Four Year Strong at Hevy 2011
Nobody likes to feel let down- particularly by a band who induce the same levels of affection usually reserved by Santa. Four Year Strong are one of the most beloved bands in the world of pop punk, so to feel so cheated by them at Hevy Fest is like a form of heresy that would have got them burnt at the stake a few centuries ago. Their excuse-riddled, time wasting, lacklustre set proved to be a damp squib of an end to an otherwise brilliant weekend.
Yes, there were the acoustics of the Jagermeister stage to consider. They weren't the only band to have suffered from the dodgy output over the main area, which somehow seemed to mute certain aspects to every set and rob them of any real punch. However, to come on stage looking like you don't want to be there is unforgivable. 'We've just flown over and haven't slept in like thirty five hours' is not the tack to aim for to a crowd of the great unwashed who probably haven't slept properly since Thursday night. Every song was played to technical perfection, but as if on autopilot with no real soul or life. Perhaps the greatest connection was seen in 'One Step At A Time', the lyrical sentiments inspiring them to dig deep and pull some sincerity out of the bag, but otherwise it was like watching a performance from a bunch of faux-perky androids. Each 'I don't know about you but I'm having a great time up here' was as transparently false as 'It's just a little dent' after the Titanic had that run-in with that iceberg.
That wasn't the worst of it. It was as we could hear the impressive distant cacophony coming from The Bronx' nearby set that Four Year Strong found themselves really Wasting Time. Either they forgot what they were doing or they didn't have enough material together to fill the set, but painfully awkward stints of 'banter' wound up the un-blinkered segments of crowd. At one point, desperate for a conversational point, their rider was dragged on stage and thrown out into the crowd in a bizarre food-related fatigue-induced mental breakdown. Oranges, batteries, and bread were flung with some force from the stage in what would seem to be 'whacky' to some, while completely insulting to others. Especially to the person smacked square in the face by a projectile plastic packet of cheese.
As the woeful set limped to it's climax, there was embarrassingly little call for an encore. The crowd had long since depleted, with the pull of the superior Rock Sound & Macbeth performance being too much to resist for many. It may have been tiredness, but when your shoddy show means not even the hardest core of your fans can make a lot of noise for your new material, you know you've got lost up shit street. For a band I love so dearly, this was a night I can only hope to forget.