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It was already known that the Wonder Years could not play at this tour stop due to the Warped Tour proximity, but when Fireworks and Such Gold announced they had to drop off the tour a lot of people were wondering how the night would pan out. Fireworks was able to rejoin the tour the night before the Chain Reaction stop and everyone inside made sure to express their appreciation.

Living With Lions destroyed the stage first without hesitation! From start to finish, they encouraged crowd participation as kids crowd surfed towards the microphone looking to get in even one amplified word. Audience members enthusiastically jumped on and off stage while singing along and this seemed to fuel the band’s performance. Even with jumps, stomps, and other high-energy movements, Living With Lions managed to hold down vocal melodies and harmonies without even a hint of being tired. It’s great to see their fan base growing because these guys put on a great show.

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During the week, as the show crept closer, I got more and more anxious to watch Make Do and Mend. Once their set started, I knew my waiting was not in vain. All of their songs translate beautifully live, especially the vocals — the words just seemed to hit my brain harder in person. I usually see slightly less intensity from bands with an instrument-playing singer (the old “stuck behind a mic-stand” problem), but Make Do and Mend put on a clinic in how to battle this stigma. Everyone moved around the stage, interacted with each other, and more importantly interacted with the crowd whenever the opportunity presented itself. They put a lot of feeling into their music and it easily spilled over into their live show. Serious note:  do not miss this band coming through your town.

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Fireworks’ performance was truly special. I was still surprised to see them return to the tour, but it totally makes sense. I always turn to bands and their music in times of trouble, but I guess I never thought the same could go for the reverse. Frontman, David Mackinder, shared a few short words after the first few songs expressing his thanks for the audience’s support and reminding everyone to openly express the love they have for others. Fans were definitely aware of Mackinder’s situation and showed nothing but support for both him and Fireworks. With an emotionally-charged performance, this is probably one of the best shows I’ve seen Fireworks put on. There was a united atmosphere in the room and the band just looked like they were having the best time. I can only speculate, but the sight of friends singing and stage-diving together must have given Fireworks a serious boost. These guys are always so energetic and totally in sync with their audience, but tonight just seemed to step things up a notch.

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High fives to old and new friends for hanging out tonight! Also, my thoughts go out to Ben from Such Gold and Dave from Fireworks — stay strong guys, the fans will always have your back!