REVIEW — Punk Legends The Wonder Years and Hot Mulligan Deliver Unforgettable Show in Denver with Local Punk Stars Plasma Canvas

Photo By Rasor Sharp Photos

Local punk fans lined Blake street on Tuesday for the final night of The Hum Goes on Forever tour at Summit Music Hall. Pop-Punk veterans The Wonder Years and midwest-emo experts Hot Mulligan were determined to perform in Denver, even if they had to die trying. Being stranded in Wyoming when they should have been in Colorado changed a few things, but it did not stop the fans from showing up in full force for a lively, sold-out show.

The Denver punk group Plasma Canvas stepped up last minute to open the show, delivering a heavy set blended seamlessly with the touring bands. Plasma Canvas has a unique sound that fits equidistant between The Wonder Years’ front man ‘Soupy’ and Hot Mulligan’s lead vocalist ‘Tades’.  Adrienne Rae Ash, singer and guitarist for Plasma Canvas, self-proclaimed them “The loudest, gayest band in the world” — a statement that the crowd happily supported. Before performing “#Genderparty,” she shared her goal as a trans artist, saying, “I want to play on every stage where it is illegal for me to be who I am.” There was resounding support for the trans community at this moment and throughout the night.

Photo by Rasor Sharp Photos

When Hot Mulligan finished their first song, the crowd cheered for a full minute before Vocalist Tades elaborated on the delayed show. “We were supposed to be here so long ago, but we couldn’t perform because we would have died. Better late than never, I guess.” The band has played almost 30 shows since February, but that didn’t seem to phase Tades, who delivered immaculate vocals while performing in a wide range. Songs from their 2022 Acoustic Vol. 2 EP were as well received as their rowdier emo anthems. Their down-to-earth stage presence set the scene for the atmosphere in the room. 

The Wonder Years opened with the first track from their latest album The Hum Goes On Forever. Performing for 18 years has not dulled their quality. The Wonder Years are pop-punk legends known for their vibrant and balanced performances. Soupy’s live vocals are somehow almost identical to the sound found on any of their albums, even on the last night of a physically taxing tour. Old favorites were mixed in with new hits as the crowd maintained an inspiring energy that kept the band refreshed.

Photo By Josiah Poole

‘Hot Mulligan’ and the Wonder Years encouraged fans to let loose and open mosh pits, but not to neglect their friends and fellow concertgoers amidst a rowdy performance. The crowd alternated between punching each other in the pit, hugging one another doing the worm whenever the moment called. Tade encouraged Soupy to throw in a few more mosh calls between songs, but Soupy refers to himself as more of a “pick everyone up, are we all okay?” kind of guy. He even encouraged the crowd to call their grandmas this week before he played ”Laura and the Beehive.” 

The Hum Goes on Forever Tour Poster

A highlight of the set was when the band played Cardinals back-to-back with Cardinals II. The two songs display the contrast The Wonder Years embody so seamlessly. They can be loud and they can be angry, but they can be deeply poetic and slowed in the same breath. While introducing ‘You In January,’ Soupy told the crowd that nine couples had gotten engaged during this song on tour. “No pressure to propose, but this is your last chance for a love song tonight.” Although no Denver lovers proposed that night, there was plenty of love in the air as lighters flicked on, fingers laced,  and arms wrapped around waists. 

Their last song of the set, “You’re the Reason I Don’t Want the World to End,” is the song that Soupy insisted is his proudest work to date. Soupy prefaced this song with a gutwrenching call to action, given the current state of the world.  “They’re not going to take care of you, so we gotta take care of each other.’ He challenged every person in the room to engage in one act of direct action, mutual aid, or showing up face-to-face for someone in your community. 

Photo By Josiah Poole

The band quickly returned for a highly demanded encore with a fan favorite “Came Out Swinging”, the song Soupy refers to as “the one they’ll be remembered for.” Summit holds a special place in their heart, as it was the second to last venue they played pre-pandemic. “The coffee shop down the street was the last coffee shop I sat in for 2 years. Denver, you have been there for us since the first time we played your city in 2007, we have made some of my favorite memories ever in this city, on this stage, and we want to say thank you for that.”

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