FOUR CHORD MUSIC FESTIVAL 7: A Parent's Perspective (SHOW REVIEW)
For nearly a decade, the Four Chord Music Festival has been bringing to Pittsburgh PA the biggest, best and most nostalgic pop-punk and punk bands together along with the newest up-and-coming groups with past shows including YELLOWCARD, SIMPLE PLAN, and THE STARTING LINE.
The DIY festival was established and fronted by seasoned punk rocker Rishi Bahl also of the pop-punk outfit ETERNAL BOY, which has since outgrown its humble beginnings at a small nightclub in Pittsburgh to this year overtaking an entire baseball stadium with the 2021 festival bringing the likes of RISE AGAINST, THE USED, and FOUR YEAR STRONG with returning acts MAYDAY PARADE, STATE CHAMPS and more under one roof.
On the seventh year anniversary of the show, the most unforeseen events occurred with the global pandemic hitting just a few months shy of the festival's original date in 2020 causing the show to be rescheduled. To boot, the original headliners blink-182 announced in the latter half of 2021 that frontman/bassist Mark Hoppus was diagnosed with cancer, causing the band to cancel any remaining shows for the year which left RISE AGAINST to graciously step up to the plate (literally because the show was at a baseball stadium) to fill in for blink's absence.
The Four Chord Music Festival 7 finally arrived after a year's hiatus due to the pandemic on September 17th, 2021 at Washington WIld Things Stadium in Washington, PA. At around 12:30pm the gates to the stadium opened up to eager punk rock fans. The weather couldn't have been any better with a sunny 85 degrees which gave instant nostalgia to the warm summers of the Vans Warped Tour. Fans poured into the festival first getting the layout of the event which included over a dozen of merch tents, a tattoo tent, a half a dozen food vendors with two giant erect stages side by sideway in the outfield of the Wild Things baseball stadium.
A little after 1PM, LOOK OUT LORETTA, a band who has played every single Four Chord Fest since its inception took to the "Born Dead Stage" ripping through a combo of originals with the cover of blink-182's Anthem, appropriately dedicating it to blink and Rishi Bahl. In typical festival style fashion, as Look Out Loretta finished up, FUTURE TEENS took to play the mainstage also known as Revival. During intermission I went to get my tattoo appointment set up, but alas, in just that brief time the slots were already booked for the day, so here's to next year.
For the next 3 hours Four Chord Fest veterans PATENT PENDING, KEEP FLYING and ETERNAL BOY took the stage to the excitement of fans. Keep Flying is always the most entertaining to watch with their combination of hardcore and ska, they're like if Four Year Strong and Less Than Jake had a baby and in lead singer Henry Menzel's own words "the only band here today that has horns in it." Patent Pending is yet another Four Chord vet that all of the fans look forward to who opened up with crowd favorite "Hey Mario" and an impromptu version of "Psycho in Love" to playing an emotional cover of blink-182's Wendy Clear which got the entire crowd to sing along. Eternal Boy then hit the Revival Stage to play an onslaught of originals, some old fan favorites, and a mix of songs off of their latest 2021 album "Bad Days Are Over" with a Taylor Swift cover thrown in there for good measure. Four Chord Music Festival founder Rishi Bahl gave shoutouts and thanks in between every single song proving that he is one of the most humble and caring individuals alive.
As the evening started to set on Washington Wild Things Park the music kept going with REAL FRIENDS hitting the Born Dead Stage. This was my first time, along with a lot of other people's first time hearing the band with new lead singer Cody Muraro since original frontman Dan Lambdon's departure in 2020. The band played a good mixture of old and new songs with Four Chord Fest being the EP release date of Real Friend's latest EP "Torn In Two." MAYDAY PARADE took to stage with the struck of Real Friends last note, coming on stage as a four-piece with members on quarantine due to Covid. The Floridian emo punk rockers still killed it though with an entire set list of the hits with songs like Jersey, Oh Well Oh Well and Jamie All Over. FOUR YEAR STRONG was up next who did the same, ripping through 20 years of melodic hardcore songs with fan favorites like "Go Down In History" and "Heroes Get Remembered But Legends Never Die."
The sun began to set on the stages of Four Chord Music Fest but didn't stop fans from STATE CHAMPS in the slightest. The band is currently on the Pure Noise Records Tour with Real Friends, Just Friends, and Bearings who also had sets at Four Chord Music Fest. State Champs kicked off with song "Elevated" to an enlightened crowd playing an entire set of fan favorites like "Outta My Head", "Dead and Gone" before closing out with "Secrets."
Co-headliner THE USED took the stage just as the sun completely went down, cooling off the still ready and willing Four Chord patrons. The Used took off like a bat out of hell opening with "Take It Away" then moving into "The Bird and the Worm" ripping through two decades of hits with fan favorites like "Taste of Ink" and "Pretty Handsome Awkward" before closing out with "A Box of Sharp Objects". After a brief intermission, fans patiently waited for headlining act RISE AGAINST. The band hit the stage to a jam-packed baseball stadium opening up with "The Numbers" playing nonstop hits like "Satellite", "Nowhere Generation" "Prayer of the Refugee" before closing after an hour set with "Survive" and "Savior".
For a lot of concert-goers, this would be their first show back since the pandemic hit and for others like myself the first time seeing these amazing acts. Through hell or high water, pandemic to unforeseen events the Four Chord Music Festival prevailed with promises of the DIY festival's return in 2022 proving that live music and punk rock will live on forever.
You can check out photos and highlights from the Four Chord Music Fest below!
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