On Saturday 10th of June 2017, 150 lucky people had the pleasure of attending a very special night in London at a teeny tiny venue. Just a day after playing not one, but two sets at the legendary Download Festival, the beardy boys (and the not so beardy boys) in Four Year Strong decided to have a bit of fun and book the smallest London venue they could find available at short notice. The venue in question was The Black Heart in Camden, a small bar tucked away down a backstreet just a few paces from the notorious Camden Underworld.
Homebound , a UK Pop Punk band from Surrey, were up first as the singular support band for the night, giving a great performance despite only a select few members of the crowd knowing their material. But this was not their night, and it was never going to be, as 150 hardcore fans of Four Year Strong  had gathered here in this small room to witness a full playthrough of the bands breakthrough album, Rise Or Die Trying.
Homebound - Photo Credit: Mac Praed Media
The band toured the album across the UK back in February, 2017 being it’s ten year anniversary, and this was the second London show included as part of the albums celebration. There was a brief moment of tension as the band took to the stage and the drumming to the intro song started, before a triumphant scream of “START THE TAKEOVER!” from dual vocalists Alan Day and Dan O’Connor sends the room into a frenzy. To the people in this room, this album is an absolute classic, and they know every word to every line in these songs. It’s hard to tell who sung it louder, the crowd or the band, as they roar through ‘Prepare To Be Digitally Manipulated’ and ‘Abandon Ship or Abandon All Hope’, dodging the crowdsurfers doing ‘superhero landings’ onstage due the absence of any form of barrier at this venue.
‘Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die’ opens up a pit spanning almost the entirety of the small room, and as the songs climactic breakdown hits, based solely on how much energy the crowd is giving off you’d be forgiven for thinking you were attending a Thy Art Is Murder or Dillinger Escape Plan show. The room is unbearably hot, everyone’s caked in sweat and somewhat fittingly, just before the band can play ‘Catastrophe’ all the lights short out.
Unable to get them working again, the show continues with the crowd lighting the room with the torches from their phones, creating this amazing, inclusive atmosphere between the fans and the band. By the time the run-through of Rise Or Die Trying has finished, still engulfed in darkness and drenched in each others sweat, the band have ended up handing most of their stage water to the crowd whilst another attempt to fix the lighting situation is made, but it is in vain.
The show must go on however, and the room is ready for round 2 when the explosive chorus of ‘We All Float Down Here’ kicks in. After a special inclusion of ‘One Step At A Time’ in the setlist, and a colossal sounding romp through ‘It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now’, what better way to close off such a special night than with a stage invasion during the gang vocal segment of fan favourite song ‘Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)’? The tiny little platform became overrun by enthusiastic crowd members as the band were squashed back against their amps.
Four Year Strong have battled through unbearable heat, being engulfed in darkness and a constant stream of crowd-surfers hurtling onstage knocking over and in one instance even breaking some of their equipment, yet on this night full of disaster they have managed to deliver one of the most spectacular and unique intimate shows we’ve ever witnessed. A solid 10/10 performance, we’ll be keeping our hopes up that their 2010 album Enemy Of The World might get the same anniversary tour treatment in a few years time.
Photo Credit: Unknown