Philadelphia pop punk band The Wonder Years hosted an acoustic performance inside of the record store Dearborn Music to promote their upcoming record “Sister Cities” Thursday, March 29.
This performance was the first of five in store performances around the world, including Boston, West Babylon N.Y., Baltimore, and Kingston U.K., and two separate 2-day pop up shops in Philadelphia and Chicago. These performances and pop up shops have a strict “no cameras” rule while the band was performing, to keep things special for the fans who came out.
As the band started performing their songs, front man Dan Campbell eased the excitement and tension in the packed store by talking about just how much of a long time coming the release of “Sister Cities” has been.
“I’m a little rusty because we’ve been getting ready to do this, and now we’re doing this,” Campbell said. “And I can’t believe we’re doing it.”
Each of the six songs performed that night were stripped down acoustic performances, serving as a stark contrast to their usual high-energy, fast tempo, crushingly loud live performances. The goal of these in store performances served as a special, new perspective on how these songs are enjoyed, and an extra reward for the people who chose to purchase the album early.
The intimate setting gave the band a chance to interact with the crowd in a way they aren’t normally able to. Campbell told the crowd that he “wasn’t a cop” but would like it very much if the album stayed offline until they released an official stream of the record on Monday, April 2.
“There’s not much I can do about it, but I would love if it if you waited.” Campbell joked with the crowd.
The Wonder Years played a number of arrangements of their songs off of their 2016 EP “Burst and Decay” which featured stripped down, mellow versions of songs from their last two records “The Greatest Generation” and “No Closer To Heaven,” and additionally played acoustic versions of the two currently released songs from the new album: “Sister Cities,” and “Pyramids of Salt.”
“This is the first time we played that song in front of people,” Campbell said after the band played the title track of the new album. “It’s always a little weird acoustic, but I liked it.”
The Wonder Years have made a name for themselves in getting the crowd involved in their live shows, and this performance was no different. During the song “Cardinals,” Campbell encouraged fans to sing along with Matt Brasch as he sang the repeated line “no saviors, if we can’t save our brothers” during the bridge and final chorus.
As The Wonder Years wrapped up their performance and short directions were announced for a brief meet and greet, the band was outwardly and immensely grateful that this new record, and the surrounding promotional ventures had been met with such respect and enthusiasm.
“Thank you so much for buying and coming,” Campbell said before they played “Pyramids of Salt,” the last song of the evening. “We’ve put every ounce of ourselves into this record, and it means a lot that you care, and like it.”
“Sister Cities” comes out Friday, April 6 through Hopeless Records.