The Wonder Years, Motion City Soundtrack, State Champs, You Blew It!
Friday, November 27, 2015
Starland Ballroom; Sayreville, New Jersey
Written by Kelly Peacock
Bands start off local and work their way up to playing thousands of miles away from home. However, there is the sense that home is not necessarily wherever you grew up, but rather wherever the music is. Squished next to hundreds of sweaty people with loving faces, jumping around and pushing each other, I came to the surreal realization that we were all at home.
Kicking off the show was Orlando pop-punkers, You Blew It! who…well…blew me away. The drummer was simply booming with talent as he poured his all into the performance. The lead singer had a raspy voice that jumped between singing and screaming; no matter what he was doing with his vocals, they were strong. There was individual talent between each member that came together harmoniously.
State Champs’ set followed and was an out-of-body experience. The room illuminated with colored lights, flashing in sync with the first note of the guitar and the first boom of the drums in “Secrets,” a song off of their new album Around the World and Back. There was so much energy in the room and so many bodies crowd surfing towards the barricade as we sang along at the top of our lungs until the band’s last song, “Elevated,” from their previous album The Finer Things. State Champs always puts every bit of their being into their performance and I was so happy to be standing in that crowd.
Before the show, I had only listened to a few songs from Motion City Soundtrack, but nothing could compare to the live performance they gave. The band has had a number of albums out since ‘97, so there were a variety of fans of every age in the crowd. For working as a band as long as they have been, I could practically feel how advanced the playing of their instruments were. The crowd shouted lyrics to fan favorites including “Everything Is Alright,” “My Favorite Accident,” and “The Future Freaks Me Out.” The band’s energy on stage was powerful and there was nothing but pure talent from this group.
Closing off the night was The Wonder Years, who opened with “Brothers &,” from their new album No Closer To Heaven, and
the chilling echo of voices shouting “we’re no saviors if we can’t save our brothers” boomed throughout the venue. Transitioning into “Cardinals” gave me such an elevated feeling. Hearing the live voice of Dan Campbell, the lead vocals of this brilliant band, almost knocked me to the floor. They played my favorite song, “You In January,” with the lights radiating above and behind them, giving off holiness to each body. Each song on their setlist was so much more powerful live, and things ended with an overwhelming cheer.
If you ever have the opportunity to see You Blew It!, State Champs, Motion City Soundtrack and The Wonder Years live, I most definitely think you should go. Drop everything, buy a ticket, and go to the show. Put yourself in the pit and sing your heart out. You can find a home with these people.