Words, video & Images by Luigi Sibona
After a last-minute pull-out from main support, Sorority Noise, The Wonder Years didn’t leave us hanging, knocking it out the park with two killer sets.
The first, an impromptu unplugged set allowed them to showcase some of the lilting acoustic versions of songs from last year’s ‘Burst and Decay’ EP to heart-rendering effect. Hearing bone fide classics like ‘Local Man Ruins Everything’ (video below) and ‘Dismantling Summer’ kicking off the set is bold to say the least.
It’s a cliché to say but the old stuff has never sounded better. Where Soupy has been pushing his vocals on this year’s incredible ‘Sister Cities’ (full review here) and 2015’s ‘No Closer To Heaven’, the emotionality he’s able to draw out of these already powerful tracks is something to behold.
Their second set of the evening, going full electric, was every bit the cathartic fist-punch of a show you would expect. The new songs sound so big they threatened the very foundations of the O2 Islington Academy with setlist standouts including ‘Raining in Kyoto’ and the expansive album closer ‘The Ocean Grew Hands to Hold Me’.
Songs like ‘There, There’ and Thanks for the Ride’ were as anthemic as anything I’ve heard live, with The Wonder Years’ devoted fanbase singing every word as if their life depended on it. A huge, emotionally raw show from a band at the very peak of their powers.