This is a bast from the past for us. The Early November’s spring/summer headline tour with The Wonder Years, The Swellers and Young Statues is one we were sincerely looking forward to. Check out our review of the show after the break.
On Tuesday, May 29 2012, all I wanted to do was get to the Metro for The Early November’s first Chicago show in almost 5 years. Public transit had some other ideas. A furniture store fire near the “L” tracks in Lincoln Park made getting to the show a nightmare. Suffice to say, I arrived at the venue having missed both The Swellers and Young Statues. And it seemed that many other show goers also experienced difficulties as there was still a steady stream heading in. Having seen one of TEN’s reunion gigs back in December, I was already familiar with Young Statues’ live show and I can assure you they are worth checking out; kind of a Death Cab for Cutie meets old Strokes vibe. Anyway, I hurried in, not wanting to miss any of The Wonder Years, grabbed my 21+ wristband, and headed up the big staircase and into the Metro’s main performance area. I always take note of the amount of underage kids at all ages shows and there were quite a few at this one. Most folks were crowded into the floor space between the stage and the soundboard. The Wonder Years made their entrance shortly after I arrived and all of my stress and frustrations from the commute melted away as a huge grin spread across my face.
The Wonder Years are from Philadelphia (well, Lansdale technically, but everyone from around Philly claims Philly) and I was born and raised just forty-five minutes south of the city. To me, The Wonder Years are a slab of home in the heart of Chicago when they come through. Kind of like when I make it to Philly’s Best, the cheesesteak joint at Belmont and Clark. Their energy is infectious and Dan “Soupy” Campbell and the boys launched into their sing-a-long filled set with all the subtlety of an atom bomb. Playing obvious crowd favorites from their last two releases, The Upsides and Suburbia: I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing, the thirty-five minute set flew by. The back-to-back billing of “Coffee Eyes” and “Melrose Diner”, two songs that take place in and are about diners, got a huge reaction. A group of friends that were standing in front of me all joined arms at one point and began jumping up and down in a circle. Soupy caught a glimpse of them and cracked a huge grin; this is what The Wonder Years are about. It’s about relating to the ordinary, about friendship and struggle, about failure and triumph. Their final tune of the night, “Came Out Swinging”, wrapped up their set in perfect fashion, whipping the crowd into a frenzy as everyone who knew the words to the song’s finale chimed in. I’m not gonna lie, I sang louder than most around me. If you haven’t caught these guys before and you’re a fan of bands like New Found Glory and Set Your Goals, do yourself a favor and get to a show.
The Metro actually cleared out just a bit as the stage was prepped for The Early November. Using a rather minimal set-up consisting of three atmosphere inducing antique lamps, Ace Enders took to the stage with an acoustic to kick off their set. The band is set to release a new album this coming Tuesday, June 2nd on Rise Records entitled In Currents. After having seen them play a greatest hits set list of sorts back in December, I was anxious to hear some of the new material, their first since they disbanded after the release of the triple disc The Mother, The Mechanic, and The Path. Well, I was to be disappointed. Enders played one new song, “Digital Age,” and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t even the entire song. About two minutes in, the rest of the band joined him on stage and they launched into a set very similar to the one I had heard previously. I had never been a huge TEN fan before I saw them live but now, I will go out of my way to see them. Ace’s voice is so much more powerful in-person and they have really worked on making their live sound as good and as tight as it can be. The crowd interaction was great if a bit more subdued than during The Wonder Years. Crowd favorites like “Baby Blue” and “Ever So Sweet” inspired some of the most emotive moments of the night with Enders extending the mic over the crowd during the choruses. The between-song banter was pretty hysterical thanks to bass player Sergio Anello, who is definitely the most outgoing and energetic member of the band. It’s also important to note that on this night, the band played without regular drummer Jeff Kummer, who had to head home mid-tour because of previous obligations. Despite playing with a fill-in for the first time, the band didn’t miss a note. Other highlights from the evening were “I Want to Hear You Sad” and encore “Every Night’s Another Story,” which was the right choice to close out a powerful and professional set from these millennial emo kingpins. Despite all the headaches I encountered simply getting to the Metro, it was well worth the journey as both The Wonder Years and The Early November turned in great performances, and for The Early November especially, a cathartic and moving one that signaled a new resolve and dedication to their craft.
Information about the review…
Tour: The Early November 2012 Spring/Summer Headline Tour
Bands: The Early November, The Wonder Years, The Swellers, and Young Statues
Reviewer: Ian Lashbrook
Date: May 29, 2012
Venue: The Metro in Chicago, IL