The Wonder Years Bring it Home to Philadelphia Review + Photos: The Wonder Years @ The Fillmore 6/9/18
PHILADELPHIA, CA- Living close to the Philadelphia area and its music scene is a pleasure. With countless music venues, attracting artist of all genre’s, its truly a melting pot of arts and music. Tonight’s show at The Fillmore is the second of back to back sold out shows for local band The Wonder Years and comes close to the end of their current run of show dates. The show, considered a homecoming, was originally scheduled for a single date but quickly expanded to two. Getting to the venue about 30 minutes prior to doors, you could feel a charge in the air, every local pub and restaurant was over run with euphoric fans out for a good time. Also on tonight’s ticket local band rock band Tigers Jaw, Minnesota based indie-rockers Tiny Moving Parts and the New York based punkers The Worriers.
Arriving at the venue during a thunder storm should have should have told me what kind of night this would be, as another storm called The Wonder Years on the horizon. The Wonder Years have developed a rabid fan base of punk / emo fans lured by the bands heavy guitar work, distinct vocals and blazing live shows. The Wonder Years are a six piece band fronted by Dan Campbell with band members Matt Brasch on guitar and vocals, Casey Cavaliere on guitar and vocals, Mike Kennedy on drums, Josh Martin on bass and Nick Stienborn on multiple instruments and vocals.
The stage was awash with strong colorful backlighting with volumes of theatrical smoke accentuating the lighting, The Wonder Years took the stage to “Pyramids of Salt” a hypnotic song with a wandering tempo of their latest album “Sister Cities”, which was released only a few months ago. But the tempo and electricity quickly picked up when they jumped into their 2015 anthem “I Don’t Like Who I Was Then”. In between songs front man Campbell greet the crowd with a “Hello Philadelphia, we are The Wonder Years and we’re from right fucking here in Philadelphia”. The crowd’s roar of approval could not have been more deafening. And with that, they continued their aural assault with a set that featured a strong selection of fan favorites and a nice chunk from their new album.
The Wonder Years created a surreal environment, showcasing a dynamic lighting scheme that at times appeared like a lightning storm, with strobe lights and backlighting creating a silhouette appearance to the band. The Wonder Years continued through its set list, its evolution as musicians made evident by the completely different mood each song represented. The involvement of the audience was growing by each song with a constant and sometimes overwhelming stream of crowd surfers going over the barrier, at times overwhelming the security staff.
Wonder Years songs are intense, and build from a subdued pace to a frenzy of screaming guitars and frenetic lyrics making each song a distinct and separate experience, taking fans on a wild ride or emotion, angst, energy and life.