South Carolina pop-punk favorites, Clever Words and A Brighter Life, took the stage at Bey’s in Columbia on August 20th. Both locals of the Palmetto state, Clever Words hail from the Upstate while A Brighter Life had the comfort of playing in their hometown. Bey’s bar has become a local favorite for seeing your favorite bands and discovering new music, providing an up-close and personal experience with artists in this smaller venue.
As Clever Words frontman Walter Roesch took the stage, there were about thirty audience members crowding the stage. They plunged right into their set with the first two songs from their new EP, which kicked off the show just as awesomely as they kicked off the album. “Never Change” and “There’s No Clarity in Futures” both come from the new EP that dropped July 7th, titled Nothing Ever Stays the Same, But People Never Change.
The third song they played, “Fight Me, Bro,” brought about a social commentary on youth and growing up, humorously using such vernacular as “interwebs” and the like. Though the song comes in a silly package, it presents a very real message that especially speaks to its teenage and 20-something listeners. The guys switched it up a bit with “Christy Said It Was Raining” the fourth and final song on their new EP. The next two songs they played, “Objects May Be Larger Than They Appear” and “Proud Member,” both come from their 2010 EP To The Heart Of A Man. By this point, the crowd was entirely too worked up to let them go now; they finished by playing a killer encore of “Break Stuff,” getting the audience pumped up enough that everyone on their feet was moshing.
By the time Clever Words was finishing up and A Brighter Life prepared to take the stage, the audience had grown to over fifty members, each as seemingly invested in the performance as the next. With the energy and anticipation both high, A Brighter Life did not disappoint. As Roesch traded in his guitar for bass and A Brighter Life’s band members fell into their places, Jordan Kirk took up vocals and launched right into “Pullover (It’s a Cardigan but Thanks For Asking)” which kept the audience’s enthusiasm high. They proceeded with “You’re a Regular Bonnie (To My Clyde)” and “Along for the Ride,” both of which are off their new EP Where Tonight Can Go.
They continued to deliver with “I’m Not Fine,” then got the audience especially pumped up with a cover of New Found Glory’s “Understatement.” After multiple shouted requests for it, they got the entire crowd involved with “Another Late Night,” which is in my opinion the standout track from their EP. Also from Where Tonight Can Go, “Better Friends” finished up their set, though the audience was only begging for more from both bands.
Both bands brought the energy and made it a true pop-punk experience, complete with gang vocals and posi jumps. The bands made for a great night for everyone, as was evidenced by the various people outside the bar whom I heard exclaim, “that was incredible!” or even the bartender who noted, “tonight was crazy.” Roesch is clearly an incredible musician, rocking vocals and guitar in Clever Words and taking on the bass in A Brighter Life. It is no doubt after having seen them live and having heard their EPs that the members of both bands are incredibly talented, with their live performances being even better than their recordings. This show particularly showed off their promise in the pop-punk scene. I look forward to hearing more from these awesome performers.
Both bands’ EPs are available for download on their respective Bandcamp sites, with both of Clever Words’ EPs as free downloads.