The Wonder Years are celebrating a decade of their relationship with Slam Dunk Festival, by playing seminal album ‘the upsides’ in full.
The band broke the news in a post to their Facebook page saying:
‘Ten years ago today we released a record that shifted the course of our lives forever. There’s no real way to quantify what The Upsides did for us personally or as a band. It’s not like a few things changed. Everything changed and we honestly haven’t entirely decided how to best honor that but we figured we have all year to figure it out. For now though, we do have two things planned:
First, right now, you can hear the version of Washington Square Park that appears on Burst & Decay (Vol. II). WSP was the first song we released from The Upsides. It was the song that started the groundswell and so it feels appropriate to release this new look at the song on the 10th Anniversary. This is our consensus favorite song on the EP. We had such a fun time figuring out a new lens to view it through. The challenge with any of these is how to subvert expectation while still remaining true to what made the song resonate in the first place. With the help of Ace and Nik at Lumberyard, we think we did just that and we hope you love it.
The second thing we’re going to do is pay the record in full at Slam Dunk Festival this year. Ten years ago at Slam Dunk in 2010 we played two sets that felt surreal and impossible-an exercise in pure joy. There was no “made it” moment in our career; no defining point when some bigwig label president heard our song and told us we were gonna be stars or something but SD2010 was emotionally that moment for us. So, we felt like there was no better place to play the record in full. We weren’t (and I guess still aren’t) sure that people want to hear the record in full live in 2020 so Slam Dunk will be the test. If it feels good, if the energy is there, then maybe we’ll start planning to do the record in more places before the year is out.
For now, we find ourselves in a familiar place: a place to say thank you. Thank you to The Upsides. Thank you to the people that listened to it. Thank you to everyone that got the words tattooed on their bodies or carved them into their hearts. Thank you for letting it resonate with you. I believed, writing the lyrics to these songs, that there were other people out there who needed to hear the things that I needed to hear-who were sad, and not entirely sure why and who wanted to get better. Thank you for proving me right.’
The Upsides was the album that put The Wonder Years on the map. Not only was it most fans’ introduction to the band, it was also a key album in the evolution of pop-punk. The Wonder Years were at the forefront of a group of bands who took a genre that had become jaded, and made it relevant again. These bands steered pop-punk away from the theatrics, swoopy fringes, and eyeliner of the early 00’s scene, and took it back to the basement; favouring topics of post-college alienation, and mental-health, over heartbreaks and girlfriends.
This new-wave of pop-punk saw a resurgence in the genre, which coincided with the rise of Slam Dunk as a serious festival. The Wonder Years have been with the festival since its early years in Leeds City Centre, playing to a few hundred genre devotees. Ten years on, it seems the time is right for the band and the festival, to return to their roots, with the Wonder Years dusting off ‘The Upsides’, and playing it in full.
Slam Dunk 2020 takes place over the following dates: