throwing it back at them with waves of crowd surfers crossing the barrier and pits all night long.
After the show, I was taken aback by just how good the entire line-up was. It’s not a rare experience by any means, but it never loses its impact. Check out all three bands if you haven’t and just enjoy some damn good music.
The Wonder Years’ highly-anticipated seventh studio album out now, The Hum Goes On Forever,finds the band facing an onslaught of things outside of their control; a scenario that’s only further exasperated by the fact that it’s also the first album they’ve made since Campbell became a father.
Between pre-vaccine pandemic logistics, anxiety, postpartum depression, inherited trauma, and a band searching for their deeper existential purpose, The Hum Goes On Forever was undoubtedly the most challenging record The Wonder Years has ever made. And while it may have taken them hell to get there, the resulting music speaks for itself.
Named for a poem in the booklet for their 2018 album Sister Cities, The Hum Goes On Forever is a self-referencing masterpiece, and it finds The Wonder Years at their absolute, unequivocal peak. It’s a revealing representation of how the six members have all grown together as musicians; they know when to be restrained and when to explode, filling in space and emptiness as needed to create a record that mirrors the heart-torn urgency at its core.
THE WONDER YEARS – ‘Lost In The Lights’ (Official Music Video)
1. Doors I Painted Shut
2. Wyatt’s Song (Your Name)
3. Oldest Daughter
4. Cardinals II
5. The Paris of Nowhere
6. Summer Clothes
7. Lost in the Lights
8. Songs About Death
9. Low Tide
10. Laura & the Beehive
11. Old Friends Like Lost Teeth
12. You’re the Reason I Don’t Want the World to End
ABOUT THE WONDER YEARS
What The Wonder Years do so effortlessly is no small feat; over the course of the last 10+ years and six full-length albums, the Philadelphia-based band truly exists on their own island. One that, through poetic lyricism, ambient guitar swells, and Jimmy Eat World-levels of crashing momentum, has stood the test of time, surviving waves and influencing countless others to follow.
Upcoming live dates:
06 BOURNEMOUTH The Old Fire Station – SOLD OUT
08 LONDON Electric Ballroom
09 BIRMINGHAM o2 Academy 2
10 SOUTHAMPTON Engine Rooms
12 BRISTOL SWX
13 MANCHESTER Academy 2
14 GLASGOW St Luke’s
15 LEEDS Stylus