The Wonder Years @ Manchester O2 Ritz (05/02/2017)
The Wonder Years Manchester O2 Ritz (05/02/2017)
With Special Guests Tiny Moving Parts
From start to finish this concert was over flowing with energy; especially from the opening band Tiny Moving Parts. Usually you see the start of concerts as moments of slow acceptance from the crowd as the act on stage convinces the room to continue listening. Tiny Moving Parts were no such case; the crowd went crazy for them. As this was my first time seeing this band I found myself feeling involved with their show from the start despite not being overly familiar with them. Though I had only recently listened to the band they instantly gained the love of every person in the room; a trick that not many acts could pull off. They kept up interaction with the crowd between each song continually showing their appreciation for being there and for people listening.
Though their lyrics are emotional and angry at times their songs are filled with unique riffs and unusual song formats. Their uplifted attitude alongside being so heavily active when facing topics such as break ups really altered the way the songs were received by the audience. Not a subject to be upset about but more of a shared feeling which everyone knows. It was seen throughout that this was the way they connected to the people in the room, through their understanding of difficult topics. Their activity on the stage consisted of a lot of jumping and dancing with guitars. This enthusiasm spread into the crowd as they too followed suit, as they created grouped of dancing and jumping around the front of the stage. Overall Tiny Moving Parts opened the show with pure confidence and I keenly await the next opportunity to see them.
The Wonder Years came on the stage with a lot of drama, as any headline act should. Only their silhouettes were visible as they all walked on stage and began to play their first song “No Closer to Heaven”. As it slowly started up; the crowd fell silent, all of them looking up as if they didn’t know Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell was going to be there. Seconds after the shock sinks into the crowd, the song ended to be followed by the hard hit at the start of “Local Man Ruins Everything”. A massive hole opened up in the crowd and people entered to run round and jump to the beat of the music. Others however climbed to the front barriers and held their hands up to Dan almost as if they could grab his lyrics from the heavily lit smoke in the air. Never at a gig have I seen a lead singer so heavily resemble a preacher speaking to his congregation.
With the audience hanging on to each word, I saw the emotional effect The Wonder Years have on people. In this moment, I understand how Dan’s songs explain a situation that is very personal to him but how the experience can be relatable to everyone in the venue. When discussing his emotions through every aggressive drum beat, the contrast being so large that you can feel it being processed by every person in the room. It’s clear that this is a band that really matters to people that they are held in such high esteem among their fans and what they do works on every level. Whether it’s performance or general live sound, the band achieved both with passion. The Wonder Years aimed to tell a message to every single person in that venue and it was clear the message was well received.
To my surprise they played two songs from their 2010 album The Upsides, “Washington Square Park” and “My Last Semester”. This really pleased the crowd, which could be observed as screams erupted upon hearing the older material. In a set list filled with songs from their newest album No Closer to Heaven it was nice to see they had made the effort to add some variety to the songs allowing all the fans to enjoy themselves. The crowd sang along, chanting each lyric as if their lives depended on it. Dan made an appearance earlier in the show during Trash Boats set and joined Tobi to perform their song “Strangers”. This experience was only improved by The Wonder Years encore as Tobi joined to preform “Came out Swinging”; a completely perfect joining of two minds. This was the most visceral experience I have ever had at a concert and felt that I too was drawn in by The Wonder Years and their charm.
The Wonder Years are currently touring Europe until the 18th February.