The Wonder Years / The Swellers @ The Peel, Kingston
Dan Cadwallader reports on literary punk heroes The Wonder Years...
It’s official, pop-punk is the new hardcore - in the sense that blokes now take it really seriously and you get a lot less girls at the shows. Over the years, as New Found Glory and Blink 182 fans have
grown to from spot riddled adolescents to jaded young professionals, they’ve taken their music with them, and one of the foremost bands talking to this generation of older moshers is The Wonder Years.
The night kicks off with underrated mid-western skate punks, The Swellers. The band, a last minute replacement for I Am Avalanche, get a luke warm reception from the crowd to start but as the band begin to ramp us the energy the crowd do likewise. The Swellers are certainly not lacking songs, and the massive choruses of “ Fire Away” and “Best I Ever had” elicit impassioned sing-along’s from the punters, their only problem is they don’t have anything to truly set them apart from the crowd in the punk scene, nothing unqiue.
What The Wonder Years have is hard to put your finger on, but they have it in spades, and from the moment that Dan ‘Soupey’ Campbell and his band hit the stage, the small room at the back of
the Peel is a heaving mass of flying bodies and raised hands. The Wonder Years are essentially their audience, six guys in their mid-twenties, who love pop-punk, and who sing pop-punk songs about
being in their mid-twenties. This level of maturity in their subject matter (their latest album draws inspiration from a Ginsberg poem, while songs contain references to Bukowski and Salinger) sets
them apart from the classic “girls and high school” shtick of a lot of these bands, and their heartfelt energy has inspired a legion of devoted fans.
Songs like “My Last Semester”, “Come Out Swinging” and “You’re Not Salinger, Get Over It” are all anthems to that period in your life, post-school, where you’re constantly afraid you’re not going in the right direction and paranoid you’re missing out. The band’s trademark tune “Logan’s Circle” (named after a shopping plaza in their hometown) works the crowd into a complete frenzy as a number of too old and too over weight stage divers take out a good section of the front row. Whatever your feelings on pop-punk, it can’t be argued that The Wonder Years do that one thing that the greatest punk bands have always done, spoken the same language as their audience.