Cycling fever gripped Dublin on Sunday as the pulsating finale to the third stage of the Giro D’Italia took place in the capital. After winning a sprint finish, Marcel Kittel lay strewn on the ground, elated with his victory yet shattered, battered and bruised after three days of cycling. Several hours later a somewhat similar scene took place a short distance across the Liffey. Outside the doors of Fibber’s, revellers lay in a state of jubilant exhaustion. This wasn’t in anyway cycling related though. This was the aftermath of a raucous night of pop punk provided by The Wonder Years.
Not to be confused with the long forgotten TV show of the same name, The Wonder Years are a pop punk sextet from Pennsylvania. Touring last year’s ‘The Greatest Generation’ album, they open tonight with its first song There There. It’s one that captures the band in a nutshell with a plaintive understated opening giving way to barrage of thundering drums, driving guitars and vocal harmonies. It’s followed by two heavy hitters in Passing Through a Screen Door and Local Man Ruins Everything. Unfortunately the sound is slightly skewed for both which detracts from what should have been a blistering start.
The sound problems are only temporary and the band hit their stride once it’s resolved. Cul De Sac gets the band back on track: a song on which drummer Mike Kennedy almost beats his drums into oblivion. Everything I Own Fits In This Backpack and You’re Not Salinger, Get Over It follow next: more of the same, both are full of energy and passion. Speaking of passion, the crowd are nearly as much as a spectacle as the band itself, an endless mass of stage divers and crowd surfer puts the décor of Fibber’s to the test.
By the time the show enters its backend, the slightly shaky start is long forgotten. Dismantling Summer provides one of the highlights of the night. One of the best pop-punk songs released in recent years, it sounds even better in a live setting. Living Room Song and Washington State Park are equally impressive, the former showing the band can play at a slower pace when they want to. It’s their defiant call to arms Came of Swinging that gets the best reaction of the night, promoting a mass sing along in the process.
Closing the night with I Just Want to Sell Out My Funeral, the eight minute epic brings this thirteen song set to a close. Lasting a little over an hour, the set might appear a little on the short side but given the energy spent by both band and crowd, it’s more than enough. There’s not much left to prove anyway, The Wonder Years more than showed why they are regarded as one of the best pop punk bands in the world.
The Wonder Years Photo Gallery
Photos: Yan Bourke