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Live Review: The Wonder Years w/ Knuckle Puck & Our Past Days @ The Triffid

The Wonder Years + Knuckle Puck + Our Past Days + Satellies @ The Triffid 05-05-16 (38)

After a cancelled headline tour last year prohibited The Wonder Years from venturing down under, there was a hype like no other as we headed into The Triffid to see the Pennsylvanian sextet first headlining show in Australia in six years.

Opening proceedings were Sydney pop punk newcomers Our Past Days. It’s always a tough ask being relatively new to the scene and having to open for an international band. However, a relatively inactive crowd didn’t stop Our Past Days from doing their thang. Cruising through their set with seamless transition and an energetic stage presence was all you could want from an opening band. With a handful of fans amongst the sea of Wonder Years and Knuckle Puck sweaters, it was nice to see the crowd pick up and give the band the credit they deserved as they ripped into last song, Bloom Where You’re Planted.

In a seemingly sudden surge, the aircraft hanger-like ‘Triffid was flooded with an onslaught of pop punk’s biggest fans as they prepared for Chicago’s Knuckle Puck to play their first ever Australian show. Four years since releasing their first EP, it was an excruciatingly long wait to see the oddly named punk band live in our homeland. As much as we love pop punk, we were a bit sceptical as to whether or not Knuckle Puck would live up to the hype whilst trying to overcome jet-lag. But we do enjoy being wrong every now and then, and the moment the band hit the stage they sounded as tight as their hometown shows (really good in case you don’t follow).

The Wonder Years + Knuckle Puck + Our Past Days + Satellies @ The Triffid 05-05-16 (6)

Even with the release of their latest album ‘Copectic’  last year, the 5-piece made it a point to give us Brisbanites everything we’ve been hanging out for. Playing a balanced set spanning across their entire discography, Knuckle Puck pumped out old tunes Why Would You Care and Give Up whilst highlighting their growth with newer singles Pretense and True Contrite. Following the set, we got to have a quick catch up with Knuckle Puck’s drummer John Siorek and gauged his vibe after their first Aussie show:

“It was awesome! We didn’t really know what to expect ’cause we’ve never been here before, and I mean, it’s kind of hard to tell how the crowd is from behind the drums (laughs). But whenever I glanced up it seemed like kids knew the words and were climbing around on top of each other just like they do at home, so it felt very welcoming, especially for our first show here ever!”

A nice break following Knuckle Puck’s set was much needed as the crowd desperately hydrated before they lost it all again to The Wonder Years incredible, mammoth set. At first sight of singer Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell’s beard, The Triffid was spun into a frenzy as the The Wonder Years opened with fan favourite I Don’t Like Who I Was Then. The tightness and experience of the decade-old band was evident immediately, and the pound of the bass drum shook every body in the room.

The Wonder Years + Knuckle Puck + Our Past Days + Satellies @ The Triffid 05-05-16 (22)

There, There was a hallmark of the night. The slow, evocative beginning was an ambient, soft touch that mellowed the set nicely before opening into a massive sing-a-long punk chorus – a technique that’s common place in The Wonder Years’ work.

As the night drew to an unwanted end the sextet crushed other fan favourites Don’t Let Me Cave In and Cardinals, and also brought out an unexpected B side acoustic track that caught everyone off guard. Living Room Song’s inclusion was the pinnacle of the night, perfectly conveying The Wonder Years deep gratitude for their fans – choosing to play (just for us) a song that is so well loved and rarely seen live.

Rounding out the night with an encore of Came Out Swinging, The Wonder Years left Brisbane stoked and primed for more. Not only did they prove why they’re one of the biggest names in contemporary pop punk, they went above and beyond in providing the crowd with a set that was energetic, interactive, and insane in the best kind of way. The sooner they and Knuckle Puck come back down under the better!

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Written by Sam Muggleton