The Pure Noise Tour with State Champs, Real Friends, Four Year Strong, Just Friends, and Bearings
Brooklyn, NY – October 20th, 2021
It’s safe to say that we have all heard the saying “Pop-Punk is not a phase” at least once in our lives. For many, pop-punk is just that: a phase. The guitar riffs and angsty lyricism speaks to us during our adolescence, but as we grow older, some of us move on from our beloved emo days. However, for all of us inside Brooklyn’s Warsaw on the evening of October 20th, that was not the case.
The Pure Noise Records Tour, sponsored by one of the top record labels in the pop-punk genre, had arrived in New York City to wrap up the final leg of the tour. I arrived at Brooklyn’s Warsaw (the venue with the best slogan: “where pierogis meet punk”), for a night of pop-punk mayhem. However, no pop-punk show is complete without its share of technical difficulties and there were plenty that evening.
Arriving ten minutes late, Canadian pop-punk band Bearings took the stage for a short, but sweet set. Though the venue was only about half full, the energy of those in attendance more than certainly made up for it. The band’s 25 minute setlist featured hits from their recent album Hello, It’s You, like “Sway”. As well as some old favorites, “Eyes Closed” from their debut album Blue in the Dark.
A rapid fire set change ensued before California based punk band, Just Friends, took the stage and made Warsaw their playground. Their quick set was made memorable through their high energy on stage performance and killer stage presence. Equipped with choreography that the entire band participated in (while playing their instruments! Hello!), I couldn’t help but smile from cheek to cheek watching them perform.
Though Just Friends offered a sound that varied slightly from other bands on the tour lineup, it was refreshing to see a band of this style on the roster that evening.
Another set changed ensued as the clock ran later and later. Halfway through the show and things were running about 30 minutes behind schedule. Just when technical difficulties couldn’t be worse, Worcester, MA based Four Year Strong, took to the stage and performed in little to no light. The lighting rig atop the ceiling of the venue had completely busted, but the band didn’t let that stop them.
Crowd surfers were pouring over the barricade at a pace that even security couldn’t keep up with. It was up to us photographers to take our photos and catch bodies floating over the barricade with our other hand. No complaints here though, this is the true essence of a pop-punk show! This being my first time seeing Four Year Strong live, I felt that the band killed it with what they were handed. A crunched set time due to increasingly long performances ahead of them and a lighting rig that busted moments before they took the stage. Four Year Strong took their lemons and made the best damn lemonade I’ve ever tasted!
Four Year Strong
Up next, Chicago based pop-punk veterans, Real Friends, took to the stage. By this point, set times were rendered useless and we were all just here to have a good time. During the pandemic lockdown, Real Friends announced that their original lead vocalist, Dan Lambton, would be leaving the band and in the summer of 2021, the band announced that Cody Muraro would be the new vocalist. Former lead vocalist of Youth Fountain & Parting Ways, the Pure Noise Tour would be Muraro’s first tour with his new band and I’ve got to say, they crushed it.
Their 40 minute set was chock full of some older fan favorites like “Mess”, “Sleepy Eyes and Bony Knees” and “Get By”, with Muraro putting his own new twist on the songs. I’ve seen Real Friends perform live more times than I can count on one hand and I’ve got to say, the new addition of Muraro into the band might be one of their best decisions yet. The energy was pumping within the room that night as crowd surfers floated their way towards the stage and Muraro leaning down to greet them each time. Real Friends concluded their set with their newest single “Storyteller”, a earworm of a pop-punk song that most certainly left the crowd wanting more.
After Real Friends, most fans had pushed their way to the front of the room. The diehard fans along the barricade were beginning to look more and more exhausted, with some even taking brief naps on the barricade as the show drew deeper and deeper into the night. Sweat poured down peoples faces and beers were getting crushed in circle pits, but the show must go on!
By 10:30pm, State Champs took to their stage for their first of three hometown shows (Albany is close enough, right?). Bassist Ryan Scott Graham ripped onto the stage and jumped on the platform at the front of the stage. Towering over the crowd, he shouted the lyrics to “Secrets” and got thee crowd amped up for the final act of the night. State Champs played very rushed set, as the venue had a strict 11pm curfew. Trying to shove as much as they could into their short but sweet set, State Champs wasted no time with on stage small talk.
Their hour long set was chock full of a diverse range of songs, from the beginning of their careers (“Elevated”) to their most recent release, a cover of Fall Out Boy’s “Chicago Is So Two Years Ago”. State Champs even included put their own pop-punk spin (a la Our Last Night) on the hit pop song “Stitches”, by Shawn Mendes.
All technical difficulties and scheduling issues aside, The Pure Noise Tour rocked Brooklyn on the evening of October 20th. The energy was high throughout the majority of the night and fans were there to have a good time. Every band that performed that evening gave it their all and put on one hell of a show. These bands all proved that pop-punk is not a phase and it never will be. Long live pop-punk!