Last Friday night, Four Year Strong brought their Tonight We Feel Alive tour to the House of Blues Sunset Strip.

I won tickets to the gig from the good folks over at Absolute Punk, which saved me some much-needed cash, money I spent on a sick FYS t-shirt. So I win.

Anyway, the show was awesome.

I love good pop-punk. I’ve listened to New Found Glory for about 11 years now, and in the past couple years I’ve become an avid fan of Massachusetts-based FYS as well. Their aggressive hybrid of pop-punk and hardcore elements works exceptionally well, and translates even better to the live setting.

I hadn’t seen them play a full headlining gig before, so Friday was quite a treat.

The first band I watched that night was The Wonder Years, an energetic band from Pennsylvania. Their Hopeless Records debut The Upsides, released in 2010, is an infectious collection of songs concerning fittingly pop punk themes: being bored of one’s hometown, wanting to get away, jocks and assholes who listen to ICP, and the like. I’m a fan of the record, and they put on a pretty good show Friday, if not for the crappy PA sound that made vocalist Dan Campbell’s voice way too high and the drums almost nonexistent. A good portion of the crowd was familiar with the band, and sang along to a lot of the songs, which is always good to see. Campbell announced that the band will be coming back to Anaheim soon and performing The Upsides in its entirety at Chain Reaction, so if you’re a fan be on the lookout for more information. Bay Area pop punk band This Time Next Year will be opening that gig, so it sounds like a blast.

After The Wonder Years, Canadian hardcore band Comeback Kid did their thing. I wasn’t really familiar with CK, since I don’t generally like hardcore bands, and usually find myself bored to tears when I watch them live. However, Comeback Kid impressed me in the same way Every Time I Die does. Like ETID, Comeback Kid’s fast songs were set to crunchy, melodic guitar riffs, which more often than not provided the songs’ driving force. That’s something I really like when it comes to hardcore-ish bands, and as a result I was pleasantly surprised by Comeback Kid. Too often I see hardcore bands just use the guitars as a background piece to the yelling and screaming, but Comeback Kid utilizes them in the manner that doesn’t make me fall asleep. Yay!

After their blistering set, Four Year Strong hit the stage, tearing into What The Hell is a Gigawatt? and instantly transitioning into On A Saturday (Tonight We Feel Alive), both tracks from their monstrously fantastic 2009 album Enemy of the World. My video of these first two songs is at the bottom of this review, so check it out.

Four Year Strong, a band of bearded men who mash keyboards and guitar strings with a relentless, punch-you-in-the-face-and-laugh-about-it attitude, put on quite the live show. They even slowed things down a bit, actually busting out an acoustic guitar for One Step at a Time.

Throughout their little-over-an-hour set, they managed to play almost every song from both records, including their debut record Rise or Die Trying and Enemy of the World. The crowd reacted to the energy onstage with the requisite crowd surfing, moshing, circle pitting, fist-pumping and passionately singing along.

I don’t need to expand any further on how great FYS is, as I already covered that on my review of Enemy of the World.

If you like the band and haven’t seen them live, you owe it to yourself to do so. Pop punk is indeed not dead, in fact it’s thriving at the moment. Bands like FYS and New Found Glory keep doing their thing, and both put on incredible live shows.

The gig on Friday at HOB Sunset was a night of pop punk bliss, and if you missed out this time you better get your ass to the next show.



The Wonder Years

Comeback Kid

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