2016 has been a great year for pop-punk music. Whether it is new releases from the classic bands like Green Day, Blink-182, and Sum 41, or simply the 10-year anniversary of an iconic album, it is impossible to deny that this past year has been full of nostalgia for all the pop-punk and emo-rock fans out there.
Within the past 11 months, not only have I been to more concerts than I ever have in past years, but I was also fortunate enough to see every single one of my favorite bands live. Why is this? Again, 2016 was a great year for pop-punk, and as most of us concert-goers and music-lovers know, a new release or a 10-year anniversary more than often leads to a headlining tour in support of the album. So to celebrate this past year of new releases, iconic album anniversaries, and amazing tour lineups, I decided to put together a short list of my personal favorite pop-punk events of 2016.
7. Sum 41 – 13 Voices
After frontman Deryck Whibley’s struggle to recover from nearly dying of alcoholism, Sum 41 finally released the long-awaited 13 Voices on October 7, 2016. The album was by far one of my most-anticipated releases of the year. After all, I had been a fan of Sum 41 even before I actually started listening to pop-punk as a genre. While not an official single, the first song released from the album was “Fake My Own Death,” which absolutely blew me and many other fans away, getting everyone excited for the new album. And while if I must be honest about 13 Voices not actually exceeding my already-established high expectations, it was no less than refreshing to have the band finally release some new material. Not every song blows me away, but considering the album has only been out for about a month and a half now, tracks like “Goddamn I’m Dead Again,” “God Save Us All,” and “War,” definitely still stick.
6. Boys Like Girls’s self-titled 10 Year Anniversary Tour
I won’t lie when I say that I totally understand why some people may have forgotten about Boys Like Girls, especially after basically dropping off the radar since their release of their third studio album Crazy World. There are definitely dozens of other bands that have managed to stay relevant throughout the past decade, but the band Boys Like Girls will always remain special to me. I remember listening to their biggest hit, “The Great Escape,” back in 2006. I was actually still in elementary school and just getting exposed to pop-punk/emo music, although at the time it was nothing more than mainstream on the radio. That all being said, Boys Like Girls was my first favorite band, and the band that introduced me to the rest of the genre. By the time they had gone on hiatus in 2013, I really had not been to many concerts yet. Thus, seeing my first favorite band playing the album that helped get me into pop-punk in its entirety, was definitely a fulfillment for elementary school-aged me.
5. Taking Back Sunday’s Riot Fest Aftershow
I had known of emo/rock band Taking Back Sunday for a while (although it is arguable for them to still be classified as “emo.”) However, it wasn’t until about two years ago when I really discovered how great their discography is, from their debut Tell All Your Friends to most recent release Tidal Wave, this band has never put out a less than good record. I had caught the end of the band’s set at a couple different years of Vans Warped Tour, but my first “proper” concert experience with them was at Riot Fest 2016. But as many concert and festival-goers probably know, there is always a huge difference between seeing a band perform on a headlining tour inside a venue versus performing at an outdoor festival. Taking Back Sunday wasn’t playing Riot Fest this year, but they did headline their very own aftershow at Chicago’s local venue, Metro. The band opened by playing their latest release, Tidal Wave, in its entirety. What was a little unfortunate, however, was that the concert date was on the release date of the album, so no one knew any of the songs. Luckily, to close off the show, they played some fan-favorites, which totally made up for me having to miss NOFX’s set at Riot Fest. By the end of the band’s performance, all I truly had to say to myself was, “Why the fuck hadn’t I seen them in concert before?!”
4. Pierce The Veil – Misadventures
I only very recently got into post-hardcore/pop-punk band Pierce The Veil and while not necessarily a fan of their entire discography, their long-awaited release Misadventures on May 13 is really what made me recognize their talent; more so specifically frontman Vic Fuentes’s lyrical style. It had been five years since the band’s last album release, and while some fans agree that the new record doesn’t exactly measure up to previous Collide With The Sky, a majority of the tracks from Misadventures have stuck with me throughout the rest of the year. I am certainly no huge Pierce The Veil fan, but I can confidently say Misadventures is one of my favorite albums of 2016 by far.
3. Riot Fest – Brand New
Ah, Brand New. The emo/rock band that although hasn’t released a full-length album since their 2009 Daisy, their music has carried incredible longevity throughout the years. Similar to my listening experience with Taking Back Sunday, I only became familiar with their discography about less than two years ago, and I also must admit that it did take a little extra time for their diverse sound to grow on me. After seeing them co-headline with Modest Mouse back in early July, I honestly wasn’t expecting much. But did my perspective sure change after seeing their set at Riot Fest. While it was an insanely fun crowd to be in, who would have guessed that a band with a majority of their discography being on the slower side, would also have one of the roughest and almost scariest crowds I’ve ever been a part of. Brand New – maybe not the most exciting band to see at a regular show, but at a music festival, the fans sure make hell break loose in one of the best possible ways.
2. Don’t Call It A Sum-Back Tour
I mentioned earlier in this article that Sum 41 has been one of my favorite bands even before I actually immersed myself in the whole pop punk/emo scene. In 2015, it was evident that the band was preparing to make a comeback, and well, they sure were successful at it. I saw them perform live for the first time as a headlining act at Vans Warped Tour 2016. I remember thinking, “Wow, if they only played like a seven song setlist, I can’t imagine how spectacular they would be performing a full-length setlist at a headlining show.” My wish came true when frontman Deryck Whibley announced on stage that even though there had not yet been a public announcement, the band was planning to tour the U.S. again later in the coming fall. Shortly after, their “Don’t Call It A Sum-Back Tour” was officially announced, and with the band’s perfect setlist and supporting act Senses Fail, this tour easily made one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to.
1. Yellowcard: The Final World Tour
I can’t deny that this may be considered incredibly biased, considering Yellowcard is my favorite band of all time, but just the fact that I wrote an entire concert review for their final world tour performance in Chicago, clearly indicates that this show not only was my number one highlight of pop punk-related events of the year, but it was also one of the best nights of my life. (If you haven’t read my concert review, you totally should!) I could honestly write paragraph after paragraph on why this show was so amazing and special to me, but I think what really made the night was simply the energy from not only the band, but the fans as well. After all, it was Chicago’s last Yellowcard concert, ever, so it was definitely more than important to make it one of the most memorable nights of everyone’s lives.
Contributed by Jina Bute | @earthtojina