Neck Deep

Fuck Neck Deep mate, they’re shit.

Sorry. I was struggling with how to start this so I went with the overly obvious, cliche opening sentence. I’ll probably regret it later but let’s just go with it for now. We’ve established what this post will be about and that’s the main thing.

So, not only did I get to see Neck Deep live but I also got to meet them through their Soundcheck Club package. I tend to be really fussy with VIP as there’s times when the price isn’t worth what’s being offered but £30 for soundcheck, a Q&A, signing, photo and early entry?  I’m down. In the soundcheck they played three songs that weren’t in the setlist; Threat Level MidnightLosing Teeth and Serpents, and answered three questions inbetween each song (9 questions between 159 people…a bit of a stretch but ok). This was then followed by the signing and photo. We were allowed to have one item signed each so I bought their cover of Rock Sound which I think they had a little bit too much fun with doodling all over it. I mean:

Unfortunately for the photo everybody was rushed so I didn’t get a chance to properly say hi to them but we got this pretty cute picture:

Now onto the show: the support acts for tonight were Woes, Real Friends and As It Is. I hadn’t heard of Scottish pop-punk band, Woes, before but within 30 seconds of them playing the first song I was already onboard, there was not one dull moment during their set with the main highlights being their minute cover of Smash Mouth’s All Star, and then Real Friends, As It Is and Neck Deep coming out to celebrate the lead vocalist’s birthday (I couldn’t find your name I’m so sorry!). Next up was Real Friends. I had listened to them a bit before, mainly their more well known songs like Mess and I’ve Given Up On You so I wanted to use this opportunity to check them out properly and I was certainly not disappointed. I need to say that Dan Lambton is an adorable, talented bean. I know that sounds weird/stupid but I love watching people who are genuinely having the time of their life performing onstage and are so incredibly happy, it’s so wonderful to watch. Final support act of the night, As It Is, were also good tonight although not the best that I had seen them. Their guitarist, Andy Westhead, has recently left the band (depending on who you ask), so I don’t know if it was the fact that he was no longer in the band that made them lack the spark they usually have or that it simply not their best night?

I need to give a huge shoutout and thank you to Neck Deep for doing this. The Peace and The Panic tour had been sponsored by Hope For The Day and before the show started they had a spokesperson come out and give a speech about mental health. They said that “it’s okay not to be okay”, that’s it’s good to speak out and get help, and promised that things will get better. They also told us where to go to get leaflets with advice and stories from the bands on this tour of how they dealt with mental health issues. Loads of people like to attack Neck Deep, whether you are a fan of their music or not is up to you, but you need to seriously commend them for this. That speech given out each night of this tour would have helped someone and in the process saved their life. Thank you.

And now for the main event. Last time Neck Deep was on tour they were playing small, independent venues and now here they were playing o2 Academy level venues. Could a pop-punk band from Wrexham be able to pull off a larger scale show in a 2,000 capacity room? Fuck yes they can.

Hiding behind and then being revealed by a large white sheet, they went straight into one of the two lead singles from their newest album, The Peace and the PanicHappy Judgement Day, followed immediately by Lime St.

The use of larger venues has now given them the opportunity to have a larger production and, well, holy shit it was incredible visually. “Last tour we had pretend flames onstage that we thought looked cool but actually looked a bit shit,” laughed frontman, Ben Barlow. “But now we’ve got real flames!”

The setlist consisted of the majority of their songs from their newest album like Motion SicknessParachute and The Grand Delusion, while still remaining loyal to their previous albums and playing classics like What Did You ExpectCitizens of Earth and Kali Ma. It’s not a Neck Deep show without the non-stop sea of crowdsurfers and Manchester certainly did not disappoint.

It’s also not a Neck Deep show without a little acoustic session; Head To The GroundWish You Were Here (not a dry eye in the room) and, of course, A Part Of Me.

The encore for tonight was Can’t Kick Up The Roots and appropriately ended with Where Do We Go When We Go, cue the large stream of confetti. An appropriate ending for a mind-blowing night.

Neck Deep never fail to impress me with their live shows and now that I’ve seen them a large scale show with a huge production value I do wonder where they could go from here. I’ll tell you. They’re only going to get bigger and better.

Well I did start this with something cliche so I may as well end it with something cliche.

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