Four Year Strong + Knocked Loose + Underminer + Oaks // Metro Theatre // 14/01/18

2007 marks the release of Four Year Strong’s Rise or Die Trying, one of the lasting classics of the pop punk genre. Thanks to Unify Festival, Australia has been lucky enough to enjoy the Ten Year Anniversary Tour, a pop-punky angst-filled party that kicks off 2018 in a great way.

Sydney’s fastest growing pop punk (borderline easycore) act Oaks opened up the night to a crowd eager to enjoy what the local scene has to offer. It was clear to see why the band were given the opportunity to play with Four Year Strong, –  one of the most beloved bands in the pop punk scene. The five-piece band, new to a stage of this size, made themselves at home instantly. The modest crowd were familiar to hits from Oaks’ debut EP Space To Grow, as they danced along to the infectious pop punk hits. Those who arrived early enough to the show to experience the supports were treated to the band’s first live playing of new song Hiraeth, which is set to be released in the coming months. Oaks will certainly be one to look out for as the year progresses.

The crowd ramped up as hardcore band Underminer took to the stage. The room instantaneously split into two sides as a pit started to form within the Metro. The band kicked off their set with one of their releases from 2017, Incarcerate, that the crowd was evidently familiar with. Fists started swinging wildly as the first notes kicked in, and there were barely any breaks for the crowd. The set also featured a quick guest scream from Underminer’s friend Kayla Parish – a highlight of their set.

What followed Underminer’s set was something incredible that Sydney will be sure to remember as one of the best hardcore sets of the year. Vastly different to Four Year Strong, to see Knocked Loose as a touring support was a surprise to most when announcements for the Unify sideshows dropped. Bryan Garris, lead vocalist even noted the difference between the two bands, going on to describe that this is the reason they love playing on tour slots. Knocked Loose brought an insane amount of energy to the Metro Theatre, playing songs from Laugh Tracks including fan favourite Counting Worms, the crowd going insane after the iconic “Arf Arf”. It was clear to see that there were those amongst the crowd here purely for this support band. Mixed bills aren’t anything new to this scene, yet the one presented to everyone in attendance tonight was truly something incredible to experience.

The pits that had widened for the hardcore bands closed up as soon as Four Year Strong started, and roars from the crowd intensified. The band kicked off the party with classics What The Hell Is A Gigawatt and Who Cares?  that the crowd danced and jumped along to with an incredible vigour. The nostalgia in the air was clear.

And then the band kicked in with The Takeover, leading straight into their track Prepare to Be Digitally Manipulated, marking the start of the reason Four Year Strong were here; Rise or Die Trying in full, which was nothing short of a wildly energetic experience. The crowd screamed back at the band through anthemic roars, with gigantic smiles on diehard fans that infected the entire venue. The love for this band, that defined childhoods, could be felt for miles. The energy that Four Year Strong brought to Sydney on the night was insurmountable, and the levels were kept at an absolute maximum the entire night. After finishing Rise or Die Trying in full, Four Year Strong rolled out their last bangers in We All Float Down Here, and two high energy tracks from Enemy of The World –  It Must Really Suck to Be Four Year Strong Right Now and Wasting Time (Eternal Summer), ensuring that the crowd was left with nothing but good impressions for the set.

Seeing Four Year Strong play at The Metro was an incredible experience that will go down as one of the great gigs of 2018. The band’s energy reflected perfectly onto the crowd, which did not slow down throughout the entirety of the fast paced set. All in all, the night was the perfect way to celebrate the genre-defining album. Four Year Strong’s incredible stage presence, and the crowd’s undying energy makes one thing clear – Easycore isn’t dead just yet.

Review: Kileab Thum