Pop-punk heavyweights Four Year Strong rolled through Connecticut Sunday night on the second leg of their “Rise or Die Trying” 10th anniversary tour.
It’s no surprise that the Worcester-based band sold out The Ballroom at The Outer Space in Hamden; they’re used to playing in venues multiple times larger than the 300-person capacity Ballroom. Perhaps that was by design, though. After all, the tour is a throwback to the band’s 2007 debut album “Rise or Die Trying.”
“How many of you saw us back in 2007?” vocalist/guitarist Dan O’Connor asked the crowd. “I guess we’re all old now,” O’Connor laughed in response to the screaming crowd.
The band blistered through “Rise or Die Trying” in full, symbiotically feeding off energy from the crowd. Rowdy fans crowdsurfed, despite the danger of potentially hitting the low-hanging stage lights, rolled onstage and jumped back into the crowd. Vocalist/guitarist Alan Day seemed annoyed when one ill-placed fan knocked over his mic stand. When the fan jumped back into the crowd, Day gestured for him to keep moving back and away from the stage.
Fans clustered at the front of the stage jumped and moshed to the pop-punk-hardcore mix that Four Year Strong trademarked. From “Bada Bing! Wit’ a Pipe!” to “Maniac (R.O.D.),” die-hard fans screamed every word as Day and O’Connor traded rapid-fire lines back and forth.
While the meat of the set consisted of “Rise or Die Trying,” the band opened with banger “What the Hell is a Gigawatt,” off their second album “Enemy of the World.” With its battle cry of “Today’s the day that we start this war/Make up your mind and decide what you are fighting for,” it injected energy into the crowd that never once lulled during the band’s hour-and-a-half set.
Perhaps the only laid-back moment of the show was when O’Connor introduced a song meant for “anyone who’s lost someone close to them,” and the band launched into “One Step at a Time.” The moshing calmed down for the song, but the singing did not, as fans sang “One step at a time/One foot in front of the other/I’m gonna get through this one way or another.” O’Connor wrote the song about his brother’s death after a battle with leukemia.
The band closed with a mix of songs from “Enemy of the World” and their most recent self-titled album, along with “Stuck in the Middle” as the lone song from the polarizing album “In Some Way, Shape, or Form.” After the band left the stage, fans chanted the band’s name and “One more song!” The band obliged, playing two fan-favorites: “It Must Really Suck to Be Four Year Strong Right Now” and “Wasting Time (Eternal Summer).” A happy-go-lucky jam about care-free summers, “Wasting Time,” saw the stage slowly fill up with concert-goers, grabbing the mic and trading lines. Fans grabbed others by the hand and pulled them onstage. Day laughed when there was barely enough room for him to move by the end of the song.
The support bill for the tour is a roster of who’s who in pop punk. Canadian band Seaway provided direct support. Less than a week before the release of their third full-length “Vacation,” the band played singles “Apartment” and “Something Wonderful,” along with popular songs “Shy Guys” and “Airhead.”
Seaway was a fitting opener for Four Year Strong. They set the chaotic tone that would later be ramped up during Four Year Strong’s set. Fans crowdsurfed, pushed to the front and could be heard singing above vocalist Ryan Locke. Appropriately dressed for the release of the band’s new album, Locke wore sunglasses and a Hawaiian shirt onstage. He commended the crowd for their energy at the end of the band’s set.
Like Pacific brought another energetic performance. Frontman Jordan Black’s emotional vocals were hard to ignore. The band played an unreleased song from their new record, as well as popular songs like “Distant.”
Grayscale played to a small crowd early in the night but didn’t let it affect their performance. The Pennsylvania band sounded tight as they played songs off their recent album “Adornment.” Vocalist Collin Walsh encouraged fans to meet the band after the show at the merch table.
“If you wanna just come say hi, don’t feel like you have to buy something,” Walsh said.
Fans left The Ballroom tired and covered in sweat, but regretted none of it after a raucous night of singing, screaming, jumping and moshing.
Schae Beaudoin is the life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.