With 4 amazing bands on it, The Wonder Years’ Upsides / Suburbia Anniversary Tour is a must see. The band announced the tour back at the end of February, and many dates (including the hometown Philadelphia shows) sold out.
Given the logistics of living a bit far from any given city, and having to work a ‘real job’ most of the time now *sigh,* I decided to hit the Baltimore date of the tour, taking place at Rams Head Live! just a few blocks from the Harbor. I had never been to this venue before, so I was stoked to check it out!
Since it was a Sunday, we decided to drive up to Baltimore as early as possible – that DC traffic is no joke, even on the weekend! We got there a few hours before doors, giving us time to check out the surrounding area. Being right near the Harbor, there’s tons to do, and we ended up getting dinner and drinks at one of the numerous bars next to the venue.
Getting into the venue was super quick and efficient, since they had multiple lines/entry points into the venue. There were metal detectors, and yes, they did check for proof of vaccination + matching ID. Once inside, I headed to the merch tables to check out the goods and say hi to Dieter Unrath (photographer and merch manager we interviewed in 2020) and Damb (Gami’s Tour Manager and merch manager). I didn’t get a chance to grab a photo of all the merch, but you can see most of the openers’ merch below:
The Wonder Years had their own section for merch, the clothing items of which you can see below. They also had posters for each of the albums, and a tab book (which Dan joked during the show they needed to help them relearn some of the songs).
Around 6:45, the first band of the night, Save Face took the stage. Ever since I first listened to their 2016 EP Folly and saw them open for Boston Manor in 2018, they’ve been one of my favorite bands! Their newest album, Another Kill for the Highlight Reel, filled most of their set, but they still squeezed in “Preoccupied” (from Folly) and “Bad” (from 2018’s Merci) for the older fans. Save Face was great as always; I only wish they had longer to play! Though with 4 bands playing and The Wonder Years performing 2 full albums, I’m glad they still got 8 songs in.
After Save Face, there was a quick changeover and then Origami Angel was up! Their 9 song set featured a mix of songs from last year’s GAMI GANG and 2019’s Somewhere City, plus one song from the 2019 Gen 3 EP. It’s amazing how much Gami’s following has grown since their 2019 debut release. This is by far the biggest stage I’ve seen them play (other places include my friend’s basement, a record store in Delaware, and Pgh DIY venue The Mr. Roboto Project), but despite there only being two of them, they still managed an impressive stage presence and commanded the crowd’s attention.
Beyond the musical part of their set, one highlight for me was at the end of their set when Gami walked off to Minecraft music (as they’ve been known to do), and the guy next to me exclaimed “Is that Minecraft music?!?” Hopefully the band’s awesome set (and perhaps the Minecraft tune antics) will encourage even more folks to give them a listen, and perhaps the guy next to me will enjoy their 2020 release Origami Angel Broke Minecraft recorded for Minechella.
By around 8pm, it was Spanish Love Songs’ turn to play. Of all the bands, they’re the one I’ve listened to the least, but I thoroughly enjoyed their set nonetheless. The majority of their set came from their latest release Brave Faces Everyone, with a few throwbacks to 2018’s Schmaltz thrown in. This was my first time seeing SLS live, but it was easy to tell why they’ve been invited to play with bands such as The Wonder Years, Rise Against, The Descendants, and The Menzingers. Overall, I really enjoyed their set, and it seems like a decent chunk of the crowd was singing along as well!
After another quick break (around 9pm), it was finally time for The Wonder Years. They opened their set with an excerpt from Alan Ginsberg’s “America” (the poem inspired parts of Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing) before launching into “Came Out Swinging.” Since I was photographing the show (shoutout Save Face for hooking it up), I got to catch the first 3 songs from the photo pit. From the first line, the crowd, and even some of the other photographers (me included), were all singing and dancing along. And from there, the energy kept going the whole night!
After the first 3 songs, I moved upstairs to the balcony as the venue was pretty packed! Unfortunately, I couldn’t really find a great spot to see, but the sound great. I still had a ton of fun though, and plan to catch their livestream on Veeps tomorrow so I can actually watch, too.
After the playthrough of Suburbia, the band had a brief intermission before starting back up with The Upsides. As much as I wanted to stick around for the second half, I had to leave early so we could safely make the 4+hour drive back home to be ready for work the next day. Thankfully, I’ll be able to catch both albums when they livestream, and I’ll be able to actually see!
Overall, this is definitely not a tour to miss. There’s still a few chances left, though most of the shows are sold out:
MAR 21 – Webster Theater – Hartford, CT
MAR 22 – House Of Blues Boston – Boston, MA (Will be livestreamed on Veeps)
MAR 24 -The Fillmore Philadelphia – Philadelphia, PA
MAR 25 – The Fillmore Philadelphia – Philadelphia, PA