The All-American Rejects and Something Corporate Shine at Four Chord Music Festival

The second day of the Four Chord Music Festival at the historic Carrie Furnaces was a nostalgic journey and a dynamic showcase of emo and alternative music. Featuring a stellar lineup headlined by The All-American Rejects, the day was a celebration of both long-time legends and new talent, including a triumphant return by Something Corporate. With performances ranging from high-energy anthems to emotive piano-driven ballads, the festival captivated a diverse crowd.

Early Sets - Up and Coming Talent

Starting off the day strong, Pittsburgh locals Old Neon drew a respectable hometown crowd, giving them a high energy performance to set the mood for the day, followed by Four Chord sophomores Don't Panic. Up next came Four Chord regulars Goalkeeper who bridged the gap between the two days of the festival with their pop punk tunes. They made sure to end their set with their hit “Sunshine,” keeping spirits high for the crowd bracing the heat and the dust. House Parties followed, bringing their fresh take on emo-inspired pop punk. Notably, they covered Demi Lovato’s “Heart Attack,” and though it was perhaps a bit ambitious, they still pulled it off with a lot of respect and hype from the crowd. Shifting gears for a moment, People R Ugly took to the main stage with their genre-blending, pop punk-inspired indie rock. If the elder emo crowd wasn’t a fan before, they certainly got on board with their angsty breakup anthem “I Love Myself.”

Late Afternoon Sets - Four Chord Veterans and Rising Stars

Four Chord favorites Keep Flying kept the energy going with their ska-infused punk, which had fans singing and moshing for their entire set. Combined with their back-to-back set with yet another Four Chord regular, Patent Pending, the crowd got the jumpstart they needed to avoid that late afternoon slump. Songs like “Wobble” and “Punk Rock Songs” portrayed their chaotically good comradery, and frontman Joe Ragosta effortlessly engaged with the audience despite sound issues here and there. Rising talent HUNNY added to the indie music representation in the lineup, impressing folks with upbeat, feel-good fan favorites like “Shy” and “Vowels (And the Importance of Being Me).” Finally, Taylor Acorn took the main stage by storm with a performance that left nothing behind. She was able to connect with the audience on multiple levels with emotional songs like “Certified Depressant” and “Greener” mixed in with lighthearted singalong songs like “I Think I’m In Love” and “Psycho.” Her impressive vocals and stage presence was reminiscent of Paramore’s Hayley Williams, serving as a perfect segue into the rest of the evening.

Evening - Throwback Icons

The final few sets were perfectly curated for elder emos. Relient K kicked off the nostalgic tone for the rest of the night. Fans were captivated from the moment they stepped on stage to the moment they stopped off. They were able to sing and dance their hearts out to “Be My Escape” and “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been,” off the album Mmhmm, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Of course, Relient K ended their set with none other than “Sadie Hawkins Dance.”

Up next, Four Chord was treated to The Get Up Kids’ full album playthrough of Something to Write Home About. This set kicked off their upcoming tour celebrating 25 years since the album’s release, so if you weren’t able to make Four Chord you have a chance to see them play hits like “Holiday” and “Action & Action” in your city this Fall.

Motion City Soundtrack then brought their blend of energetic punk and introspective lyrics to Four Chord, which served as a pit stop before the final date on their I Am The Movie 20th Anniversary Tour. Their charismatic frontman, Justin Pierre, captivated the audience with his dynamic stage presence and heartfelt delivery.

The excitement only continued to grow as the night went on. Yinzers got to experience the highly anticipated return of Something Corporate, who gave a performance that was nothing short of triumphant. Andrew McMahon's piano-driven melodies infused their set with a unique vibrancy, creating a refreshing contrast to the guitar-heavy acts from earlier in the day. The band kicked off with “Space,” and hit after hit followed, including a performance of nine and a half-minute song “Konstantine.” The crowd's emotional connection was palpable, as they sang along passionately to every word.

Finally, the anticipation reached its peak for headliners The All-American Rejects. They kicked off their set with “Swing, Swing,” which set the tone for the songs that followed. Their set consisted primarily of hits from their first three albums, including “My Paper Heart,” “Dirty Little Secret,” and “I Wanna.” The Rejects seamlessly blended the nostalgia of their deep cuts with their more contemporary-sounding tracks like “Kids In The Street” and an acoustic rendition of “There’s A Place,” solidifying their enduring influence on the scene. An unexpected highlight was a cover of “Yellow” by Coldplay, a new addition to their repertoire for their festival run this Summer.

Frontman Tyson Ritter instantly commanded the stage with his Oklahoma twang-instilled vocals, possessed-by-the-music style of dancing, between-song antics, and chemistry with his bandmates. Captivating performances from guitarists Nick Wheeler and Mike Kennerty and drummer Chris Gaylor showcase why The Rejects are the musical giants they are today.

Overall, day two of Four Chord Music Festival was a celebration of all things emo. Featuring emerging talents and established icons, the lineup bridged the gap between feelings of nostalgia and excitement for what’s to come. Each band truly gave their all in their respective sets, culminating in a memorable performance by The All-American Rejects.

Below we review other aspects of the festival experience.

Venue - 3/5

This was the first year that Four Chord was held at the Carrie Furnaces, and though the historic meaning and industrial aesthetic of the Carrie Furnaces felt all too right for the DIY pop punk gathering, the venue also posed some challenges for festival goers. Day two of the festival experienced everything under the sun–and clouds–from high heat and humidity to rain and lightning to gusts of wind blowing dirt into the air and even breaking the zip ties securing the vinyl banners to the stage. While the festival organizers have no control over the weather, their preparedness for the variable Pittsburgh summer weather was somewhat lacking. We can credit them for setting up misters to manage the heat among the crowd, as well as an on-site storm gathering location a safe distance away from the stage in case of lightning (which did interrupt the festival schedule). Unfortunately, there were essentially no tents set up for the sake of having shaded areas. The versatility of tents serving as cover from both rain and sun, and being able to be set up in view of the stage, would have been a gamechanger for the festival.

Access to the venue was also less than ideal. Pittsburgh is a city with a decent bus system and is home to a considerable cycling population despite the hilly terrain. The Carrie Furnaces are located somewhat out of the way from both greener options of transportation. On-site parking was also limited and sold out in advance of the show. To combat this, the festival organized a free shuttle service between the venue and free off-site parking, which we commend them for. Overall, Yinzers seem to be open to another venue change for next year’s Four Chord.

Hospitality - 4/5

The food and beverage options at Four Chord were scaled to the size of the festival, both in terms of number of vendors and cost of menu items. Four Chord stayed true to their Pittsburgh pride with the hospitality options by mixing in Pittsburgh staples like Millie's Ice Cream and Veggies N’at with standard festival snack food like Auntie Anne's. A number of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage options were available as well, and for not an unreasonable price either ($10 24 oz. PBRs, $4 Monster Tour Water). Beverage vendors included Monster, of course, handing out cans for free at their tent, as well as Captain Morgan Rum, Surfside canned cocktails, Wild Basin Hard Seltzer, and Stone Brewing, offering attendees a variety of drink options to beat the heat with. We only hope that next year we see some local sponsors offering beverages.

Mission - 5/5

There may not be a mission other than bringing the crossroads of pop punk and emo music to Pittsburgh, but sometimes something doesn’t need to be anything more than what it is at face value. And at the end of the day, Four Chord does it well. There’s a reason this DIY festival has been going strong for a decade. In the past ten years, Four Chord has grown from a single-day club event to a two-day, two-stage shindig. The past years’ banners displayed on the fencing of the festival grounds nodded to the success over the years, and we are certainly excited to see Four Chord continue to grow.