By ZACH BARNES
One genre of music that seems to have been on a comeback recently in the last few years is pop punk. Five-piece act Heroes Like Villains is at the forefront of the Columbus pop-punk facet, and they're not going anywhere. The band has opened bills in town for some household names in pop punk—such as Four Year Strong and Plain White T's—along with playing their own packed headlining hometown shows.
Their latest album, “Bad vs Evil,” was released a week prior to the CD release show at Woodlands Tavern on September 7. This album definitely shows maturing songwriting habits and more intimate lyrical themes from vocalist David Butler.
The show featured three other Columbus acts and one traveling act, which was A Story Told from Charleston, West Virginia. The Undergrads, a newer local act, played their second set with their most recent lineup to open the show, and it was great to see them with a full sound. Their EP, “Leaving You in the Rearview,” is very well produced, and they exhume a confidence on stage that shows that they have time and effort pitted in their live performances.
Absolute Hero played next, and their band has hit a level of live professionalism that shows how great some local bands grow to be in such a short time. Having recently released their full length, “Gone Bad,” earlier in 2018, they brought new material to another packed hometown show. The members of Absolute Hero have been longtime friends with Heroes Like Villains, which made their performance feel that much more welcomed by the crowd that was starting to pack out Woodlands.
Tourist Trap took stage after Absolute Hero, and while they are not pop punk, their friendship with the pop punk acts in town is strong. A Story Told, the penultimate act of the night, was a great addition to close out the supporting acts for the show. Having super friendly members, great tunes and stellar stage presence always make for creating a great project.
Heroes Like Villains was nothing short of amazing when it came to having presence at their own release party. The group looked like they were having the time of their lives on stage, and it felt good to watch someone else feel that good. They played most of their new record, my personal favorite track being "That Feel."
They also played pop punk covers of a few songs, which left everyone who was attending the show singing along (even in the bar area and the smoking section outside). Among those covers was "Africa" by Toto, which is a song that's gained worldwide popularity again within the last few years, most recently with Weezer’s rendition of the track.
The band closed with an encore of mosh pits, lighters being waved in the air and a screaming crowd of friends, family and fans, old and new, cheering to older singles by the band. All in all, the show was a success for all five bands on the bill and proves that pop punk is being defended. And rightfully so.
Editor’s Note: The author Zach Barnes also plays bass for Columbus band Tourist Trap, who were mentioned in the article.