Date: February 18th, 2017
Venue: The Academy 2, Dublin
Line-up: Four Year Strong + Versive + The Winter Passing + Stairwells
While it’s become a somewhat common sight to see the bigger, older bands announcing tours to celebrate those monumental and influential albums (think Fear Factory’s Demanufacture which turned 20 years old in 2015 or Anthrax celebrating 30 years of their classic Among the Living), it’s still a commodity for younger bands. However, these bands quickly remind us that they aren’t those young kids anymore with more than a handful of noughties bands starting to celebrate 10 years of their ‘classic’ albums. Pop punk kings Four Year Strong this year celebrate 10 years since the release of their second album Rise or Die Trying, the album which catapulted their towards mainstream success and gain them a devoted fanbase.
Opening the show today are a collection of some of the finest pop punk and rock bands that Dublin has to offer, who in no small part have been influenced by tonight’s headliners. The first of these was Stairwells, a young melodic hardcore band that thrilled the crowd with an emotionally charged performance led by vocalist Ian Kelly. The Winter Passing, a mainstay at many of the major pop punk shows in Dublin proved why they’re a scene leader with their bright and upbeat set with co-vocalists Rob and Kate Flynn. Finally we come to Versive who turns those amps up to 11 with their hard hitting, punchy rock which featured three guitarists on stage, it was equally entertaining watching towering frontman Kelan trying not to bash his head on the low beams on the ceiling.
Four Year Strong took to the stage and jumped into their set with little delay, getting the crowd pumped with the chants of “this is your last warning, our time has come and we’re going straight on till morning” of the albums opening track ‘The Take Over’. Their infectious high energy pop punk got the crowd moving and jumping, very aggressively in some places unfortunately. Of course there’s no forgetting that hardcore influence that runs through many of the bands tracks which encouraged equal parts moshing with the energetic jumping, they also threw in a cheeky nod to slayer in ‘Beatdown in the Key of Happy’ which many noticed and went insane over. The strong melodies in every track ensured that the loud crowd singing never let up for the entire set from the feel good chorus of ‘Wrecked Em? Damn Near Killed Em’ to the gang shouts of “rise or die, here at the top of the world” in ‘Maniac’ which closed out the first half of their set.
The band were fairly quiet with very little chatting between songs, although they did note that it was the first time they played in a venue where they were so low and close to the crowd and yet still had a barrier up, which made the set seem very rushed. After a brief respite, there was another short set of some of the bands other hit songs with the likes of ‘We All Float Down Here’ and ‘It Must Really Suck to Be Four Year Strong Right Now’ keeping that high momentum from the first set going. The band rounded out their set with the huge anthem ‘Wasting Time’, inviting the crowd to push up to the front and sing the words straight to their faces if they knew them. This final track wasn’t enough for this crowd, however, as the crowd quickly began chanting the band’s name and the trademark Irish “ole’s” prompting the band to push out one more track before they had to leave for real.