[LIVE REVIEW] The Wonder Years w/ Boston Manor @ Stay Gold, Melbourne 06/12/2018

Melbourne could not have turned on any more extreme weather in the lead up to the inaugural Good Things Festival, with temperatures soaring.
And what better way to kick off a weekend of sideshows and a killer festival, than to have two of pop-punk heavy hitters double up for a brilliant sideshow together.
Proud Pennsylvanians The Wonder Years, and Boston Manor hailing from the UK were a perfect pairing when they played together at Stay Gold on Thursday night. It was super hot and sticky and the newly opened venue was absolutely packed to the rafters.

Opening for the two was local alternative punk rock outfit Just About Done, having just released their EP I Am Getting By in October, they are an up-and-coming band worth a listen. It was unfortunate that the crowd had not yet built up much when they were playing as I think they definitely could have gained quite a few more followers with more exposure.

The brief break and the stage was set for Boston Manor to embark on their first ever show in Australia. Formed in 2013 and having released 3 ep’s before their 2016 full-length album Be Nothing, this year they released their second studio album titled Welcome To The Neighbourhood through Pure Noise.

Opening with their song Flowers In Your Dustbin, they were very well received by the crowd who bounced and sung along. Commenting on how ridiculously hot it was, and yet how happy they were to be here, these guys plowed through a set of tracks picked from each of their albums. England’s Dreaming, Burn You Up, Lead Feet and Stick Up amongst them. Their closing song, happening to be my favourite of theirs, Halo. Given that these lads are from Blackpool, I’m sure that the heat and the jet lag would probably have been hitting them hard yet they put on a really good live performance. The sound was spot on for such a small venue, and if there was anyone there who had not heard of Boston Manor before I’m sure their performance would definitely have earned them a heap of new fans.

Now, normally at a show, a majority of the die-hard fans take up position near the stage and rarely move from there. However, with the intense heat of the night, many of the crowd stepped outside during the break to get some fresh air, or a drink, or both in most cases. By the time The Wonder Years were ready to take to the stage the room was again brimming and hotter than Hades.

The Wonder Years have been together since 2005 having had only one line-up change in that time. With six full-length albums and two EP’s to their name, they are one of the hardest working bands who have done more than 36 tours together.¬† The last of which to Australia was in 2016 with Knuckle Puck.
They are highly regarded as one of the best live pop punk acts, both by fans and peers alike so it was with much excitement that I waited for their set to begin.
Kicking off with a title track from the album, Sister Cities, released earlier this year, it was clear from the outset that not only were we in for a killer set but that the fans were in fine vocal form as well.

Local Man Ruins Everything, Dismantling Summer and Raining in Kyoto were punched out next in quick succession as Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell revved up the crowd, reminding us all exactly where they are from and thanking us for allowing them to come back which they were really happy about all be yet extremely jetlagged.
Next up was There There, Flower Where Your Face Should Be, Don’t Let Me Cave In and Washington Square Park. Taking a moment between each to catch their breath and stay hydrated at one point, Soupy even mentioned about having played summer gigs in basements in the middle of the desert but this was definitely one for the record books. In fact, he said at one point “This is where I die!”

They then moved on to Passing Through A Screen Door, Cardinals, and Cigarettes and Saints you could see the steam coming off their bodies as the heat was just so intense as was the energy of the crowd, despite the heat. I Don’t Like Who I Was Then and Pyramids Of Salt were the last two songs before a much needed break both for the band members and their equipment, as some issues were arising from gear overheating. And so as the guys return to the stage they are unfortunately were only able to play one more last track, Came Out Swinging. While we did have a shortened set by about 20 minutes, nobody was really complaining as they made a beeline to get outside for some fresh air. All in all though, this was a ripper of a gig even if it was one of the hottest I have ever been to. Knowing both of these bands were fronting up the next day for Good Things brought about a whole new level of respect for them.

Review Contributed by Jodi Maree

Gallery by Lynda Buchanan & Tess