Bad Copy

The Wonder Years
Show Review

The Wonder Years, Tigers Jaw, Tiny Moving Parts, & Worriers in Chicago, IL

You've never seen so many people so excited for such sad songs.

Photo: Mat Stokes

Welcome to another all ages show review by Mat. As someone who regularly has to wake up at 4:30 AM, I can’t thank kids these days enough for having such exceptional tastes in music. Lineups this strong don’t come around often and the prospect of seeing four of the best iterations of modern pop punk while still being able to make my engagement across town at ten was too good to pass up. Having woken up before the sun that day didn’t make it less weird that it was still high in the sky when I got to the Concord. There was no line at the bar – and there wouldn’t be for most of the night – due to a combination of the age of the attendees and the prospect of nine American dollars for a mere sixteen ounces of Bud Light. Yeah… no.

The fact that Worriers was opening helped to wipe away the unpleasant idea of people actually paying those absurd prices for swill. Their 2015 record Imaginary Life was one of my favorites that year and their newest one Survival Pop gets better every time I listen to it. Given how early it was and how much people my age hate getting to shows before 10 PM, much less 5:30 in the afternoon, I was surprised by how many of those singing along were the older members of the crowd. This was definitely a situation where the kids who got in line before doors and never heard of Worriers went right upstairs after the show and bought all of their records. There is no question that Lauren’s post The Measure [sa] project is one of the best around and it’s refreshing to see so many embracing their important message of acceptance and saying “yes all cops.”

Following that was Minnesota’s own power-trio, Tiny Moving Parts. Ever since I saw them at Riot Fest a few years back, I’ve been hooked. I still can’t believe that is only three people making that music. It sounds like there are at least three guitarists, but I’ve shot their shows several times and it’s always just the one. Tonight was the same, only they played songs off their new ripper, Swell. One of my favorite things about seeing this band is that the singer seems to be having the most fun of anyone I’ve ever seen playing a show. They are a great band as a whole, but that dude’s enthusiasm is what keeps pulling me back in. Clearly I’m not the only one, because the crowd’s intensity also was starting to pick up.

Tigers Jaw was up next. Several years ago, a friend who substitute teaches would often comment to me about how shocked he was that his students had heard of Tigers Jaw. Nowadays, I can’t imagine anyone who listens to this generation’s Emo would not know who they are. Whenever I’ve seen them, it’s been a packed show. And for good reason; their shows are a lot of fun to watch. While I’m not the biggest fan of their material outside their S/T, pizza album, I always get a kick out of seeing them live. Tonight was no exception. The way the band and the crowd play off each others’ energy is like watching a choreographed dance. It reminds me of being a teenager and being excited about the first time seeing my favorite band.

Speaking of being 14, The Wonder Years. If there is one Emo band the kids are going to losing their shit over these days, it’s nice that it’s them. This whole tour is basically a bunch of really successful bands finally getting the credit they deserve for the way they’ve been constantly busting their asses touring and writing. Like Tigers Jaw, I’ll admit to being a bigger fan of this band’s earlier stuff, but hearing the new record live was enough for me to dive back in and realize what I has been missing. Sister Cities is a really solid record and fits in great with all the hits kids seem to want to crowd surf and scream along to these days.

One of the best aspects of this show was seeing the blend of people in attendance enjoying the show together. For all the talk of safe spaces without much to back them up, this tour did a great job of getting a bunch of bands that have no interest in putting up with that shit. The Wonder Years dropped off Warped Tour when they allowed Front Porch Step to rejoin. Tiger’s Jaw had to hire extra security for their tour with Pity Sex four years ago because people kept rushing the stage to kiss members. In that short time, there have been good people stepping up and it’s amazing to see so many people benefiting from that action. There’s still plenty to be done, but seeing actual progress being made is a nice touch.

I hope tours like this keep coming around. Given the shit we all have to deal with on a daily basis, a good show can be just what the doctor ordered. And if you can be in bed by 11 after doing so, all the better.

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