REVIEW: New Found Glory @ O2 Academy

Newcastle Upon Tyne
16th November 2014
More info on New Found Glory at their official website

Pop Punk’s  Not Dead Tour: New Found Glory’s way of telling us that they’re back with their eighth studio album to date which was released early last month. The album reached number three on the US alternative album chart and hit the top ten in the UK. The Florida pop-punk quartet have crossed the pond to show us what they’re all about  and they’ve brought with them four other bands, some not that well known, but others have recently made appearances on the main stage of some of the UK’s  largest music festivals.

Only Rivals were first to take to the stage tonight  and faced the challenge of breaking the ice with the crowd, hoping to prepare  them for the remaining four pop-punk bands to follow. An unusually early start time of 6pm  meant that the stalls were only half full and people seemed more interested  about catching up with their mates and having a couple of pints. This didn’t stop the Dublin quartet from giving 110%, premiering their new song, ‘Drive ,’ and making sure the crowd were amply ready for the next act.

The following band on the bill, Candy Hearts, failed to pick up where Only Rivals left off. The intensity of their performance did not deliver the same levels of energy to the crowd and this saw the more die-hard New Found Glory fans head back over to the bar. The Geordie crowd was proving to be somewhat of a challenge to conquer. Perhaps  it was the lack of familiarity with the bands material or the daunting realisation that the weekend was over and it was Monday the next day. Despite this , the venue was starting to fill out and by the end of their set they were in no position to receive criticism.

The common saying that first impressions count was certainly taken into consideration when State Champs took to the stage, making the entire crowd forget about the looming week ahead in an instant. Their debut performance in Newcastle more than delivered what was required. They were in a different league altogether, throwing their stage presence at the crowd, which gave the North American pop-punkers the honour of creating the first mosh-pit of the night.

The standards had been raised, but this didn’t deter The Story So Far. Fresh from playing Leeds & Reading Festival they launched into their setlist seeing endless circle pits draw in the vast majority of the crowd. This is what the audience came to see . The atmosphere hit everyone in the venue and it was hard not to enjoy yourself – everyone was having a great time; even the 50+ year old fathers who had been dragged along by their teenage daughters. Closing their set with the pop-punk anthem ‘High Regard’ left the crowd raw and ready for tonight’s headliners.

They went by the name of New Found Glory , Florida’s pop-punk legends since 1997. Their opening song ‘Selfless’ brought new levels of animated vitality to the stage. The audience were loving every minute of it, not one person failed to have a smile on their face. A sea of crowd-surfers was the lasting image of their closing song, along with frontman Jordan Pundik commanding the crowd to “lose their f**king minds”; which is exactly what they did. This whole tour had not only been done in commemoration of their new album Resurrection  but also to prove the point that although it may seem like pop-punk is dead, it is in fact more alive than ever.

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