The Wonder Years – Gig Review & Photo Gallery 5th May @ The Triffid, Brisbane


The Wonder Years
The Triffid, Brisbane
May 5th, 2016
Supported by  Knuckle Puck, Our Past Days & Satellites

Every now and then you need a good dose of Pop Punk in your life, and not the commercialised singles bands produce which get whored on the radio, I’m talking about the gritty hard hitting lyrics of a band who have an important message to spread through their music, and there’s one band who does this so well and that is Pennsylvania’s The Wonder Years who returned to our shores for their first headlining tour since 2010. 6 years is a long time to wait to see these guys perform a set longer than what was given to them at Soundwave on their previous two visits, however they managed to surprise the crowd and myself with the taste of awesomeness they brought… But I’m getting ahead of myself let’s start with the local heroes Satellites.

These Brisbane lads have been doing the rounds for the better part of the past 3 years and in between that time they’ve undergone a few face lifts in the form of members coming and going. They’ve now found what appears to be their best line up and most stable to date and if tonight’s performance was anything to go by they’re certainly going to be remembered. With only one EP under their belt so far (and what a banger that was) the guys got straight into their set with their most recent single Glass Jaw (a big tune deserving of it’s place in my Top 10 songs of 2015 in last year’s “Year in Review“) and even though the room wasn’t too full of punters, the ones who were there got to experience front-man Mitch Chamberlain‘s full emotive screams which gave the song that extra vibe. Following on from this was Bones which had the boys performing on point, special mention needs to go to Mini-Travis Barker aka Scott Eckel smashing the kit like Barker’s second coming. Bassist Dan Goodwin seamlessly bounced off Mitch in sharing the vocals evenly and well. New coming rhythm guitarist Michael Beatson and lead guitarist Nick Bennett played as if they had been in the band from day one and the third song Plainview saw the boys owning the stage like it was their own show.

In an interesting display of appreciation, Satellites got stuck into a cover for their next song which happened to be Gaia Bleeds by Set Your Goals, which was a big move for these pop-punk kids to make, however for some reason their heavier sound made famous first by the American hardcore band just worked so fuckin’ well. I would pay more money to see these guys heading in a direction like this in future. A flawless rendition of Mistakes & Regrets came next before the guys wrapped things up with a brand new song called Home Sweet Home. If this sample is a taste of what’s to come on their new album, it’s safe to say fans will be in for a treat. I have to admit, I never really get much of a chance to catch opening acts nowadays, but I’m glad prior commitments finished early so I could see these guys in action.

After a short break, Sydney’s Our Past Days took to the stage in what can only be described as a fun, up close and personal set, complete with pop punk jams, crowd sing-a-longs and front row participation. It was my first time catching these New South Welshmen and it’s easy to see how they managed to snag a spot on the whole tour alongside The Wonder Years. Sydney’s music scene was repped well tonight.

A sore back forced me to relocate to the balcony towards the back of the venue (What? I’m old now and can’t gig like the youth that filled the Triffid tonight), but that gave me a better view to witness Chicago’s Knuckle Puck who were performing in Australia for the very first time. As they hit the stage you could tell instantly hear the difference between the American and Australia pop-punk bands. Their singer Joe Taylor‘s voice had that signature US twang to it which not only was catchy, but in some ways sounded similar to Pierce the Veil, which to me was quite attention grabbing. You could tell their fans had been waiting impatiently to see these guys (like a kid waiting to lose his virginity in High School) and the band did not disappoint. Crowd surfing doubled in size from the start to the end of their set however the only issue I could fault on these guys was that their songs were too short. Other than that, Knuckle Puck certainly left a lasting impression on us all. Very well received and deserved.

Following what seemed like an hour of set up, the lights of the Triffid went dim and those Pennsylvanian Pop-Punk Poets The Wonder Years flooded the stage and without missing a beat, jumped straight into I Don’t Like Who I Was Then from new album No Closer To Heaven which was met with a huge response of fans doing their middle finger salute as front-man Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell sang the lyrics “If I could manage not to fuck this up!”. A great way to get the crowd warmed up for the next hour and a half of hits, classics and B sides. Local Man Ruins Everything was next and we all watched as Dan’s microphone was thrown in the air, twirled around his neck and showed no signs of cutting off the circulation to his brain as he swung it around his body and spun in the opposite direction, allowing it to twist around his small figured, but hairy faced body. The band slowed things down next for the crowd favourite There, There but that didn’t stop the fans from belting out the words as the band played along.

If Ernest Hemingway was still alive today and just so happened to be at this gig, I’m sure he would have had a smile on his face when A Song For Ernest Hemingway had the sound coming from the speakers increase in volume by at least four times that of the previous track. Upon completion Dan addresses the crowd again and tells fans the band is very happy with the final result of their new album No Closer To Heaven, and so that should, the whole record is a piece of work which needs to be heard by fans or even music lovers who like to pick apart lyrics to see what is really going on inside the head of the man who wrote it. Next Dan moved the “conversation” into a spiel about how violence or hurting/killing things doesn’t make you a man, which lead into the song I Wanted So Badly To Be Brave and showcased not only the band playing together in unison, but the raw emotion brooding inside Dan’s body as we were all brought in to feel an emotional combination of anger, sadness and fear all from this man’s on-stage presence and singing. Not many artists can manage to do that on an album, let alone a gig, but this guy does it so well.

Moving on from Dan for this next song, Washington Square Park saw the rest of the band take the spotlight for the collection of awesomeness which managed to penetrate my ears at that point. It’s a hard job performing and capturing the audience’s attention at the same time, but all 5 remaining members had me trying to decide which of them deserved my full attention. It couldn’t be done, they all did so well for that track it was hard to pick a favourite. The beginning of The Devil In My Bloodstream allowed those front row to catch their breath momentarily as Dismantling Summer or as I like to call it “The Jumping Song” had exactly that, the whole crowd jumping together whilst the band left the vocal parts for them all to sing at the top of their lungs. Efforts by everyone in the room were doubled when Don’t Let Me Cave In began and we were all trying to keep up with the energy The Wonder Years managed to find hiding away inside their visibly sweaty bodies but all that was forgotten when Cardinals started up, can I just say, HOLY SHIT. This song live sounds absolutely fucking EPIC. The entire band was on point, harmonys, guitars, drumming, everything! Not one mistake was made and in my opinion this rendition sounded so much better than that on the album. I was stuck there not wanting the performance to end.

In order for everyone to calm down the next track on the list was A Song For Patsy Cline and this was the best way they knew how but that didn’t last long as Dan told us all a story about how in the States they did shows with VIP soundchecks, in which they’d play songs for the lucky fans who managed to get tickets. When they asked fans to let them know in advance what songs they wanted to hear (mainly because TWY has over 80 songs and they don’t remember how to play all of them), they were surprised so many of them wanted to hear Living Room Song taken from the Japanese release of Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing, a B side which turns out is more popular than they thought and has now managed to make it’s way into their touring setlists. During Melrose Diner I can’t help but think to myself how much Dan Campbell looks like a charismatic version of Fozzie Bear (from the Muppets) and Zack Galifianakis (from The Hangover) that can change the way you’re feeling in the blink of an eye, or in this case, lyrics to a song, which is exactly what happened with the band’s performance of Passing Through A Screen Door.

As the night slowly comes to an end Cigarettes & Saints delivers us a performance not to be forgotten as guitarist Matt Brasch ditches his guitar in favour of a second set of drum sticks and he bashes away with drummer Mike Kennedy in what can only be described as “mirrored drumming” for the uneducated, like myself. Dan takes his guitar and proceeds to continue playing where he left off as the whole band gets into this somewhat heavy ballad to round out the night. The song ends and the band exits the stage only for the Triffid patrons to chant (as expected) “One More Song, One More Song“. It doesn’t take long for the band to return to the stage and get right into Came Out Swinging, a song that fit the evening perfectly to wrap things up, but not before one final guest appearance by Knuckle Puck‘s singer Joe Taylor. The entire room cheers together as these pop-punk legends leave the stage making us feel all kinds of good about our evening. What a great show and lucky for us we caught the first one of the whole tour. If the rest of their performances are on par with what had tonight, then The Wonder Years fans are certainly in for a treat. – Browny (@brownypaul)

Photographer Candace Krieger captured the show below

Facebook: Candace Krieger: Photographer

Twitter: @candacekrieger

Instagram: @CandaceKrieger

Please do not use photos without permission :)


The Wonder Years

With special guests Knuckle Puck & Our Past Days

Friday, 6th May: The Lab, Brisbane AA
Tickets from

Saturday, 7th May: UTS Underground, Sydney Lic AA
Tickets from

Sunday, 8th May: The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle Lic AA
Tickets from

Tuesday, 10th May: The Basement, Canberra 18+
Tickets from

Wednesday, 11th May: Arrow On Swanston, Melbourne AA
Tickets from

Thursday, 12th May: Corner Hotel, Melbourne 18+
Tickets from

Friday, 13th May: Fowlers Live, Adelaide Lic AA
Tickets from

Saturday, 14th May: Amplifier Bar, Perth 18+
Tickets from

About Paul 'Browny' Brown (3767 Articles)
Dad, Wall of Sound Boss Man/Editorial Manager, Moshpit Enthusiast & Professional Beard Grower!

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