Mini Show Reviews: October 2016

Bastille – October 5


I’ve seen Bastille twice before this (and have tickets to see them next March) and they never fail to put on a fun show. While their most recent album Wild World is fairly mellow, they’re so full of energy on stage. Singer Dan Smith was especially impressive this time – they’d cancelled their New York show the night before ours because he strained his voice, but he was still able to perform for us, hitting all the high notes with minimal effort. The first 3/4’s of the show was basically their album (minus a handful of songs), including “Send Them Off!” and “The Currents” (both of which I really like) and it was cool to hear because it gave me a better appreciation for their new material. Of course, my favourite part was when they broke into their last three songs,pulled from their debut album, Bad Blood, including my fave “Pompeii“.

This Wild Life – October 8


I’ve seen This Wild Life before (briefly at Warped 2015 and then opening for Mayday Parade), and, while their songs (which are mostly acoustic) can be very mellow, they put on a really fun show. Lots of energy and sing-a-longs, and the band members seem like genuinely nice dudes (we saw them hanging out outside the venue before their set). Opening bands Movements and Have Mercy were pop punk-y fun (I realized belatedly that I actually know a Have Mercy song, “Two Years“). This Wild Life’s set was just over an hour long, during which they performed some of the new songs from their recent album, Low Tides (such as “Hit the Reset“), as well as fan favourites from previous releases like “Pink Tie” and “Concrete” (which is really good live). My sister compared them to an acoustic version of twenty one pilots, which is accurate, and I hope more people start paying attention to them.

Sum 41 – October 18


Even though I JUST saw Sum 41 at Warped this summer, I was still pretty excited to see them headline. Opening band As It Is was as energetic as ever (I still can’t take Patty Walters and his constant tongue-sticking-out move seriously, but they were fun), and Senses Fail was also pretty good (their songs tend to blend together for me, but that’s just because I’m waiting impatiently for “Can’t Be Saved“). Sum 41 burst onto the stage and played for about an hour and forty minutes (longer than I expected), with a set that was a nice mix of new songs from their recent album, 13 Voices and “classics” from their 15+ years as a band (“Motivation“; the heart-breaking “Pieces“, which I forgot about but still love; opening with “The Hell Song“). Deryck Whibley has a surprising amount of stage presence which I didn’t really feel at Warped, probably because the stage was so far away, but in a sweaty venue, it was exactly what you want in a punk show. Obviously the highlight was “Fat Lip” (which they closed with) because MAN, that’s such a good song!

The Wonder Years – October 24


Our last show of the month was super pop-punk – just the way I like it. Seaway opened the show, and, even though I just saw them at the end of July, they were still very entertaining. I had been looking forward to Knuckle Puck’s set, but, unfortunately, they couldn’t make it across the border after getting into a fender bender (with a DEER)…instead, I put all my energy into jamming the heck out to Moose Blood (they played my two favourite songs – “Gum” and “Knuckles” – back-to-back, which means I almost died). I don’t know what it is about RealFriends, but I just can’t get into them (I’ve tried like 4 times), so I didn’t really pay attention to their set.

The Wonder Years is the type of band that I forget I enjoy until I randomly hear a song or catch them live. They have such great lyrics – my fave off their recent album, No Closer to Home, is “I Don’t Like Who I Was Then” – and, especially now that I’m 26, I love screaming along to “Passing Through a Screen Door”. They put on a solid performance (not every band can get away with starting a set with an acoustic song), and their encore of “Came Out Swinging” was everything a pop-punk fan could want.

Without you I’ll be miserable at best

Is there a band (or multiple bands) that you often forget you actually like? I feel that way about Mayday Parade. I actually quite like them, but for some reason, I tend to complain about listening to them. I can’t explain it, but after seeing them live on Thursday, I’m going to make a bigger effort to give them the respect they deserve.

mayday parade

The first time I saw Mayday Parade was as a opening band on the AP Fall Ball Tour in 2009, so it’s pretty cool that this time I saw them as the headliner on the AP Fall Tour.

The other bands on the bill were As It Is, This Wild Life, and Real Friends.

We saw As It Is at Warped, and they’re great live. I have a harder time listening to their album only because Patty Walters has a high pitched voice. It’s not a bad voice, it’s just higher than I prefer (like Kellin Quinn in Sleeping With Sirens).

We had started watching This Wild Life at Warped as well, but then wandered away in search of Mallory Knox (we ended up finding Mikey, the singer, so it worked out for us), and I was excited to actually see them this time. They’re delightful! They don’t like the type of band who would be all acoustic-y and laid-back, but their music is very boppy and, happily, they played their cover of Bring Me the Horizon’s “Sleepwalking”.

I’ve spoken before about how I don’t love Real Friends, and honestly, I haven’t changed my mind. Like Issues, they’re a band I should like because they sound like other bands I enjoy, but there’s something about them that leaves me indifferent.

Finally Mayday Parade came out. They opened with a song off their latest album, Black Lines, and then, happily, played “Jamie All Over” which is the one Mayday Parade song guaranteed to have me screeching the lyrics at full volume.

The rest of the set was full of new songs and old ones, and even a short acoustic section in the middle that included a tear-jerking rendition of “Terrible Things”. A lot of MP’s slow songs are super sad.

The highlight of the set was right before the encore: they played “Miserable at Best” which is another classic MP song I enjoy, and, after leading the crowd in a massive sing-a-long, the band walked off stage while the audience continued to sing the chorus. It was the perfect way to leave the stage.

We left before their last song (“Jersey”, which neither of us love), but it was still a good show. Give them a listen if you haven’t already (though I won’t blame you if you feel indifferent at first – they’ll grow on you).

Different tie, but I’m wearing the same suit

One of my favourite things in the world is going to a The Maine concert. I know, it’s awfully specific, but I love those guys so much, and they always put up on an incredible show.

We saw them for the seventh time on Saturday (technically eighth, since we attended an acoustic session/meet & greet with them in the morning).


Garrett, Pat, John, Kennedy, Jared

I have to confess, we missed the first band, The Technicolors, because we were next door at Factory Girl eating chicken wings (highly recommend, by the way). But we saw The Technicolors in November when they opened for Nick Santino, so we didn’t feel too bad (plus those chicken wings were really good).

Next up was Knuckle Puck. We saw them last year (opening for Man Overboard), and I remember enjoying them. They’re like a non-Welsh version of Neck Deep – pure, unapologetic pop-punk. I think I downloaded them a while ago, but I’m definitely going to give them another listen!

They’re friends with Neck Deep, which makes so much sense.

The other opening band (and, arguably, a draw for a quarter of the crowd) was Real Friends. We’ve seen them too, when they opened for The Wonder Years last year (on my 24th birthday!). They’re like an angstier (angstyer?) version of The Wonder Years, a bit more whiny, and honestly, their songs all start to sound the same after a while. I don’t mind them, but I probably wouldn’t see them on their own i.e. if they’re not touring with another band I like.

The best part was when they played “Loose Ends” with Kennedy (from The Maine) joining them on guitar and the singer from Knuckle Puck came out for a verse. I love when bands join each other on stage!

Sidenote: both Real Friends and Knuckle Puck are a bit more “punk” than The Maine, who, especially in recent years, veer more towards the “rock” end of the spectrum, but I found it interesting that a) these bands were touring together and b) both opening bands emphasized how different their sound is compared to the headliners. I guess it was an “explanation” of sorts for people who aren’t necessarily pop-punk fans and were maybe thrown off by the openers, but I thought it was great that The Maine was bringing out a variety of bands and giving them a chance to play “bigger” venues.

Finally The Maine came on stage. This tour is in support of their new album, American Candy, so they played quite a few new songs. At the same time, they played some of their “classics”: John played “Into Your Arms” acoustic (and cracked jokes the entire time), and two of the songs near the beginning – “Run” and “Growing Up” – were reworked so that they flowed better with the new material.

One of the first The Maine songs I really loved.

They also played a cover of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (by The Rolling Stones), and it was incredible. I’ve heard them cover many random songs, but this one really fit with their current sound, and they did a fantastic job. It was also impressive that they managed to segue seamlessly into “Love & Drugs”.

Like I said, seeing The Maine live is one of my very favourite things in the world. They’re always so full of energy, they’re surprisingly funny (looking at their serious promo shots, you wouldn’t really think that they have a sense of humour, but they do), and of course, the music is always amazing. They’re one of those bands that I start missing as soon as the last chord fades out. If you’re into pop rock with meaningful lyrics, give these guys a chance. You won’t regret it.

I’m sorry I don’t laugh at the right times

This Wednesday (the 16th) was my birthday and I celebrated in the best way possible: a new tattoo (Ro FINALLY agreed to get matching tattoos!), a new piercing, and a concert. We saw The Wonder Years on what can only be described as the most pop-punk tour of the year (I’d say it’s rivalled only by the Man Overboard/Transit tour next month, but I’m probably not going to it, so it doesn’t count).

I don’t know who’s who except the singer (the bearded on in the middle) is Dan “Soupy” Campbell.

I decided to give TWY a chance a few months ago – partially because I found out they were playing Toronto on my birthday, but also because they’ve toured/worked with a lot of other bands that I listen to. I describe them as “All Time Low meets Blink 182 with a dash of New Found Glory and a hint of seriousness”. In other words, they’re great! Not one of my favourite bands ever, but their four-album catalogue is pretty solid.

The first band to go on was Modern Baseball. We missed part of their set due to standing in line, but they were okay. Very young though – like, they literally had to take a semester off from college to do this tour.

Next was Citizen. All the opening bands had a similar vibe: college-kid pop-punk, is what I’d call it (that’s mainly a compliment).

RealFriends came on after Citizen. I’ve heard a lot about RealFriends and was interested in seeing them. I liked what I heard, but all their songs seemed to end very abruptly. Like, just as I was getting into it, they crashed to a halt and paused to chat. They’re on my list of “bands to see if we have time” for this summer’s Warped Tour, which means I’ll check them out again in a few months.

Fireworks was the last opening band. I’ve seen them before (opening for All Time Low in January 2013), and they were pretty much the same as I remembered them. They seemed a little more upbeat this time, and I know they just released an album, so I’ll probably give them another listen.

Finally, The Wonder Years came out. As I mentioned, they aren’t my most favourite band in the whole world (not even my most favourite pop-punk band), but they are enjoyable. They sound the same live as they do recorded (in a good way). The crowd lost their minds when TWY came out, so it was fun watching how other people reacted to them – you kinda feel excited just from association. I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite that many crowd surfers/stage divers in my life.

If I’m in an airport and you’re in a hospital bed, well that what kind of man does that make me?

All in all, it was a fun show (and the perfect way to celebrate my birthday!) and it only served to increase my overall enjoyment and appreciation of The Wonder Years.