20 Years Later and New Found Glory are Still Kings Of The Scene


It has been a trying past two weeks. Honestly, that’s an understatement but I won’t get into it because none of it really matters. All that matters is how I’ve spent the past two nights, lost in a cloud of nostalgia that assured me everything would be okay. Saturday night with Motion City Soundtrack was terrific but I decided to take the night for myself so I won’t be writing about that show but I have so much to say about Sunday night with New Found Glory, Four Year Strong, and Be Well so buckle up.

I wish I could say that I knew Be Well as I made my way into First Avenue on Sunday night, but I had no clue who this band was. As soon as they took the stage, there was something oddly familiar about many of the members and although I hate being on my phone during shows, I had to stop everything and look them up and what I found out was equal parts shocking and amazing. Members of this hardcore band are former members from bands like Bane, Darkest Hour, and Converge. Maybe that means nothing to you but it meant so much to me and instantly had me wanting to eat up every note of this band’s powerful opening act. Although it was short, it absolutely packed a punch, and even when you take away the legendary status of some of the members, you are left with a truly flawless sound and perfect stage presence to match. Their sound definitely leaned into the hardcore vein of things making them undoubtedly the heaviest of the three bands to take the stage but I struggle to call them a straight-up hardcore act. They had pop-punk elements that blended into their heavy-hitting breakdowns perfectly yet distinctly. Although Sunday was my first introduction to the band, it will not be the last time I see or think about Be Well. What a way to kick off a show.

Four Year Strong, the second band to take the stage on Sunday night, has been and will remain to be one of my favorite bands for various reasons. From their upbeat bops to their relatable lyrics and an irresistible live show, this is one of those bands that I would drop everything and then some to catch live so I was thrilled that they were billed as one of the supporting acts for the Sunday night show. Four Year Strong kicked their set off with a personal favorite of mine “Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)” and it was honestly game over after that. The rest of their twelve-song set was spent with me screaming my heart out while my boyfriend and friend watched me with amusement and my brother acted too cool to sing along (that’s okay though because I caught him smiling a few times and knew deep down that he was loving it as much as I was). Their set was honestly a bit hazy for me. I think I just needed to hear those songs and have that positivity in my life so badly that, as it was happening, I couldn’t help but get lost in it all. I’ve seen Four Year Strong more times than I can count at this point but they seem to bring something new to the table every time which I love. For their show on Sunday, this came in the form of a Green Day cover of “Brain Stew”. Although a bit of a deep cut for those who didn’t grow up in the scene, their cover of this legendary track was flawless and I loved that it showed a more grungey side of this already a super versatile band.

Be Well was amazing and Four Year Strong left me with a giant smile on my face but the best was still yet to come. Since 1997, New Found Glory has been on the top of the pop-punk game and Sunday night proved that they are not going anywhere. Much like Four Year Strong, I have honestly lost count as to how many times I have seen NFG live but it still doesn’t get old to me and I was feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as the band took the stage and jumped into a playthrough of one of their most iconic albums, ‘Sticks And Stones’. Yes, a full album playthrough of a record that I listened to over and over again in my angsty years. Sure, it has been twenty years since the album came out but as soon as they kicked off with “Understatement”, it’s like I was right back in the early 2000s as every word came flooding back to my mind.

Just like during the set from Four Year Strong, I feel like I instantly got lost in everything happening around me. From screaming along to every word (I have the sore throat today to back that up) to bopping around like a fool during their pseudo-breakdown moments, I was just truly in my happy place as the band played through their twenty-one-song set. Sure, the highlight of NFG’s set was the fact that they played through that quintessential album but the song choices for what followed were flawless. From their amazing better-than-the-original cover of “King of Wishful Thinking” from Go West to their oddly perfect cover of “Let It Go” from Frozen, it was just hit after hit and there wasn’t a single moment throughout the set where I wished they had chosen a different track to play.

My boyfriend, God bless him for putting up with my concert addiction and my constant need to be lost in a haze of nostalgia, enjoyed the show but had no attachment to the band or the music. At one point we went outside to get some fresh air and I found myself trying to explain NFG to him but struggling to find the words. What it comes down to is this band is who they are because of the fans. NFG is just one of those bands that means so much to so many people and seeing that on display in the form of a live performance is something that just leaves me speechless every time. I’m not sure my boyfriend will ever understand why Sunday meant so much to me but I think he felt the power it had on me and that’s all I could ever ask for.