Last month, Four Year Strong released the re-recorded version of their album Enemy of the World via Pure Noise Records. The album originally came out over 10 years ago and was a breakout record for the band. To celebrate the release of these new recordings, the band went on a United States tour with Youth Fountain, Microwave, and Knuckle Puck.
The sold out show at the Town Ballroom in Buffalo, New York was one of the stops towards the end of the tour and fans were partying like it was 2010 again.
Alan Day of Four Year Strong said about the re-recordings, “It was really interesting to revisit all of the songs down to every detail, getting to kind of relive it in a way. We recorded the drums with Will Putney (who worked on the original EOTW as a engineer), did the rest by ourselves at Dan’s house, and then had Will work his magic on it and mix and master it. We had just worked with Will for the first time since 2010 on our new album Brain Pain, and figured it would be perfect to work with Will as he knows FYS old and new more than anyone…”
When this tour was officially announced, I was not 100% sure if I would make the effort to attend because of so many other events happening this month.
The tour kicked off on October 14 and 15 in Chicago, with the October 14 show being sold out. A great way to kick off the tour and two hometown shows for Knuckle Puck. Coincidentally enough, I was in Chicago with another band at the time and even though I wasn’t able to catch Four Year Strong and Knuckle Puck, I thought to myself, “maybe I should actually go to the Buffalo show.”
Long story short, I’m glad I went.
To kick off the night, Vancouver based musician Youth Fountain took the stage. This began as a solo project by guitarist and vocalist Tyler Zanon in 2013 under the name Bedroom Talk. It eventually blossomed into what it is now, a project that’s exactly where Zanon wants to be. There’s an energy and determination empowering and showing that there’s a lot on the horizon for Youth Fountain.
It was my first time seeing Youth Fountain perform. Though I’ve heard of the name for a little now, I haven’t had the chance to see him live or really listen to his music.
2019 marked the release of their debut album and on November 4, 2022, Youth Fountain released the deluxe version of his second album Keepsakes & Reminders via Pure Noise Records. The record features two brand new songs “Birthright” and “Speaking In Tongues.”
On the two new singles, Zanon shared, “I was at a super low point in my life and needed to get some things off my chest emotionally. It’s really cool how I wrote both these tracks after the release of the sophomore album and it lined up for them to be bonus tracks on a deluxe version of it a year later.”
The second band of the night was Atlanta based band Microwave, who isn’t a stranger to the Buffalo area. It was at least their third time playing the area. In 2016, they kicked off a tour with The Wonder Years at the Town Ballroom and in 2021, they headlined a show at the Rec Room with Elder Brother and some other guests. My last time seeing them was at that 2021 show.
They asked the question to the crowd if anyone was at the 2016 show and I heard a few cheers. The band continued by saying that they love playing Buffalo.
I believe it was my third or fourth time seeing Microwave perform. They always put on an amazing set and I absolutely love hearing the song “Dull” live.
“Dull” was the fourth song in their setlist and after I got out of the photo pit, I ran around the venue to grab a better spot to view them perform. I don’t always listen to Microwave’s recorded music but whenever I have the chance to see them live, I instantly go back and listen to all of their albums.
Along with their song “Dull,” they played other songs like “Circling the Drain” and “Lighterless.”
“Circling the Drain” is one of their most recent single releases. The band, on the song says, “‘Circling the Drain’ is about living in a society. It’s about losing respect for people that you’re close with because they’re acting a fool. It’s about liberating yourself by choosing not to identify with thoughts, actions, ideals, and virtues that aren’t serving you or anyone else. It’s about choosing your battles and loving people despite your differences…”
My favorite performance of the night came from Chicago pop-punk band Knuckle Puck. It was my third time seeing them perform but my first time seeing them in at least four years. Their set was full of energy and crowd surfers. It was a great fit for the set that was about to come from Four Year Strong.
The last time I saw Knuckle Puck was in 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio for a festival called ‘Snowed In’. They played this show with Knocked Loose, Harm’s Way, Kublai Khan, Heart Attack Man, and so many other notable names in the scene. The time before that was in 2017 when they toured with Boston Manor, Hot Mulligan, Free Throw, and Jetty Bones (and arguably still one of the best tour lineups I’ve seen).
The band just announced their signing to Pure Noise Records and their future is looking bright. They are releasing an LP in 2023, which follows their last album 20/20 released in, yes, 2020. Knuckle Puck’s most recent single is “Groundhog Day,” a song that they performed live (and performed it well).
Though this new track is similar to some of their older sounds, it still feels new and excites me for what is about to come in the next year. “Groundhog Day is a song about being in the throes of depression. Repeating patterns, ignoring your well-being, and isolating yourself until you finally make a change,” says vocalist Joe Taylor.
Knuckle Puck also had some awesome merchandise for sale at the show, including a rip of a shirt that a hardcore band named Outspoken did in the 90s. “Knuckle Puck isn’t cool anymore… so what?” said the shirt. The shirt was sold out at the Buffalo date but if anyone on the team is reading this and is gauging interest, I would buy the shirt if you reprinted it.
I hope the next time I see them is sooner than later. Before leaving the stage, Taylor said “we will see you next year.” So hopefully that is a good sign. It was too long of a wait.
The final performance of the night was the one almost everyone was waiting for. Four Year Strong played Enemy of the World in full with other fan favorites thrown into the setlist.
It was my second time seeing the band perform but my first time seeing them in an indoor environment with a full production and lighting set up. The first time I saw the band was at the 2019 Rockstar Disrupt Festival and arguably not the best setup to see the band perform.
At points, I did think that their production at the Town Ballroom was a little too much for me to handle. While closer to the stage and in the photo pit area, there was a ton of fog (probably more than any other show I’ve been to) and some of the lights were a little harsh. But I’m not complaining too much about this because from a distance, the production was a great fit for them and their music. I was impressed.
The background that hung behind them was the Enemy of the World artwork and throughout the night, the lights changed colors based off of the album and at points created a nice silhouette effect to highlight the band members.
Crowd surfers were going up all night, even during the first song. People were warmed up and ready to go for their performance right from the start.
At other points, though, the crowd was immature and made me a little uncomfortable. During one part of the show, the band had to stop their performance because of a disruption in the crowd. I’m still not 100% sure what was happening, but it was great to see that Four Year Strong was able to stop to check and ensure that their fans were good and safe.
Towards the end of their performance, I was standing on the third tier of the Town Ballroom watching. There was a person walking up the stairs and a fist fight broke out. The band didn’t see what was going on, which is fine, but I feel as if it emphasizes the immaturity of the crowd a little more.
Despite all of this, it was clear that so many fans in the room were having a great time at this show and I would see all of the bands on this lineup again if given the chance. It’s also been cool to check social media about this tour and see that others are enjoying the tour and even discovering the opening bands for the first time.