Following the success of their second album ‘Life’s Not Out To Get You’, and
going on a sold out UK tour, Neck Deep went onto perform to over 1,500 people
at the O2 Institute in Birmingham on Monday, making it their first date on the UK tour.
The band had support acts from the likes of Light Years, Creeper and State Champs.
After waiting in the cold and finally getting into the venue, first up were US band
Light Years. This band was great as opening acts to start off the UK tour. Light
Years were the perfect mix of keeping the crowd entertained and calm whilst
they waited for State Champs and Neck Deep to come on stage. Performing songs
that made the band seem worthy of being up on stage, Light Years oozed
excellence, keeping the crowd entertained from start to end.
Next up is a band from the UK, Creeper. Creeper had a very My Chemical
Romance style to their stage presence from their clothing to their stage makeup.
However they had a lot of energy and from the looks of the crowd they were
spreading it like it was contagious. Will Ghould was running up and down the
stage exuding energy. This is a band that has being on stage and knowing how to
work a crowd just right. From asking for circle pits, to jumping and singing,
Creeper knew just what to do. They had an amazing stage setup too, from
awesome lighting to an incredible backdrop, these guys had it all.
Just before Neck Deep were up on stage, another band from the US, State
Champs, were up. Now these guys were the other band the crowd were waiting
to see perform as well as Neck Deep. As soon as the crowd saw lead singer Derek
Discanio on stage, all hell broke loose. The crowd were pushing at the hopes that
they would be able to get closer to the band, all while singing back the songs they
all know and love. Performing songs from their new and old albums, State
Champs were the perfect band to have on stage for this tour. Starting their set off
with ‘Secrets’, everyone knew it was going to be a great show from then on. State
Champs are well champs (no pun intended) at what they do, they know how to
please the crowd but also have fun themselves. It was clear to see how much
they enjoy being on stage and doing what they do, and this is what all bands
should be like, as it makes the show for the fans just that much better. From
being asked for a circle pit to getting fans to throw their hands in the air, it was
clear fans were getting a lot more than they bargained for.
The time everyone was waiting for, finally on stage was British band Neck Deep.
Entertaining the crowd with fan favourites such as Losing Teeth, Kali Ma, A Part
Of Me and Can’t Kick Up The Roots.
Ben Barlow, lead singer of Neck Deep, knew how to work the crowd, from getting
them to flash their lights to getting a circle pit started, Barlow had the crowd
right where he wanted.
Starting off with ‘Citizens of Earth’, as soon as the first note started playing the
crowd lost it and starting pushing to get closer again to the band. Crowd surfers
were already on their way to the front, causing every security guard available
run to the barrier to grab them before anything could happen. There were so
many crowd surfers that the photographers, myself being one of them, were
being thrown all over the place, just so us and the band were safe, although I did
accidently elbow Ben, who happened to be on stage in front of me, when this was
happening, sorry Ben! Followed up was a fan favourite ‘Losing Teeth’, this is a
classic track that is guaranteed to get everyone on their feet.
Performing tracks off both their albums and EP’s, there was a mix of songs being
performed. Half way through the set, all the band beside Ben, left the stage for an
intimate song ‘Head To The Ground’ where Ben played the guitar singing to a
crowd that were singing back to him. I personally did not think Ben would
perform this alone, considering he does not usually play guitar on stage, but
somehow he made the song work so well, that I saw a few tears being shed from
The energy is high in the crowd tonight, from circle pits, to screaming out lyrics,
the fans were not going to let the energy die out. When ‘Kali Ma’ being the
seventh song performed that evening started, the band spoke about how they
had released a video for it just a few days before and spoke about how much fun
they had making it. Now all fans know this is where Jeremy McKinnon from A
Day To Remember makes his debut, but of course with him not being on the tour,
it was up to Ben to show us if he was up to the test. Let me tell you now that Ben
sang his heart out and did Jeremy justice, he matched Jeremy’s screams in the
song perfectly, that it was awe inspiring just watching him.
A personal favourite of mine was ‘Smooth Seas Don’t Make Good Sailors’, this is
off the new album, and it was quite possibly the highlight of the night for me. The
crowd ate up every word and note that was coming from the band and they were
wanting more. The stage was perfect in terms of relating to the theme the band has going on for
their latest album. There were boxes with fake fire drawn on them along with the
speakers designed in the same way. The band laughed and told the fans they
didn’t have enough money in their budget for real fire so they would have to deal
with fake. There were no confetti canons but there was a lot of smoke, from just
before the band were up to the very end where they had an explosion of smoke
highlighting the highs of some of the songs.
Overall this was the perfect tour for anyone who wants to have a good time
listening to huge songs and be surrounded by great energy. For anyone who
hasn’t seen Neck Deep or even State Champs before, what are you waiting for,
check them out and see if they are coming to a city near you and get your tickets
Written & Photography by Samia Mirza
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