Neck Deep rolled into the Starland Ballroom Saturday night and brought a stellar line up with them. I have been to hundreds of shows there and it is rare that a pop-punk show sells out the venue. I knew I was in for a treat once I saw the massive line wrapping around the building.
The first band to hit the stage was WSTR. This was one of the bands that I was looking forward to seeing the most. This was their first tour in the USA and they sure didn't disappoint. They started the concert strong and brought tons of energy to the stage. They ripped through a nine song set full of jams off their two latest albums. They opened with “Tell Me More” and "Crisis", my favorite track off the new album "Identity Crisis". They mixed in three more new tracks and some classics off "Red, Green or Inbetween" to finish the set. The audience got moving quickly and didn't let up till the end of the show. Once they came to "Lonely Smiles" at the end of the set the entire venue was singing along. I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the opening band commanded the stage and really got the crowd moving and singing along. I definitely recommend checking these guys out and picking up their new album "Identity Crisis".
Australian band Stand Atlantic hit the stage next. This was the only band on the tour that I had not listened to or seen prior to the show. This seemed to be the case with the crowd as well, but after a few tracks they started warming up and moving along with the music. The band played through some songs off “Sidewinder" and played some new songs off forthcoming album Skinny Dipping. I was a big fan of lead singer Bonnie Fraser's voice which had a soft yet harsh tone to it. Keep an eye out for their debut release "Skinny Dipping" which will be dropping on Hopeless Records in October.
Trophy Eyes, another Australian band, hit the stage third. I've been a huge fan of these guys since their first album "Mend, Move On" and was looking forward to their set. The last time I had seen them was their tour with Moose Blood two years ago in NYC. The band has definitely matured musically since then and their performance showed that. The lights went out and they went into "A Cotton Candy Sky" off the new album "The American Dream". John Floreani kept the crowd moving and played through eleven tracks off their releases "The American Dream" and "Chemical Miracle". It was great seeing the crowd chant along with new songs like "You Can Count on Me" and "Lavender Bay" but also crowd surf and mosh to hits like "Chlorine" off "Chemical Miracle". I highly recommend listening to "The American Dream" it's one of my picks for album of the year.
With the crowd going and energy at full throttle everyone was ready for Neck Deep to take the stage. The crowd surfing began immediately with bodies flying through the air. The first three tracks encompassed their first three albums in order. Starting off with the upbeat "Motion Sickness" off "The Peace and the Panic" then moving onto "Gold Steps" and "Crushing Grief (No remedy". The set was electric until they took a break to debut their new cover "Torn" by Natalie Imbruglia. Vocalist Ben Barlow stopped to talk about mental health and promote the album "Songs That Saved My Life". It is being put out by Hopeless Records and their non-profit organization Sub City as part of a compilation to benefit mental health and suicide prevention organizations. The set picked back up and went into my favorite track of the night “Kali Ma" off "Life's Not Out to Get You." Neck Deep then brought out two classics from their first release "Rain in July." They played through "I Couldn't Wait to Leave 6 Months Ago" and "What Did You Expect?" which garnered screams from the older fans in the crowd. The band ripped through sixteen songs before ending with the hit single "In Bloom". Once off stage the NECK DEEP chants began and the group came out to play "Can't Kick Up the Roots" and "Where Do We Go From Here" to end an incredible show. Overall this was one of the best shows I've seen this year. The energy was relentless through the entire show and all of the bands got great responses from the crowd. All the bands are on Hopeless records so please check them out and give the bands a listen.