Live Review: Four Year Strong, Forever Came Calling and Light You Up – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham – 23/03/2015

Without a doubt Pure Noise Records have become an increasingly influential label in recent years. Having celebrated its 5th anniversary last year, the label continues to turn out a plethora of strong pop punk, hardcore and even acoustic releases. Having bought bands such as The Story So Far and State Champs to the forefront of the alternative scene, the label has started to venture towards more established acts. As the Pure Noise UK Tour hits Nottingham, tonight’s label mixes up the well-known with the up-and-coming.

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First up, representing the UK, is Light You Up. Having released one of the best releases of the year so far in ‘All We’ve Ever Known’, this tour is the perfect opportunity for them to play to crowds that should fall for their infectious brand of pop punk. Although they start off to a scarce crowd, the room soon begins to fill up as the Birmingham group pull in a set made up of ‘All We’ve Ever Known’’s most upbeat moments with frontman Tom Napier especially proving to be energetic. Whilst some in attendances may not be too familiar with Light You Up, they certainly leave many with a lasting feel-good impression. (4/5)

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Next up is California pop punks Forever Came Calling, one of PN’s most promising acts. Whilst they’ve not quite hit the heights of the likes of The Story So Far, they still have the songs to match. Their mix of driving guitars, thriving rhythm section and soaring choruses hit all the right marks. However like a lot of bands in the genre, FCC don’t offer too much different. Nevertheless for a band who are on their first UK tour, they put on a fun, tight show that gets a great response from the majority of the crowd. They maybe your run-of-the-mill pop punk band but they do the whole pop punk “thing” well and to the point. (3.5/5)

As for Hit The Lights, they are one of those bands that have always been on the cusp of good things however after a forgettable major label foray, the Ohio band have found a new home on PN and tonight marks the release of their latest LP – ‘Summer Bones’. However after a near 20 minute delay, vocalist Nick Thompson comes out and cites due a chest infection the band aren’t able to perform.

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Instead Light You Up’s Tom Napier comes out to provide us with some acoustic-based entertainment. His short 4 song set is light-hearted beginning with a cover of TLC’s 90s RnB pop classic ‘No Scrubs’ and ending with Bring Me The Horizon’s ‘Drown’, which has everyone singing in unison. It may have been impromptu but Napier manages to keep spirits up despite HTL’s absence.

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Whilst some may have been dishearted by not seeing Hit The Lights, Four Year Strong make up for it in abundance. From the start they know what this crowd wants and they deliver it in the form of ‘What the Hell is a Gigawatt?’ and ‘Tonight We Feel Alive (On a Saturday)’. With their bombastic, heavy pop punk sound, vocalists Dan O’Connor and Alan Day are throughly energetic and quickly send the crowd into a frenzy.

Whilst newer tracks such as ‘Tread Lightly’ and ‘What’s in the Box?’ keep up the momentum and are worthy additions to the FYS catalogue. However its old favourites ‘Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die’, ‘Prepare to Be Digitally Manipulated’ and ‘It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now’ that inevitably get the biggest response. Throughout drummer Jake Massucco and bassist Joe Weiss provide a thriving rhythm section that compliments Day’s and O’Connor’s chugging guitars and stringent riffs. Although there is little variation in their style, FYS are certainly entertaining.

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The encore sees the quartet delivering ‘Bada Bing! Wit’ a Pipe! ’ before ending the night with ‘Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)’ which brings the Rescue Rooms alive as everyone is chanting and clapping along. It’s a song that deserves to be sung out loud and is made to leave everyone with the biggest of smiles across their face. Having tried the major label game, Four Year Strong have found a new home on Pure Noise, one that seems to have a bright future. (4/5)


Words by Sean Reid. Photos by Carrie-Anne Pollard.

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