Live Review: The Wonder Years – The Peel, Kingston Upon Thames, February 20th 2011

Following their big rock star support slot on the Kerrang! Tour, Philly’s The Wonder Years return to Kingston for a show that’s a lot more suited to them; tonight, it’s all about stage dives and high fives.

I last saw Apologies, I Have None almost two years ago, in the very same venue, supporting Broadway Calls. Back then, this newly-formed duo seemed to catch the attention of everyone in attendance while dishing out free demos. Fast forward two years, with a couple more releases to their discography and a line-up change, the now four-piece still have all eyes on them with their insanely catchy punk rock melodies and humble attitudes.

Newport’s Save Your Breath follow to a fuller room, playing their hardcore-lite inspired pop-punk. Having toured with tonight’s headliners in the past, there’s a good number of kids up at the front singing along and new frontman Kristian Richards seems as comfortable as ever, but it doesn’t really kick off until single Stay Young, with The Wonder Years’ Soupy being this evening’s Sean Smith substitute.

While there is a lot of hope of The Wonder Years playing The Upsides in full, these dreams are shattered as soon as Logan Circle kicks in, but this is shortly forgot about with the entire room going nuts from the off. Of course, the benefit of this not being an Upsides show is that we get to hear Keystone State Dude-Core and Solo & Chewy: Holdin’ It Down, which gain just as much response as favourites Melrose Diner and This Party Sucks. Frontman Soupy delivers his obligatory, “If you’re not happy with your life, do something about it.” speech and although, this is said every night, it’s voiced with just as much sincerity, before Washington Square Park and All My Friends Are In Bar Bands, providing epic sing alongs. The encore of Mike Kennedy Is A Bad Friend and You’re Not Salinger, Get Over It is a nice touch, with sweaty kids straining their vocal cords and probably all sorts of ligaments while stage-diving and crowd-surfing. This is a real Wonder Years show.

- Faye Turnbull.

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