The Wonder Years: The Hum Goes On Forever Tour w/ Hot Mulligan
Hot Mulligan, Carly Cosgrove
Brooklyn Bowl Nashville
925 3rd Avenue North
Nashville, Tennessee 37201
This event is 18+, unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Valid government-issued photo ID is required for entry. No refunds will be issued for failure to produce proper identification.
This ticket is valid for standing room only, general admission. ADA accommodations are available day of show.
All support acts are subject to change without notice.
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The Wonder Years
For a number of years, this would have been an almost-blank page. Back in the mid-2010s, a few years afer The Wonder Years had first formed in Lansdale, PA, just north of Philadelphia, the band would be asked to provide a bio for events they were playing. All Dan Campbell would write was ‘The Wonder Years is a band’. That was it. They’d then receive the programs for whatever fesMval or event it was for and laugh. Most bands, the frontman remembers, would write a “full page thing about how their last record charted and ours would just be a blank page with those six words at the top.” A lot of Mme has passed since then, and a lot has changed, although also not that much, at the same Mme. If The Wonder Years – completed by guitarists MaT Brasch and Casey Cavaliere, drummer Mike Kennedy, bassist Josh MarMn and keyboardist/mulM-instrumentalist Nick Steinborn – could get away with a six-word bio, they probably would. As it happens, when it comes to The Hum Goes On Forever, context is important, which is why you’re reading these words. The most important reason is that this is the first record the band has made since Campbell became a father. And so, when he sings its very first words – ‘I don’t want to die’ – on its very first song, “Doors I Painted Shut”, they shimmer with a liTle extra poignancy and potency. Because as someone who has sung candidly about how despondent he’s felt at Mmes, thoughts of unexistence are no longer possible. It doesn’t mean they stop, but Campbell can no longer succumb to the abject malaise they induce. “You’ve got to pull it together,” he says, “because your kids are counMng on you. These things that feel hopeless – these massive cultural and societal, full-populace problems like climate change and school shooMngs, all the things that you’re afraid of for your children – well, they only get fixed if you fix them. ‘I don’t want to die – because I’ve got to protect you.’ It would be very easy to give in to the depression and just kind of lay there, but my kids are counMng on me, so I have to try to pull myself together and do the work. ” That, then, is the crux of this record: his survival is more important than it ever was before. As Campbell phrases it, “How do you take care of someone else that needs you when there are days that you barely want to exist?” Now that he’s a father, the answer is a lot simpler than it used to be. Quite simply, he doesn’t have a choice. Rather, he has to press on against the noise that’s been inside his brain for as long as he can remember. That’s what the ‘hum’ of this album’s Mtle is. Taken from a poem he wrote for Sister Ci:es, it is, he says, a representaMon of the gloom he tends to carry with him. “Even when it’s not constantly in my face,” he admits, “there’s always a low hum of sadness, a low rumbling of ennui. So The Hum Goes On Forever is the understanding that I’m always going to have it, it’s always going to be there, it’s always been there for literal generaMons of my family and it’s important that I accept that and live and work through it.” The Hum Goes On Forever, then, is the sound of The Wonder Years navigaMng those dark, cold waters, bringing that ever-present pulse in the back of Campbell’s mind to vivid life, while also pushing it as far back into his skull as it will go. It’s the kind of effect that’s only achievable through true collaboraMon and understanding, something that defines how the band has operated from its incepMon. The six-piece wrote the bulk of these songs in a farmhouse in the middle of Pennsylvania in the winter of 2021.This was before vaccines were widely available, so they all quaranMned for 14 days first. Then, a@er gecng vaccinated, they wrote together again in March, April and May, before tracking songs in June. IniMally, the idea was to just make an EP with Will Yip, but it instead became their seventh album, finished with Steve EveTs, a@er the band decided the songs would be under-served on an EP. The result is a record that captures the taught, fraught uncertainty of the period in which they were wriTen, but also travels back in Mme and memory to uncover and dwell on and inhabit le@over remnants of the past. It serves, too, as a revealing representaMon of how the six lives that consMtute The Wonder Years interact with each other. That happens both inside and outside of the band, obviously, but in terms of the former, they’ve all grown together immensely as musicians. It means the band knows when to be restrained and when to explode, filling in space and empMness as needed to create a record that mirrors, sonically, the heart-torn urgency at its core, the way these six individuals interact with each other, each an essenMal component of a greater whole - as well as the next evoluMon of a band that’s never stopped growing, never stopped striving, never stopped searching for the truth and the heart of this dumb thing we call life. It would be easy to talk about how specific songs do that, but that would also kind of defeat the point of this record. Because this is a complete journey and should be taken in as such. It begins in August and ends in June and traverses years and decades, as well as the constant cycle of sadness and healing within them. Except it never quite gets there. The hum is never totally shaken off. “Because the tagline for The Upsides was ‘I’m not sad anymore’,” Campbell explains, “I think people were like, ‘This is the guy who used to be depressed.’ But obviously that never goes away. It’s a constant, and you basically have to co-exist with your sadness. It won’t go away, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t rely on you and that you can stop. As we’ve conMnued to make records, that’s manifested itself in different ways, but I don’t think ever as clearly as it has on this record. This one is more clearly about me struggling and floundering and drowning at points. In fact, I think it’s maybe even the most revealing in a lot of ways. There’s things I’m singing about on this record that I wouldn’t have had the guts to confront in myself prior to it – like being this open about how low I had goTen, starMng in late 2019 and then tumbling into a pandemic, and just thinking and thinking and thinking….” There’s a lot of thinking on this record. A lot of thoughts. But the main one, the important one, is that very first line of the first song: I don’t want to die. It’s something he repeats and reiterates on final track “You’re The Reason I Don’t Want The World To End”, which addresses the change in Campbell’s purpose since becoming a dad. That’s obvious enough from the Mtle alone, but with the final line – inspired by gardening with his first son during the pandemic – the message becomes truly clear: ‘Put the work in, plant a garden, try to stay afloat.’ It’s a reminder to himself, but it’s also for anyone who listens, anyone who needs it, everyone who’s grown up with the band and has sought, and conMnues to seek, refuge in their songs. Because, yes, The Wonder Years is a band. But it’s also much, much more than that.
When HOT MULLIGAN took to social media to declare themselves #1 Hot New Band, it would have been easy to write off the terminally online emo quartet’s proclamation as yet another irreverent entry into their bag of tricks.
But it turns out Hot Mulligan have a way of manifesting things into existence, whether it’s name-dropping Michelle Branch and Mark Hoppus in song titles and netting responses from both (only one got the joke) or, true to their word, becoming synonymous with the newest waves of pop-punk and emo – err, post-emo, the genre Hot Mully have claimed responsibility for inventing. (Go ahead and fact-check it; they’ll wait.)
Since forming in Lansing, Michigan, in 2014, the college friends – vocalist Tades Sanville, guitarists Chris Freeman and Ryan Malicsi and drummer Brandon Blakeley – have ascended from basements to buzz band on the back of two beloved albums, 2018’s Pilot and 2020’s you’ll be fine. Now, bolstered by 140 million Spotify streams, a sold-out nationwide headlining tour, support slots for the likes of The Wonder Years and New Found Glory and headlines in Alternative Press and Rock Sound, the band’s third LP, WHY WOULD I WATCH (Wax Bodega), cements their evolution as one the most versatile and profoundly moving bands in the underground.
Produced by longtime collaborator Brett Romnes, Why Would I Watch is Hot Mulligan at their loudest, their poppiest, and, ultimately, their most poignant: twinkly Midwestern emo guitars and mathy, synthy-heavy rhythms, Sanville’s sandpaper vocals and indelible melodies, the lightning-in-a-bottle kinetic energy of Long Island ca. 2001 updated for newer generations.
“And I Smoke” channels the ghost of Warped Tours past with frenetic pit-starting energy and unrelenting momentum – close your eyes, and you can almost taste the sweat and sunscreen – while “No Shoes in the Coffee Shop (Or Socks)” is the most well-honed slice of pop the band have ever laid down and the ambient slink of “This Song Is Called It’s Called What’s It Called” unfolds and builds, builds, builds into a dynamic eruption of emotion poised to become a highlight of live sets.
“We didn’t really have grand ambitions when we went in to make this album,” explains Freeman. “I liked you’ll be fine, and I just wanted us to make another good one.” Adds Sanville wryly: “If we had made a bad record, I’d have gotten into a plane and fallen out of it.”
Therein lies the true magic of Hot Mulligan, the push and pull of puns and pathos that might seem diametrically opposed at first but actually intersect to perfectly encapsulate life in a heavy, ADD-addled world.
Taken at face value, closed-eyes dartboard song titles like “Cock Party 2 (Better Than The First),” “Christ Alive My Toe Dammit Hurts” and “John ‘The Rock’ Cena, Can You Smell What the Undertaker” portray the band as perpetual court jesters, but make no mistake, the songs on Why Would I Watch are deeply personal: loss of connection with old friends (“Cock Party 2 (Better Than The First)”), generational trauma (“It’s a Family Movie She Hates Her Dad”), body dysmorphia (“John ‘The Rock’ Cena, Can You Smell What the Undertaker”), grief over the passing of pets (“Betty”), the fraught feeling of hopelessness as you’re helpless to stop time (“Smahccked My Head Awf”), the haze of hard touring (“This Song Is Called It’s Called What’s It Called”).
The band don’t consider these groundbreaking topics, opting for more measured and at times resigned realism to deal with the melancholia and malaise of life’s ups and downs. “No one who’s depressed is crying all the time,” Sanville says. “The media likes to portray deep depression as sadness, but most of the time it’s indifference. That works its way into alternative comedy and shitposting. The two cultures collide perfectly. The titles are the shitposts and the songs are what everyone in this position actually feels.”
“We’ve always written serious songs and then created titles out of autocorrect on our phones,” Freeman explains. “We didn’t think it mattered because we thought no one would listen when we first started.”
But it’s clear from the band’s fervent online fanbase and cathartic live show that people do listen. They make their own Hot Mulligan memes, flood discussion forums and pack venues around the world to scream along with Sanville and his bandmates, finding comfort in their songs and comic relief in their public personas all the same. It pays off in an album that’s set to catapult Hot Mulligan to even higher highs – but you can rest assured they won’t be taking it too seriously as they make their way there (nor will Sanville be exiting any aircraft in the process).
“We’ve done more than we ever thought we could at the beginning,” Freeman says. “We’re vibing now. It doesn’t feel like there’s a next level up, almost like we’re just replaying the levels. We beat the game, and now it’s time to go collect all the stars.” XX