LIVE: Four Year Strong / Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! @ KOKO, Camden

By Christopher Lee

Bearded heroes of pop punk, Four Year Strong return to takeover one of London’s most beautiful venues, KOKO. It’s become all too popular for bands to play albums in full in recent years but the Massachusetts powerhouses arrive on their Rise or Die Trying tour celebrating 10 years since the release of the album by the same name and are set to remind everyone just why it was and remains to be one of pop punks best albums to date.

First up though are charming Parisians Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!  Their infectious tones hit all the right spots with the crowd who need no encouragement to get involved meaning that throughout their relatively short set there’s a constant stream of crowd surfers and even a couple of mosh pits. Front man Bertrand Poncet’s irresistibly French accent makes it impossible to not be won over. The band undoubtedly has some great tracks but their cover of Smash Mouth’s ‘All Star’ gets every single person singing along.  The perfect preparation for what’s to come.

As anticipation levels build there’s a huge roar when Four Year Strong take to the stage immediately launching into ‘Rise or Die trying’. There’s no messing around with the track listing order here as some bands have previously, switching tracks around to try and stop their sets from becoming stagnate, due to the crowd knowing exactly which song is up next when playing an album in full.

Any fears of this being an issue are quickly put to bed though as the bands ferocious energy coupled with the crowd knowing every word to every song and doing their best to out sing the duel vocals of Alan Day and Dan O’Connor makes for wonderfully chaotic yet blissful scene. The band take a breather from time to time, much to the crowds benefit as there’s only so many songs you can physically sing, dance and mosh too before it takes its toll.  As well as the band and crowd, the security also appreciate the breaks in chaos as throughout there’s a sea of crowd surfers who much to their credit are brought safely over the barrier and released back into the crowd.

Once the guys reach the end of ‘Rise or Die Trying’ there are a few people in the crowd who head for the bars but after expending that amount of energy who can blame them? However they’re nowhere near being finished. There’s time for a number of tracks from the equally popular 2010 album ‘Enemy of the World’ which see the guys closing proceedings for the night with a rousing performance of ‘Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)’ accompanied by the crowd in full voice during the last chorus creating a beautiful moment for all involved.

In playing ‘Rise or Die Trying’ Four Year Strong have succeeded where some bands have failed. The ‘playing an album in full’ philosophy can sometimes come across as cliché, but the bands incredible energy paired with an album which is dearly loved by the fans has created  a show worthy of the 10th anniversary of this great album and a night many will remember forever.