The Birmingham Institutes’ Library room saw a packed house on a night featuring three great, yet slightly under the radar US pop/punk bands. A regular gig-er would have noted the great atmosphere on the night, no moans about the crowd for this one, everyone was friendly, social and there to have a good time, and enjoy the tunes- which should always be the mindset at these events. A really cool little footnote about the night: when the bands weren’t themselves on stage, many of them came out into the crowd, to further that amazing supportive, fun atmosphere, as they were also there to check out the bands and have a great night.
First up was State Champs, who are a fresh new quintet on their first hurrah in the UK, this being the second stop of the UK tour, the guys hit the stage with unrivalled youth and energy. With a fun spunky sound the guys are a force to be reckoned with, and have unquestionably got a following here in England, as fans were singing along to every song. Their sound is guitar strong, fast and punchy, if forced to draw similarities it would be with the likes of New Found Glory, but with better vocals and less bravado. State Champs are a fun addition to the pop/punk genre, and a great pleasure to witness live, they are definitely on the road to greatness and hopefully the recognition they deserve is soon to follow. With great tunes to burn some calories to, State Champs newest album ‘The Finer Things’ is out now, and their current single is the catchy ‘Elevated’.
Billing second was A Loss For Words. With an in-corporative and message ridden set, you can appreciate the talent and meaning behind the work of this band. Jumping into the crowd multiple times, lead vocalist Matt was ensuring the crowd were having a good night. And announcing the open opinions of the guys, with love sent to all races and sexual preferences, Matt was preaching with a sweet sincerity, that actually wasn’t out of place at a rock gig, but some prefer their mosh without a side of politics. Stage talk and behaviour aside, the performance and sound of A Loss For Words was joyful and powerful. The hit of their set was without doubt their ‘Motown Classics’ rocked up cover of The Jackson Five‘s ‘I Want You Back’
After a fun short cameo performance with A Loss For Words, Soupy, (lead vocalist of The Wonder Years) and his band were up to bat. After missing their interview earlier in the day, we were super happy to see the guys, as they had apparently endured a long and arduous day full of vehicle break downs and various travel-related frustrations. No spirits squished, superstar tantrums or bad moods here however, ever the professionals, these guys are used to difficult circumstances in order to pursue their art and passion. With a sound so significant and different, whilst still being in this current and prevalent quirky little pocket of rock, TWY are loud. The tunes are incorrigibly bouncy, yet highly emotive, (perhaps emo-punk?) but still fun and upbeat, similar in this to the two supporting acts, as these guys all laid everything out on the stage. They approach loaded down and leave free. The songs are about shit, and not shooting the shit kinda shit, but meaningful shit.. The Wonder Years are punk poets. And we thank you.