The Wonder Years Close Out Greatest Generation Tour With a Bang in New Jersey 4-18-14

wonder years 6 edited 1 - The Wonder Years Close Out Greatest Generation Tour With a Bang in New Jersey 4-18-14

The Wonder Years Close Out Greatest Generation Tour With a Bang in New Jersey 4-18-14

Friday, April 18th, brought Philadelphia, PA natives and pop-punk power house, The Wonder Years, to Starland Ballroom in Sayerville, NJ on the final date of their “Greatest Generation Tour”. The supporting cast for this tour included Modern Baseball, Citizen, Real Friends, and Fireworks. The Wonder Years has seen immense success over the past few years thanks to their honest angst-filled, yet relatable, lyrics and a stage presence that screams energy and fun. Reaching the end of a successful tour that encountered packed venues nationwide, with many selling out, every band came to Starland Ballroom to lay it all on the line and make the final night one to remember.

Starting the evening off was Philadelphia based Modern Baseball.  This four-piece band including Brendan Lukens (guitar/vocals), Jacob Ewald (guitars/vocals), Ian “Slugworth” Farmer (bass), and Sean Huber (drums) has a sound many describe as a young Brand New with hints of Motion City Soundtrack.  They started off with the song “Tears over Beers”, then kicked in with guns blazing from that point on. In their seven song set they managed to get everyone dancing and crowd surfing, all while screaming along.  During their closing “Your Graduation”, Huber left his drum kit, grabbed a mic, and belted out the lyrics before jumping into the ocean that was the crowd.  Adding an even more grand conclusion, each member of the bands on the tour arrived on the stage to sing along.  Modern Baseball impressed everyone in the room as they continue to reach for the sky. They will be heading out on a headlining tour with Tiny Moving Parts, The Hotelier, and Sorority Noise, so be sure catch them in June.

Next up was Citizen from the Southern Michigan/Northwest Ohio area with a slightly more aggressive sound than Modern Baseball.  The five-piece band lead by vocalist Mat Kerekes kept the energy high and rocketed through an abbreviated but impressive set. Emerging during high school back in 2009, the band displayed a captivating and veteran presence on stage. Each song showed clear emotion and personal connections to Kerekes, which inevitability bled over into the room.  Starland Ballroom was well receptive to this energy and it is safe to say Citizen gained themselves some new fans.  Be sure to check out their debut album Youth.

Continuing the fun, Real Friends blasted onto the stage next.  Formed in 2010 in the Chicago, IL area, hard work and an independent attitude was rewarded in 2013 when they were signed to Fearless Records.  Now in 2014, the band has been labeled by many as one of the most anticipated bands of the year.  Filled with clarity, energy, and emotion; Real Friends shined bright on stage.  Vocalist Dan Lambton poured out everything he had as the guitar tones of Dave Knox and Eric Haines made for a full melodic sound.  Playing a nine song set including “Floorboards”, “Anchor Down”, and closing with “Late Night in My Car”, Real Friends was greeted with singing and cheering from start to finish.  There is no doubt Real Friends are enjoying their rise to the top and things can only get better from here as they head out on a UK tour and then return to play Van’s Warped Tour all summer long.  Their major label debut is scheduled for release in the summer of this year.

In direct support of The Wonder Years, was none other than Detroit, MI powerhouse, Fireworks.  This band is the definition of good people providing amazing music and a fantastic concert experience to all.  On the heels of their third studio album Oh, Common Life released March 25th via Triple Crown Records, the band is riding high.  Initially not part of The Greatest Generation Tour announcement, they took the place of Defeater on the bill and made the most of the experience.

Interacting with the fans at every turn with smiles throughout, they kicked things off with new songs from their most recent album.  Fireworks hit every note as clear as the studio recording, unfortunately their set was abruptly ceased due to a crowd surfer falling to the ground and needing immediate medical attention.  During and after this unfortunate event, everyone in Fireworks made sure the girl was ok and assisted in any way they could, really showing their concern and compassion for the well-being of their fans. All of us at CrypticRock wish her well and a speedy recovery.  The show went on and the band played inspired and dedicated to pleasing the room.  After an eleven song set they ended with fan favorite “Detroit” from their debut album All I Have to Offer Is My Own Confusion (2009) as everyone sang along making for a beautiful unified conclusion.

Having four bands set the bar and energy high, The Wonder Years arrived to demonstrate all the hype that surrounds them and why fans love them.  Starting out as a casual project, The Wonder Years took off to stardom in the pop-punk community upon the release of their album The Upsides in 2010.  After gracing the stage of Van’s Warped Tour and opening for New Found Glory in 2011, it was safe to say The Wonder Years were no joke and ready to dominate the scene.  Now in 2014, the band continues to tour in support of their 2013 chart topping The Greatest Generations album.

Kicking it off with one of their newer songs “There, There”, Starland Ballroom exploded with excitement.  The entire band fed off the energy and vocalist Dan “Soupy” Campbell grinned from ear to ear while starring into the mountain of fans piling on top of one another trying to reach the stage.  Playing a healthy mix of songs spreading throughout all of their releases, the set was riddled with new songs such as “Passing Through a Screen Door”, “The Bastards, The Vultures, The Wolves”, and “The Devil in My Bloodstream”. It was amazing to see how much the audience adored the new material from The Greatest Generations album as they sang and bounced around in sheer joy. Adding to the excitement, older fan-favorites “I Was Scared and I’m Sorry”, “Don’t Let Me Cave In”, and “Came Out Swinging” kept the energy flowing. The set came in at 15 songs and an encore song of “I Just Want to Sell Out My Funeral”.

The Greatest Generation Tour North American leg could not have ended any better for The Wonder Years, and all of the bands involved. The Wonder Years now begin the European edition of the tour with A Loss For Words and State Champs, so look out Europe here they come!

You can check out the full list of European dates below:
Apr 30- Loudfest at Komplex – Zurich, Switzerland *
May 2 – Groezrock – Meerhout, Belgium *
May 4 – Kulturladen – Konstanz, Germany * w/ Bayside
May 6 – Solus 2 – Cardiff, Wales
May 7 – Institute – Birmingham, UK
May 8 – Scala – London, UK
May 9 – Corporation – Sheffield, UK
May 10 – QMU – Glasgow, Scotland
May 11 – Fibber Magees – Dublin, Ireland
May 13 – Academy – Liverpool, UK
May 14 – Rescue Rooms – Nottingham, UK
May 15 – The Haunt – Brighton, UK
May 16 – De Helling – Utrecht, Netherlands
May 17 – Dynamo – Eindhoven, Netherlands
* No A Loss For Words & State Champs

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Jesse Murch
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Hailing from the forested lands of northern New Jersey, Jesse is an internationally published photographer whom has been freelancing for over five years, in which time he has worked for modeling agencies, clothing and apparel companies, world touring musicians, music and culture magazines and blogs, and individuals to create images that have stood out and captured more than moments. Having multiple images front paged and all published he strives to make every shoot memorable and stand out.

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