The Wonder Years and Motion City Soundtrack Double Bill Doesn't Disappoint

click to enlarge The Wonder Years and Motion City Soundtrack Double Bill Doesn't Disappoint
Martin Harp
Last night, the Wonder Years, Motion City Soundtrack, State Champs and You Blew It! played to an absolutely packed house at the Agora. Headliners the Wonder Years came out to an absolutely electric crowd. The band kicked off the show with “Brothers &” and “Cardinals,” the first and second tracks off No Closer to Heaven, their new album released in September. The slow instrumental buildup of “Brothers &” was a perfect way to start the show as it built tension and riled the crowd up. Back lighting from spotlights, which were also used by Motion City Soundtrack during their set, made the buildup that much more epic, giving the performance that big rock show look and feel.

Later on in their set, vocalist Dan “Soupy” Campbell said the band would slow it down a little bit with “The Devil in My Bloodstream.” The song was a nice break in the action and sounded rather offbeat compared to the rest of the set. Before the song kicked off, Campbell asked patrons to take out their phones and shine their lights, which lit the whole theater up and put a spotlight on Campbell at center stage as he began to sing. Campbell's soft vocals over the peaceful piano melody sounded, making the song one of the highlights of the set. Of course, the track eventually picked up as the soft vibe was broken up by a change in Campbell's voice as began to sound loud, raspy and emotional.

Another highlight was the encore performance of “Cigarettes & Saints.” A second drum set was brought out and halfway through the song, guitarist Matt Brasch handed his guitar to Campbell and sat down at the drums. This was the only song that saw a guitar in Campbell's hands, and the dueling drums made the track feel large and epic. It was a solid change of pace and, paired with Campbell's thrashing on the guitar and powerful vocals, it was a perfect way to send the crowd home happy.

While Motion City Soundtrack wasn’t the headlining band, there was nothing about their performance that didn't scream “headlining act.” The band simply sounded amazing. Justin Pierre's vocals were on point and flawless. Not a single breath or lyric didn't sound sharp. That's not to take away from the rest of the band, which of course sounded just as good. Synth player Jesse Johnson's dance-inducing synth breakdowns during songs like “L.G. FUAD” and “Time Turned Fragile” were great. Motion City Soundtrack did an amazing job of mixing in old with the new.

State Champs, who were celebrating a week since their new album Around the World and Back dropped, started things off. At times, Derrick DiScanio's vocals seemed too low and hard to hear, when he could be heard he sounded just as he does on their albums. Performances of new songs like “Secrets” and “Losing Myself” and older ones like “Remedy” and “Elevated” showcased the bands new wave pop-punk feel and high-energy attitude. Be on the lookout for this band to blow up within the next year, if they haven't already.

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