After the clash between the band and security in Rock City last October which garnered headlines on music sites worldwide, Neck Deep brought their high-octane brand of UK pop punk to Canada this week and they did not fail to impress. The Welsh band have gone from strength to strength in recent years, particularly with their last two albums – whilst 2015’s Life’s Not Out to Get You clearly evidenced their potential, 2017’s The Peace and The Panic is undoubtedly their most successful album to date, packed with full throttle pop punk as well as some more delicate acoustic tracks that expose their softer side.
Supported by Southampton native horror-punk band Creeper, State Champs bassist Ryan Scott Graham’s acoustic solo effort Speak Low If You Speak Love and Seaway, the night was already sure to be full of promise. Seaway in particular stood out from the crowd here as they oozed confidence in front of their home-country crowd, with frontman Ryan Locke donning sunglasses for the whole set – somehow seemingly getting away with it thanks to their exuberant brand of pop punk which doesn’t take itself too seriously.
The main draw of course were the Wrexham boys, who, for this Brit abroad at least, offered a little glimpse of home just by their appearance. The real question in this case was would the bands live show live up to their albums successes, and luckily in this case, the band delivered. The crowd never stood still, and the energy never waned in the room until an emotional acoustic reprieve near the end of the show. Neck Deep proved their back catalogue is becoming something to envy, storming through their collection of huge choruses and guitar-driven songs from LNOTGY like Lime St, Kali Ma and Citizens of Earth, as well as recent calmer, sentimental offerings from TPATP such as In Bloom, Parachute and Wish You Were Here.
Its unsurprising perhaps that the songs which gathered the biggest response – other than fan favourites like a full band version of A Part of Me – were those infused with political outrage. Happy Judgement Day had a whole new anger when performed live which the album version doesn’t quite capture, in a similar way to the fervour that Don’t Wait was received with. Including some guest vocals from Seaway’s Ken Taylor (which almost weren’t needed due to how loudly the crowd were shouting), Don’t Wait perhaps sums up the overall message of TPATP. Neck Deep dare us to “question everything” and in today’s political climate, particularly on this continent as well as back home in the UK, that’s definitely what we need to be willing to do.
Neck Deep’s The Peace and The Panic USA (& Canada) tour. MacEwan Ballroom, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.