Neck Deep are one of those bands who seem to have appeared from nowhere, but have been everywhere since and fans just can’t picture the rock scene without the Welsh lads. Forming in 2012 and sky rocketing ever since, the band have been breaking the mould of merely being a local band going nowhere in a small North Walian town, Wrexham, to dominating both the American and British pop punk scene, exploring the world, but never forgetting their roots.
With the release of their third studio album, ‘The Peace and the Panic’ (released on the 18th August 2017), Alternative press’ most anticipated album of the year, left fans in pure awe with deep and personal lyrics that deals with heart ache, grief and creating a balancing between, well peace and panic. The album has moved the band up in the ranks, cementing their legacy in the pop punk scene, offering a slight twist on their sound, by mixing more political and darker themes, along the usual melodic tunes from other albums. The best way to describe it? It’s definitely Neck Deep, mixing catchy, simplistic, yet still effective guitar riffs, on point drumming and highly relatable lyrics, as courtesy of Ben Barlow. Its these elements that make it similar to its predecessor, Life’s Not Out To Get You, offering comfort to fans, but still stepping away and developing the band and their image further. It won’t offer those who aren’t fond of the lads and their sound anything new, but for those dedicated fans, well it will allow them to remain loyal at least a little longer.
Fans could only predict and anticipate a UK and Ireland tour, and boy they were right. The tour started on the 4th October and concluded on the 14th of the same month, their biggest UK tour to date, selling out both Brixton Academy and the O2 Apollo in Manchester. Accompanied by Woes, Real Friends and As It Is, the lads certainly know how to keep their fans waiting, but still entertaining them in their choice of support acts, offering fans a chance to kick back and rock out, the level of energy throughout the tour has been extreme, the final night of the tour, Manchester, they said was by far the liveliest.
I fortunately bought standing tickets and went with a large group of people, standing is the best way to enjoy any gig in my opinion, especially knowing it’s the final date of the tour. However, it does have its disadvantages. The crowd was crammed and there was little space to move, due to it being a sold-out show, it was a claustrophobics idea of hell and each fan was packed in like a tin of sardines. The room quickly became overbearingly hot, sweating fans with each member of the crowd exuding their own body heat into the venue, jumping up and down and rocking out sure didn’t help, or the fact the band used flames throughout the show. This heat was the only time I have ever envied a seated member of the audience, they were cool and weren’t sweating at all.
The atmosphere at the gig, despite the rising temperature, was fantastic, especially the moment Neck Deep made their grand entrance, the room echoed with cheering and there was not one fan who merely stood there in silence. The excitement was contagious, I mean I was already excited, but being surrounded by just as dedicated fans, made it all the more worth-while. Each song translated from the album, to even better live, the energy and passion each member of Neck Deep put into their performance was not only admirable, but gave a sense of pride to those watching. The down to earth personalities of the lads also came across strong, talking to the crowd as though long-term friends between different tracks, it made the gig, despite a larger venue than we’re used to with these lads, more intimate and personal.
I won’t go into harrowing detail about each and every song they played, but I can tell you that each one was delivered with the same amount of passion and respect, the most note worth being, ‘Wish You Were Here.’ The song is about love and loss, where Ben Barlow and Fil Thorpe-Evans both lost their father’s whilst on tour, they dedicated to anyone in the crowd who is/was grieving and understand the pain of losing someone. The crowd lit up with phone torches and lighters, as each and every member of the crowd sang along. Many shed tears, as I did.
I can tell you, I have never been to a concert with that amount of passion, emotion and sense of security. Everyone in that room that night felt a sense of belonging, it wasn’t only the songs sang or the instruments played, it was the lads in Neck Deep who made it such a fantastic experience. If you’ve never been to a Neck Deep show, I highly recommend going, who knows, the next gig may be bigger and better than ever before.