With the release of "The Peace And The Panic" (Hopeless Records), British pop-punk group Neck Deep have returned stateside for a full U.S. tour in support of the album. The band has been touring non-stop in support of the album, headlining the Vans Warped Tour in 2017 and a full European tour shortly after. With them, Neck Deep brought an eclectic mix of artists for support; dark and gothic Creeper, emo indie group Speak Low If You Speak Love, and classic pop-punk outfit Seaway. The tour hit the Palladium in Worcester, MA on Saturday, and will continue to make stops across the U.S. and Canada through the end of February.
First to the stage were the gothic punks in Creeper. The U.K. based group was a surprise to the pop-punk heavy bill, but it felt right. They bring back memories of “The Black Parade” era My chemical romance, dressed in all black and dark makeup. Creeper came out of the gate fast, quickly getting the crowd riled up and moving. It was slightly surprising how much of the crowd were screaming the lyrics back, but it only made the set even more enjoyable. It was evident that the band was feeding from the ferocious energy of the crowd. The seven-song set flew by in the blink of an eye, ending with the band’s hit single “Misery” from their first full-length release, Eternity, In Your Arms (Roadrunner Records). The crowd helped to finish off the set as vocalists Will Gould and Hannah Greenwood dropped off the song to let the fans take over. The room swelled with the sound of thousands of people singing, an incredible end to a set that could have continued to entertain for at least another hour.
The mood shifted as Speak Low If You Speak Love took the stage with their much more subdued emo sound. Front-man Ryan Scott Graham also plays bass in State Champs, one of pop-punks biggest names right now. The set started with the first single off the band’s second full-length record Nearsighted (Pure Noise Records), “Enough”. Despite the much more mellow vibe of this set, the crowd was still fired up and ready to go. Graham commented at the end of the song to say he saw the first successful crowd surfer during their set of the whole tour, which prompted a sea of crowd surfers and even a circle pit. The band was receptive to the massive energy in the room, even saying that it was “the rowdiest Speak Low show we’ve ever played”. The set was heavy on Nearsighted tracks, but the set ended with the band’s first ever single “Knots”.
Although the crowd never let their energy drop, the music once again shifted back to the fast-paced and heavy sound that started the night as Canadians Seaway stormed the stage. Seaway had just finished a North American tour supporting their recent album Vacation and wasted no time hopping right on another tour. The crowd received their classic pop-punk sound with open arms and open pits. Starting with “Slam” from their 2015 release Colour Blind, Seaway hit the crowd with their mantra “Everything is cool, man” right away. It was clear they were just there to have a good time and play music to people who appreciate it. Their set was packed with as many tracks as they could squeeze in the time limit, playing a variety of songs from all three of their full length releases. They ended the set with “Lula on the Beach” from Vacation and the crowd was left riled up and ready to let loose during Neck Deep.
Anticipation in the crowd rose as a white curtain was hung from the ceiling as the crew finished setting the stage. After what seemed like an eternity, the lights dimmed and a ferocious roar erupted from the audience. The white curtain dropped to reveal the U.K rockers on stage, with vocalist Ben Barlow clad in a New England Patriots’ jersey for the Super Bowl to take place the next day. They wasted no time going right into “Happy Judgement Day” from The Peace and the Panic. The 17-song set was heavy on their new material, pulling mainly from their most recent release and 2015’s Life’s Not Out To Get You. The minimal selections from earlier Neck Deep records like Rain in July and Wishful Thinking, was slightly disappointing. Even without the heavier side of their catalogue, Neck Deep still brought power and energy to the stage, keeping the crowd off their feet and moving the whole time with tracks like “Don’t Wait” and “Citizens of Earth.” Eventually things slowed down, as all member but Barlow left the stage for an emotional acoustic performance of “Head To The Ground”. This was followed by another acoustic rendition of “Wish You Were Here” in which guitarist Fil Thorpe re-joined Barlow on stage. Barlow mentioned that both he and Thorpe had suffered immense losses in the previous year and dedicated the song to those who had also lost somebody important in their life. The rest of the band returned to the stage to finish off the song and then begin Neck Deep’s arguably biggest hit, “A Part of Me”. Hannah Greenwood of Creeper joined them on stage for the duet, originally performed by Laura Whiteside. The band left the stage for a moment as the crowd chanted for one more song. They eventually returned, upping the crowd’s request to play two more songs, “Can’t Kick Up The Roots” and ending the set with “Where Do We Go When”. Neck Deep put on an entertaining performance full of energy and emotion, marking themselves as one of the best live acts in the scene right now.
Photos - Neck Deep, Seaway, Speak Low If You Speak Love, Creeper @ Palladium in Worcester, MA 02.03.18: