On August 10, 2018 Hop Along was in town at the Wonder Ballroom touring on the success of their critically acclaimed release, Bark Your Head Off, Dog, via Saddle Creek Records. After an expectedly long line and security checkpoint routine that one has become accustomed to at the Wonder Ballroom, I was able to catch show openers Thin Lips.
Native to the bubbling rock metropolis that Hop Along hails from, Philadelphia’s Thin Lips delivered a unique take on indie-punk. They worked from up-tempo riffage that could find itself on a Dinosaur Jr record with songs like “I Wonder” into songs that find themselves with more ambiance and space like “A Song For Those Who Miss You All The Time” while not sacrificing any of the grit found in their more up-tempo songs. They left a fantastic impression with the time afforded to them – not overplaying through their set and setting high bars for the next time I catch them live.
After a rather mid-tempo change over, Hop Along took the stage and began their set with, “How Simple,” the lead single off of their latest album. The song got everyone rather excited and even got some people involved in a singalong during the bridge section which was a very heart-warming moment. It was matched in spirit as they moved into “Kids on the Boardwalk” off of their first full length album, 2013’s Get Disowned. The band worked their way through every album throughout their discography, making sure to include fan favorites from 2015’s Painted Shut like the striking song “Waitress” which was eliciting tearful singalongs from some of the crowd directly surrounding me.
Hop Along performed a few newer songs before walking off the stage leaving the crowd wanting more, which they inevitably received. The band came back out and played a triplet of fan favorites in “Happy to See Me,” “The Knock,” and “Tibetan Pop Stars,” bringing the fan interaction to a crescendo in a way that only a Hop Along show can.