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.

Top Ten Albums of 2015 [+ link to Mind the Gap]

As usual, I’ve made my list of the best albums of the year, including links to any reviews I wrote on them. You can click here for a playlist featuring two of my favourite songs from each release!

top ten of 2015

1) That’s the Spirit – Bring Me the Horizon
2) American Candy – The Maine
3) American Beauty/American Psycho – Fall Out Boy
4) Future Hearts – All Time Low
5) Life’s Not Out to Get You – Neck Deep
6) Blurryface – twenty one pilots
7) Life in Real Time – Paradise Fears
8) Automatic – Don Broco
9) Sounds Good, Feels Good – 5 Seconds of Summer
10) Vikings – New Politics

There was lots of other good albums this year, including Knuckle Puck’s Copacetic, The Wonder Years’ No Closer to Heaven, Young Guns’ Ones and Zeros, Muse’s Drones, We Are Harlot’s self-titled debut, and Nate Ruess’s solo release, Grand Romantic.

What made your list of best albums?

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.