Neck Deep have a bucket-list moment at the O2 Academy Brixton, shooting straight to the top of the pop-punk pile
UK POP-PUNK ROYALTY ASCEND TO THE THRONE WITH THE PERFECT CORONATION CEREMONY
FRIDAY THE 13 really is unlucky for some.thanks to a classic bit of four-band bill misfortune, the aptly named Woes get shunted onto the stage while everyone is still negotiating labyrinthine queues outside. Neck Deep frontman Ben Barlow even tries to help security get people in quickly, which is a nice touch after the bust-up between his band and bouncers at Nottingham Rock City three days ago.all of which means it’s impossible to tell from the faint strands that leak onto the street whether the openers’ cover of Smash Mouth’s All Star is an inspired party-starter or not.
In similarly self-deprecating, sad-lad style, Real Friends play their hearts out in front of a banner that reads ‘Wow,what A Great Day’, and the enormous cheer that greets its reveal raises excitement levels a notch or nine.true to the spirit of the occasion, they smartly avoid their more naval-gazing instincts in favour of punchiness, with frontman Dan Lambton keeping his Soupy-on-stabiliser-wheels schtick to a minimum.
Between bands, anti-suicide charity Hope For The Day founder Jonny Boucher makes rousing speeches promoting mental health with a charisma, enthusiasm and energy that gives his addition to the show the air of a hype man with a message.
Likewise,as It Is vocalist Pattywalters is the very definition of hype as he high-kicks his way onto the stage. His band have existed just as long as tonight’s headliners, yet theirs has been a more gradual rise. But when the whole room is bouncing with the Brighton pop-punks on Pretty Little Distance and screaming its collective lungs out on Dial Tones, it feels like a fine audition for doing something this mammoth themselves some day.
Neck Deep don’t just play a blinder of a Brixton headliner, though.they pull out every stop and trick, pacing things perfectly with a mix of old and new songs to please all sections of their fanbase.as the CO2 cannons blast and fire bursts rise towards the roof with the words ‘When the world went up in flames’ on Happy Judgement Day, it’s hard to believe this is the same scrappy bunch who got by on heart and effort alone in the 200-capacity Barfly just three years ago.they’ve grown into this role as rapidly as their fanbase has swelled, with Ben’s vocals now confident, strong and up to the challenge.
The constant sing-alongs and pogoing makes it feel like a shared celebration, too, and when lasers beam onto the sea of fans during the heart-wrenching In Bloom, things eke into the realm of epic event.the two-song encore of Can’t Kick Up The Roots and Where Do We Go When We Go, complete with confetti shower, only confirms that – and as the springy beats of 2 Unlimited’s novelty hit No Limit sends everyone home, it feels like a knowing, twofingered riposte to anyone who has ever doubted the Wrexham five-piece. Because Neck Deep didn’t just smash this personal landmark, they threw down a marker for a fearless future that should know no bounds.