Live Review: Four Year Strong – O2 Academy Islington, London, June 3rd 2010

Following their recent Slam Dunk Festival performances, it’s a line-up almost too good to be true, as The Wonder Years, Fireworks and Four Year Strong all hit up Islington’s Academy tonight.

Philadelphia’s The Wonder Years kick the night off with their self-proclaimed realist pop-punk, with a slew of songs from their recent release The Upsides, including the likes of Logan Circle and Melrose Diner. Disappointingly, and surprisingly, tonight’s crowd seems almost oblivious to the band, as they go all-out and deliver a grade A performance – forgetting frontman Soupy’s near-backbreaking trip!

Up next we see the endearing chaps from Fireworks as they bust out one massively long set – by support standards – to the, again, mostly unappreciative London audience. It’s fun, straight-up pop-punk, with even a couple of golden oldies thrown in from their debut EP We Are Everywhere. The anthemic Detroit does actually manage to attract a decent sing-along and enthusiasm, before they wrap things up with album closer When We Stand on Each Other We Block Out The Sun.

When tonight’s headliners Four Year Strong, last came to the UK in October on the Eastpak Tour, it felt like the buzz around the band had somewhat faded, but this evening, after selling out the Academy, faith has been restored. Maybe that’s down to the release of their new record Enemy Of The World, as they open with its lead single, It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now, providing hearty sing alongs galore.

Of course, it’s not all new, as they deliver seven mighty songs from the album that made them, Rise Or Die Trying, and the duel vocals from Alan Day and Dan O’Connor, that spit out the likes of Bada Bing! Wit A Pipe! and Catastrophe, are astonishingly flawless, as they manically bop around.

Synth man Josh Lyford gets his chance to shine during the face-smashing What The Hell Is A Gigawatt, as he goes down to the barrier, releasing his raging vocal ability, in lieu of the record’s guest vocalist, Reign Supreme’s Jay Pepito, and does a stellar job.

New single and all-round favourite Wasting Time (Eternal Summer) receives an almost deafening response, from the entire room, before they leave and return for an encore of The Take Over and the Four Year Strong song Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die. Things can only get bigger and better for this band!

- Faye Turnbull.

Interviews with The Wonder Years and Four Year Strong coming soon!

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