A Day To Remember / New Found Glory / Neck Deep / Moose Blood
Leeds Arena – 28/01/17
Tonight is arguably the one of the biggest pop-punk-rock shows of the year with such an extraordinary line up of both of the best new an old established bands around. As we make our way down to the arena floor there is a major turn out for the opening band, so we’re jumping aboard the hype train nice and early to catch the fresh Moose Blood to see what all the fuss is about.
When we had seen Moose Blood (7) for the first time supporting Lower Than Atlantis just over a year ago, we were rather un-impressed with their performance. It lacked character, charisma and that something special to grab our attention. A year later the band seem to have found themselves plus all of the above to put together a much more deserving performance for a place on the arena stage.
With a short but sweet setlist built of tracks from their new hit album ‘Blush’, the Canterbury lads have the crowd singing along from start to finish. Tracks such as the deliciously structured ‘Honey’ and ‘Knuckles’ are enough to kick off the evening in high spirits. The new material sound great, and even the older tracks like ‘Bukowski’ dug out from their debut album ‘I’ll keep you in mind, from Time to Time’ is much more raw and driven than the newer material. It almost kicks up a fuss, but stuck to formation it still isn’t enough to have the crowd really moving early to ready themselves for the chaos that is to follow later in the night.
Still that being said, it’s a promising performance from Moose Blood, and we still feel they have plenty of room to grow to fill stages this big. We’re pretty confident we will have much more to come them in the near future.
Neck Deep (8) take a slightly different approach to warming the crowd up. Unlike the openers, they pace around the stage leaving no space uncovered right from the very start with the frantic ‘Gold Steps’, which lifts the atmosphere inside the arena instantly.
Frontman Ben Barlow is here solely to make sure every single person in the arena is well and truly involved. He fires orders for mosh pits and crowdsurfers from song to song, and won’t settle until he hears the crowd singing back at him.
The Welsh pop-punks have an arsenal of material to fill more than a 3rd support spot on a tour like this, so they squeeze as much as they can in the half hour they have to impress their onlookers. ‘Kali Ma’ and ‘Lime St.’ leave us head banging and bouncing along, while ‘A Part Of Me’ and ‘December’ throw in a curveball to slow the set down a little for a sing along.
The bouncy ‘Can’t Kick up the Roots’ closes the set in style as guitarists Matt Wests and Sam Bowden bounce from the stage risers thrashing out riffs, whilst the front man gives it everything he has to kick up a fuss one last time. A seemingly quick one, but a job very well done!
New Found Glory (9), tonight’s main support don’t need any introduction. Having inspired so many pop punk bands we have flying the flag today like Neck Deep, it’s no surprise to find a celebratory banner boasting ’20 years of pop punk’ hanging from the towering stage. Greeted with heroic applause and screams they sprint out to the stage and throw us straight into ‘All Downhill From Here’.
Front man Jordan Pundik darts around the stage with his microphone glued to his mouth punching the air, Bassist Ian Grushka keeps pulling power stances with comical faces to the people on the front row, whilst Guitarist Chad Gilbert and Drummer Cyrus Bolooki are both thrashing their instruments so powerfully you can probably hear them outside the arena. ‘Understatement’ follows in an equally frantic manner and suddenly we are reminded why New Found Glory really are one of the best live pop punk bands around.
‘Hit and Miss’ throws us back with some pop-punk nostalgia before NFG’s cover of ‘Kiss Me’ has even the few unfamiliar fans singing along to the top of their voices! With their new album ‘Makes Me Sick’ set for release in April, they treat us to a first hearing of their new single ‘Happy Being Miserable’, which is everything and more of what we expect it to be from the masters themselves.
Nothing other than ‘My Friends Over You’ could close the set with such authority, leaving everyone bouncing and ultimately dying to hear more.
A bite size set of what New Found Glory are all about followed by the announcement of their return in the fall should be enough to ensure a few extra ticket sales for their ’20 years of pop-punk’ tour, and you can guarantee we will be there!
Anyone who knows A Day To Remember (10) well, knows they certainly don’t do things in halves. So it’s to nobody’s surprise that they come firing all guns blazing with confetti cannons at the ready for opener ‘Mr Highway’s Thinking About The End’! Front man Jeremy McKinnon hits the stage screaming ‘Wake Up’, which is all that’s needed for complete chaos to kick off both on and off the stage.
With this being the ‘Bad Vibrations’ tour in support of the new album, it falls to the lead single ‘Paranoia’ to make its live debut in Leeds for the first of the new tracks tonight, and it goes down an absolute treat. The heavy rock driven verse leads into a fiery chorus being screamed right back at the front man ferociously.
Clearly a lot has gone into the production for the show on this tour too, as not only do we have confetti cannons, streamers, CO2 cannons, and inflatable mammals flying around the crowd, the stage set up looks pretty impressive too. Backed with stunning visuals on towering lcd screens with clocks and moving tape players aside, there is plenty happening around the band on stage.
‘Right Back At It Again’ is an early call for the highlight of the set as usual, however ‘I’m Made Of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?’ was equally as good live, and even had Jeremy linked up to the big screens with a hand held camera filming the crowd which only encouraged them to be even more crazy as they already were!
From here on we’re taken through a set of bangers both old and brand new. New track ‘Naivety’ sounded fantastic live and even had crowd surfer-surfers, (yes believe us, it’s possible!). The mayhem continues into it’s peak with the brilliant ‘All I Want’ getting one of the loudest reactions of the night before ‘The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle’ finished off the set with an explosive finish.
Predictably the call for an encore thunders through the room as everyone stomps on the floor and claps their hands, and it’s eventually met with Jeremy back on the stage with lead guitarist Kevin Staff, armed with their acoustic guitars for a beautiful performance of ‘If It Means A Lot To You’. It has the arena lit up from front to back with mobile phones and lighters, which looks incredible. As the song progresses the rest of the band return and it builds up to a powerful close.
After a breather, it’s full steam ahead for two final songs as ‘All Signs Point To Lauderdale’ gets the party back in full swing, with giant circle pits and toilet rolls flying through the air like budget streamers. Who knew you could have so much fun with loo rolls!?
Only one song has been absent tonight and everyone knows exactly what’s coming up next. ‘Let’s end this shit right boys!’ demands Jeremy as the intro to ‘Downfall Of Us All’ is chanted out with fists punching through the air! It’s an explosive performance to finish the night and one that will remember from everyone, as confetti is fired into the crowd by the co2 cannons leaving the arena raining with colour, as the band applaud the Leeds faithful for such an incredible night.
A Day To Remember set themselves increasingly high standards live to meet at each show, but they seem to never fail to smash everyone’s expectations each time. Expect ADTR to come out on top this summer in the festival season when they return. They simply cannot be missed!
Photography – © Danny Peart Photography