Pop punk giants Neck Deep + State Champs entertain an abundance of fans at one of Glasgow’s biggest venues
Whilst it’s often an easy target in the eyes of some music fans and critics, it’s difficult to think of a genre that offers the same energy and infectious entertainment like pop punk can. Call it cheesy or generic all you want (Neck Deep have wore the title “Generic Pop Punk” with pride) but with feverish hooks in abundance and some expertly written lyrics, it’s a genre that deserves all the praise and popularity it gets.
Tonight was the perfect time for the Glasgow to showcase this with not one but two of the biggest bands in the genre. Whilst the night started off fairly good with band Light Years managing to please the audience with some bass driven tracks before dip in quality when succeeding band Creeper showed up, the first heavy hitter band set the quality for the rest of the night: State Champs.
The New York band had been in Glasgow just last year but things couldn’t be more different. Not only have they performed live extensively to promote their second full length album Around The World And Back but the O2 Academy is absolutely swarmed with flannel and cap wearing fans, more than seven times bigger than King Tuts 300 capacity.
A big venue entails a big show and State Champs don’t disappoint as they start off with colossal song Secrets, full of New Found Glory-esque delivery and a chorus that sets off a tidal wave reaction on the crowd in front. The band evoke such a reaction out of the audience that it’s impossible to decide who is having more fun with Derek Discanio jumping around the stage like a cheerleader, smiling almost non-stop as he tells everyone how happy they are to be back and playing in front of such an adoring pack of fans.
When they finish their set with Elevated, a circle pit ensues with people of all ages joining in, a true testament to the power of State Champs fun,catchy ode to youth in all their songs.
Speaking of which, the act which many had came to see tonight make their way onto the stage and are welcomed with girls screaming and the trademark Scottish chant “Here we, here we, here we fucking go”. Yes, Neck Deep had a cracking 2015 and they don’t seem to be taking 2016 off as an easy year as not even a few technical hiccups can hinder a band that are the incarnation of everything that made pop punk what it is back in the 90’s and early 2000’s.
Even from the get go, we already see them channelling their inner Sum 41 on the angst ridden Citizens Of Earth as Ben Barlow take the songs lyrics “we can’t break loose if we stay in place” to heart, jumping off anything and everything. Whilst the tour is meant to be for promoting the bands latest LP Life’s Not Out To Get You, the set’s best most moments came whenever tracks from their debut Wishful Thinking came out to play. Losing Teeth is a timeless classic despite only coming out a few years ago and the chug-chug guitar ridden Crushing Grief (No Remedy) feels like this generation’s Dammit, in both title and sound.
A Part Of Me provides a bit of breathing space after Smooth Seas Don’t Make Good Sailors and What Did You Expect but what it lacks in vitality, it makes up for with both romantic yet heartbreaking lyrics which, while not totally originally in a genre associated with being sad and hating everything, doesn’t fail in getting the audience to sing along.
I went into this gig enjoying a lot of pop punk whilst being aware of the pitfalls of the genre but after leaving the O2 Academy tonight, I’ve been won over. Resorting back to my 14 year old days of Green Day on loop all the time, Neck Deep and State Champs gave me my money’s worth and then some. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to eat pizza and complain about having to clean my room.
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