Headliner: Neck Deep
Support: Seaway, Trophy Eyes, Knuckle Puck
Where: Birmingham Academy 2
When: 27th January 2015
Reviewed By: Jamie Kerr
Oh boy have I been waiting ages for this gig. Last time I went to see Neck Deep was at Slam Dunk, but unfortunately by the time they came out I was way too drunk to have any memory of them playing. Fast forward eight months and I’m on my way to Birmingham, having promised myself to stay sober so I can take it all in.
It’s a busy night for music in the second city. Jessie J is performing in the same venue and Slipknot are a couple of miles away across the city. So as you can imagine, the traffic is a ballache. Which unfortunately means I missed the first set which turned out to be Seaway, despite the tour poster stating Trophy Eyes being on first. Apparently the two are alternating who opens each show…..which in this case hadn’t worked in my favour, as I was hugely disappointed by Trophy Eyes. I must admit I hadn’t listened to them before but I can’t see myself wanting to based on this performance. The sound guy could’ve done better as their guitarists were drowned out by the bass which made their set completely forgettable. They were certainly the heaviest band on the bill with a similar sound to Title Fight, another band that I don’t really care for. The crowd were quite receptive to them and I’m sure they’d won over new fans, but I’m not one of them.
Next up were Knuckle Puck, who I was particularly keen to see. Their latest release While I Stay Secluded was a hugely impressive record and I expected big things from their performance. And they certainly didn’t disappoint, with a set list combining old and new songs. Their sound is quite close to that of Real Friends but not quite so depressing. They also possess one of the best pop-punk songs I have heard in a long time in But Why Would You Care. It’s a track full of heart and melody and there’s no difference live. It’s also nice to see that they aren’t just dining out on their latest release, with songs such as Gold Rush and No Good from their previous EP releases going down an absolute storm, proving that fans have been waiting a long time for them to final play their first show in the Midlands. I was kind of holding out for their awesome cover of The 1975’s Chocolate, but I think that was wishful thinking (pardon the pun).
After a quick crowd singalong of All The Small Things (quite fitting given all the drama that erupted the day before), Neck Deep come bouncing out. Predictably their set opens with Losing Teeth in the same way their album does, but it’s a fantastic way to open what continued to be a expertly executed set. There was a great mix of songs from their debut album and earlier EPs Rain In July / A History of Bad Decision. Particular highlights included Tables Turned, Over and Over, Growing Pains and the massive singalong for A Part Of Me. The latter had the hairs on the back of my neck up. Ben Barlow may as well have gone off and had a break, so loud was the whole room singing along. As their set draws to a close with What Did You Expect, they come back out for their encore with the anthemic Candour which was the perfect way to end the night. Their set was exactly what I expected it would be, tight as fuck, full of energy and hella good fun.
All the hype surrounding Neck Deep right now is fully justified, and they are well one their way to becoming a legendary pop-punk band if they carry on like this. With a second album on the way at some point this year, they’re definitely one to keep an eye on and you can bet your life you’ll be hearing even more of them this year.