Just two months ago, British pop-punkers, Neck Deep released their fourth full-length studio album. Their rise came on fast in strong with everyone seemingly latching onto that signature pop punk sound and that much was evident as they embarked on their world tour just last year. Now they’re back, with an even more emotional and hard hitting pop punk album and an even bigger tour than the last.
In true theatrical fashion, Neck Deep take to the stage with a curtain drop. It reveals their epic stage set up which is at the level of Pierce The Veil, Sleeping With Sirens or even some arena bands. Setting their sights high and treating these O2 Academy venues like they’re arenas – with incredible lighting to boot – is what makes it work. Fans are blown away, long gone are the days of intimate bar shows – this is a room packed full of people who are hanging onto Neck Deep and every bit of their success.
There is a slight downfall in that some of the songs on the set do bleed very easily into one another, it can be hard at some moments in the set to differentiate where one track ends and another begins. They do, however, have a lot of songs to get through with a mammoth setlist of 19 songs that showcase both fan favourites and the new material. The band does take time to stop and talk to the crowd occasionally.
Neck Deep vocalist Ben Barlow does talk more so when he stands on the stage alone with an acoustic guitar in hand. He mentions that his girlfriend is in the venue and requests the help to sing to her as he’s nervous. Fans do just that, filling the room with a chorus of their voices. It’s followed suit in the next performance too, where Fil-Thorpe Evans joins Barlow on stage for another stripped back track. This time he pays homage to both of their fathers who had passed; “It’s been a rough year,” he admits as he strums his guitar, readying it to play, “But if our songs can help any one of you, the way writing them helped me then that’s all we can ask for.” It’s met with an eruption of cheers and soon the room is flooded with light as phones and lighters are raised.
It’s a highlight of the set, it pulls Neck Deep from what is typical of them and that ability to be vulnerable unashamedly is possibly one of the reasons why fans relate and enjoy them so much. It does kick back in soon enough, with CO2 canons shooting off to the ceiling and confetti raining down for the last song of the night. While Neck Deep are now a serious band, making serious steps with their music, they don’t take themselves as individuals too seriously. They make it fun and an experience that is quite unforgettable, even for those that aren’t really that sold on them.