Wednesday nights lineup of Modern Baseball, The Story So Far, The Wonder Years and Taking Back Sunday at the Fillmore in Charlotte was a time bomb that set off when the opening band, Modern Baseball took the stage.
Modern Baseball formed in 2011 after high school friends Brendan Lukens and Jake Ewald formed a duo and relocated from Brunswick, Maryland to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to go to college, where they met their drummer Sean Hubber and bassist Ian Farmer.
As soon as the opening chords to Fine, Great echoed through the room, hands shot up and bodies pushed forward to be closer to the stage. Lead vocals were traded every few songs between stage right, Brendan Lukens, and stage left, Jake Ewald; with backup vocalist and bassist, Ian Farmer, taking center stage in an interesting stage setup that created an interesting dynamic between the band.
The setlist included songs from both of their albums, Sports and You’re Gonna Miss it All. As the setlist progressed, the crowd got more and more into it, ebbing back and forth with an aggressiveness that was ready to be set loose.
The band came together for the genre expected gang-vocals in their song The Weekend singing “You got a smile that could light this town and we might need it, cause it gets dark around here, real dark around here. Most of my old friends I can only stand for the weekend but that doesn’t apply here.”
They were all smiles at this point as the crowd screamed their lyrics right back to them with intensity; with their last song of the night Your Graduation, the time bomb was finally set off. One guitar strum into the song and bodies were instantly being pushed up to crowd surf to the front.
One minute into Your Graduation and suddenly the drummer, Sean Hubber, was no longer on the drums but was instead taking the lead vocals for a verse while, Mike Kennedy, the drummer for The Wonder Years took over the drums on this track. Sean Hubber took the mic from Jake Ewald and hopped off of the stage to get in the crowd while singing along to the final chorus.
The next band was The Story So Far, whose on vocalist, Parker Cannon, is a North Carolina native from Greensboro. The Story So Far, from Walnut Creek, California formed in 2007 and got their name from the New Found Glory song with the same title.
The band is made up of Parker Cannon (vocals), Kevin Geyer (guitar/vocals), Kelen Capener (bass), Ryan Torf (drums), and William Levy (guitar).
The audience was still a burning ember from the last set and they were immediately re-ignited the second that The Story So Far took the stage and began their opening song Empty Space. The crowd matched the songs anger as they screamed “all questions aside, I asked and you lied” back to the band.
By the second song, Quicksand, Parker Cannon was signaling for the crowd to get even closer to the stage as he yelled out “trying hard, real hard, every day not to lose my temper” and thus the crowd surfing escalated it’s level and the mosh pits broke out.
The band played a balanced mix of songs from their first and second albums, including crowd favorites Daughters, All Wrong, Roam and 680 South from an earlier split released by the band.
The most explosive song of the set was the set closure High Regard. As the lyrics “what do you want from me? I’m just a kid who got in too deep” were yelled out, bodies were thrown across the crowd, multiple mosh pits started to grow and push the crowd from left to right, water bottles were thrown along with clothing articles and shoes; the only safe spot in the crowd was behind the soundboard.
The crowd shouted back the lyrics “You know you’re not as smart as you look, I’m going to take back what you took” to the microphone that was held out to them as the song ended and with one last thank you from the band, the set was over.
The Wonder Years from Lansdale, Pennslyvania were up next. The Wonder Years formed in 2005 from the remnants of a previous band and have had a fast growing following in the last two years.
The Wonder years are signed to Hopeless Records and consists of Dan Campbell (vocals), Matt Brasch (guitar, backing vocals), Casey Cavaliere (guitar, backing vocals), Josh Martin (bass, backing vocals), Mike Kennedy (drums) and Nick Steinborn (guitar, keyboard, backing vocals).
Their set started with vocalist, Dan “Soupy” Campbell, saying “Carolina! When I say jump, this whole room jumps” in which the crowd followed the orders on cue as “Jump!” was yelled into the microphone and the whole room was off of their feet, jumping to the opening song Dismantling Summer from their 2013 album The Greatest Generation.
They played a high energy 14 song set to an incredibly rowdy crowd of teenagers and young adults that were screaming every word back to the band.The crowd got rowdier, crowd surfers were constantly floating above the audience when the band threw it back to on of their older songs, Melrose Diner Halfway through their set, The Wonder Years slowed things down and played The Devil in My Bloodstream, which is a heart wrenching song about the lead singers grandfather. The song evoked a lot of emotion from the band as the crowd screamed the lyrics even louder than Campbell himself.
As the set came to a close, the lead vocalist took a moment to thank Taking Back Sunday for allowing them the chance to play a show with them. He told the crowd a story of a time he saw Taking Back Sunday at The Electric Factory in Philadelphia in 2006; and the crowd screamed in support as the band closed it out with Came Out Swinging.
The last and most anticipated band of the night was Taking Back Sunday, whose own Adam Lazzara and John Nolan currently reside in Charlotte, North Carolina. Taking Back Sunday was formed in 1999 in Amityville, New York and has six studio albums to their name. Taking Back Sunday is comprised of Adam Lazzara (lead vocals), John Nolan (lead guitar, back-up vocals), Eddie Reyes (rhythm guitar), Shaun Cooper (bass guitar) and Mark O’Connell (drums).
The time bomb that had been ticking away during each band’s set officially exploded as Taking Back Sunday opened with Stood a Chance.
Taking Back Sunday played an hour and a half long set that included songs from their newest album Happiness is… and plenty of old songs from their albums Louder Now and Where You Want To Be.
The older fans that were previously watching the show from behind the soundboard had moved up to the stage, the younger fans continued their crowd surfing and the band was in harmony with the energy in the room. The setlist included fan favorites Bonus Mosh Pt.II, A Decade Under The Influence, Flicker, Fade and Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut From the Team) to name a few.
Adam Lazzara didn’t disappoint with his numerous microphone swings and high energy performance throughout the set, he was never in one spot on the stage for very long and catered to the crowd. Halfway through the set Taking Back Sunday slowed it down to play an emotional Better Homes and Garden’s. This was the one part of the show where the crowd as a whole settled down to just listen to the lyrics and take in the meaning of the emotion heavy song.
However, the energy picked right back up with Error:Operator and the crowd shoved each other, they screamed the lyrics and they pumped their hands in the air.
By 11:00 pm Taking Back Sunday left the stage for a brief few minutes before they returned for their encore of three songs that included: All the Way, Call Me in the Morning and MakeDamnSure.
Overall, the night was filled with great music and performances. The high energy from the crowd fueled the artists and made the show even better. While this was the end of a tour for Taking Back Sunday, it was just the beginning of a tour for The Wonder Years, The Story So Far, Modern Baseball and Gnarwolves (whom didn’t play at this show).
Listen to “Happiness Is” by Taking Back Sunday.