After a colossal night at The Metro Theatre, hearing the phrase ‘pop punk is dead’ feels oh so desperately wrong. Having been near sixteen months since the release of their third album The Peace and The Panic, Welsh Four-Piece Neck Deep finally returned to Sydney as headliners for a ridiculously high energy fueled night of nonstop bops – and they’ve brought along some Aussie staples for the ride too.
The night is essentially a massive celebration of all the good pop punk of recent years. With bands like Stateside, Between You & Me, Stand Atlantic moving in support for the colossal Neck Deep, anyone who snagged a ticket to this sold out event was in for a sure-fire night of non-stop pop-punk related boogies.
A testament to just how stacked the night was, Stateside opened to an already packed out Metro. On the backend of what’s been a massive year for the Brisbane rockers, including a tour with Simple Plan, Stateside have proved they’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the new year. The band played a set primarily consisting of songs from their 2017 effort Naïve, which proved their track record in hyping up effortlessly. Frontwoman Erin Rues has an insane ability to get a crowd moving and within two songs, everyone in the metro is moving around in sync with her. It’s a treat to see Stateside so effortlessly make The Metro their home. It’s a testament to the quality of their performance ability, and the improvements they’ve seen in recent times.
Swiftly following is Between You & Me. Having released one hell of an album earlier in the year, Everything Is Temporary, it’s clear why the Melbournites are here amongst this stacked lineup. With bassist James Karagiozis being a particularly eccentric performer, and vocalist Jake Wilson being filled with boundless leaps to hype the crowd, there’s a flow of vigor that permeates the room. With BYAM, the crowd surfing starts and genuinely doesn’t stop for the rest of the night.
They kick the set off with Twice Shy, the opening track from Everything Is Temporary, which feels fitting (for obvious reasons), and there’s rarely any breaks in between. Something that’s really striking about Between You & Me’s performances is that all of their songs harbor the same high-octane energy, and it’s impossible not to see the amount of effort and love that goes into playing the songs.
Stand Atlantic, new Hopeless signees tore up the stage with a nostalgic mix of older-EP Chemicals, which saw the entire crowd chanting in unison and their debut album Skinny Dipping, which was meant with similar enthusiasm. Being their first shows since the release of Skinny Dipping, it’s spectacular to see the translation from recording to live performance.
A massive stand out from the set is the first song played, Lavender Bones. Having been the initial single for Skinny Dipping, everyone in the pit cheers in excitement. And with that, the crowd surfing continues, with the only gaps being the spaces between BYAM and STAT. It feels really special to see Stand Atlantic play to a crowd of this size for a hometown show, and it’s clear to see why they’re second on the bill. They close out their set on another high note, with Coffee At Midnight. The song is essentially built for chanting, and the entire Metro is screaming the intro back at front woman Bonnie Fraser. It’s impossible not to see the smiles rise across the rest of the band’s faces.
The room fills to the brim right before Neck Deep storms the stage. That’s when the riff for Motion Sickness kicks in, and the pit opens up. It’s a genuine outbreak of chaos as Neck Deep begins their set, with people flying into each other. The momentum doesn’t stop as the band moves through iconic tracks like Gold Steps and Parachute.
Being a late tour in support of The Peace and The Panic, Neck Deep’s set still ends up filled to the brims with old classics, yet still celebrates the latest entry to their discography.
The night progresses with an immense cover in the form of Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn. I never really thought I’d see such aggression arise from a late 90s pop classic, yet here I am. It’s honestly such a treat to see such enthusiasm for an old Aussie track.
The rest of the night is fast and furious, and packed tighter with emotions than a can of sardines. Front man Ben Barlow’s deep connection with his father is something well known to fans of the band, and it’s felt throughout the venue when 19 Seventy Sumthin’, the ode to Barlow’s father is played.
Neck Deep busts out their massive track In Bloom straight after, and a chorus of voices is undeniably louder than it’s been than the rest of the night. It’s clear to see the amount of love everyone has for this band.
After briefly disappearing off stage, Neck Deep returns for an encore (surprise!), with classics Can’t Kick Up The Roots, All Hype No Heart (where guitarist Matt West takes on vocals, which is a massive treat for the crowd) and the triumphant Where Do We Go When We Go.
Being a staple band of the genre for so long, it’s incredible to see the longevity and success that Neck Deep has seen. As the wave of this genre continues on, it’ll be exciting to see what’s in store for the pop punk titans next. Here’s hoping Australia will get to see them a little sooner after release next time!