Date: January 29th, 2012
Venue: Academy 2, Manchester
Support: Don Broco, A Loss For Words
Ever since the release of ‘Rise Or Die Trying’ back in 2007, Four Year Strong have quickly become one of the forerunners in this generation’s pop-punk movement, bringing a rather crunchier and heavier hitting side to the genre than usual. Still sporting their almost trademark beards nearly five years on from this, their first headline run of the UK in 2012 proves the hype is going stronger than ever.
Show openers Don Broco (****) are steadily climbing the ladder out of Bedford local heroes themselves, and with their debut album on the way they’ve got the path set out for them to ensure that this year. With a fun and energetic live show to boot, they’ve got the entire package. Avoiding old fan favourite ‘Thug Workout’ shows the band are definitely looking to the future and trusting their new direction, and getting people to sit on one another’s shoulders and vocalist Rob Damiani getting amidst a wall of death is evidence of a band in love with what they’re doing.
A Loss For Words (***) have been in the pop-punk scene for a while now, longer than their headlining peers, but it seems only recently that we’ve been taking notice properly on this side of the pond. Though it’s undeniable that frontman Matt Arsenault is engaging with the crowd and they’re lapping up every minute the band are on stage, those unfamiliar with their work may find it hard to distinguish one track from another. Their cover of Jackson 5‘s ‘I Want You Back’ brings a lot of fun into proceedings however, and it’d be unfair to say ‘Mount St. Joseph’ wasn’t the highlight of their set.
The crowd turns into near frenzy mode once ‘beardcore’ pioneers Four Year Strong (****) show their faces. New album offerings ‘Sweet Kerosene’ and ‘Stuck In The Middle’ burst the crowd into life, true evidence that the band haven’t been losing their touch over the past few years since they cracked the UK. It is however the older material that really gets the crowd moving and signing their hearts out, ‘Catastrophe’ and ‘Bada Bing! Wit’ A Pipe’ being just two of these highlights.
It’s not hard to work out that ‘It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now’ and encore ‘Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)’ are the most dominant set moments, the former setting the fans into an almost animalistic state and the latter managing to formulate almost the entire room chanting out the closing chorus “Wasting time / All along you were just wasting mine / Ignoring all the signs that point their way out of our prime”. Judging on tonight, it must really not suck to be Four Year Strong right now.
Written by Zach Redrup