There was a time when “pop punk” meant guy-liner, angst, maybe a pair of bondage pants in your closet… England-natives in Neck Deep may not have been the first to this ‘nu-wave’ pop punk, but they’ve definitely helped curb the genre’s meaning and have effortlessly made a distinguishable nook to call their own. The sad, angst-filled tracks are still present, but now with an underlying message of positivity, of hope, pastels and…flowers? For anyone who has followed Neck Deep’s latest release, The Peace and The Panic which dropped last year, you may have caught their video for their hit single, “In Bloom” which features mostly a pastel pink, floral aesthetic. It may sound odd to any outsider, but believe us: it works.
How do we know it works? Because Neck Deep had very little troubles selling out their 2018 headlining The Peace and The Panic tour. Their second to last stop in San Francisco at the beautiful Regency Ballroom was no difference, the venue packed to its maximum capacity. The tour had support from an incredible line-up of fellow pop punk acts and indie artists, Gardenside, Speak Low If You Speak Love, Creeper and Seaway. Despite the show being one of the earlier ones (Gardenside had hit the stage before 7 pm!) the venue was already packed by the time Speak Low If You Speak Love wooed us with their softer tracks, including several from their recently released sophomore album, Nearsighted which released last month via Pure Noise Records. Their set prepped the evening with a calm but positive vibe, hardly preparing the girls who stood front-and-center against the barricade for what was about to come.
With any tour coming to an end, it’s not uncommon to see tour pranks being held. We’ve been lucky enough to catch some great ones, including a band coming out and playing a full on game of beer pong while their friends continued to perform. Tonight’s “pranks” were a little less disruptive, though when fellow UK act Creeper took the stage in sunglasses and floral tourist shirts… we had to do a double take to ensure we hadn’t misread the line-up. “Creepway” as they called themselves, having dressed up as their new friends in Seaway put on an incredible show. Their harder, edgier punk was everything you would expect from some of the bands Creeper is most often compared to (Alkaline Trio, My Chemical Romance). Through the band’s carefree humor and unique sound, even those unfamiliar with the act were drawn in by their energetic performance. Each member never appeared to remain stationary, completely indulged in their set which included “Hiding with Boys,” and “Suzanne” off their 2017 release, Eternity, in Your Arms.
“You’re here for the party, so let’s have fucking fun tonight!” Seaway screams as they take the stage…you guessed it, dressed in all black complete with pale-white make-up and black lipstick. Trust us, it was as hilarious to witness as it sounds. The band worked through their catalogue of tracks, including from their third album, Vacation which was released just a few months back also via Pure Noise Records. The band did a remarkable job keeping the energy high, continuing to taunt the crowd – “Are you ready for Neck FUCKING Deep?” – they’d ask, before encouraging the packed venue to continue with their lively circle-pits, crowd surfing and all out having a good time.
When the lights dimmed for the last time, there was no mistaking that fans were ready for the stars of the evening. Neck Deep took the stage in front of a beautiful backdrop mimicking the artwork for their The Peace and The Panic album. They launched immediately into “Happy Judgement Day” from the album and fans responded in the best way possible, screaming, moshing and crowd surfing as close as they could get to lead singer, Ben Barlow for a high-five. The night is everything you’d expect from a punk show – high-energy, hard hitting riffs, and Barlow’s unique vocals echoing through the venue’s walls. The band performed tracks from their earlier albums, following “Judgement Day” with their sophomore album, Life’s Not Out To Get You tracks, “Lime St.” and “Gold Steps.”
The only lapse (if you can even call it that) in the evening is when the band slowed things down, taking a moment to get intimate before introducing their latest hits.
“The next song we wanted to write because when we travel and see all these beautiful places and beautiful people…it helped us. It made us better people. We wanted to pass that along. So this next one is the most meaningful song we’ve ever written. It would mean a lot if you went home and told everyone about this moment, right here, right now. Let’s make it the most special.”
They immediately kick into “In Bloom,” which featured their friends from the tour’s line-up in Speak Low, Creeper and Seaway. After performing the song together, Barlow laughs and tells the audience he and the guys in Neck Deep were fully prepared for stink bombs and toilet paper…but the intimate moment was well-received and welcomed. “That was nice…sweet,” he noted about sharing the stage with them.
The show was absolutely stunning. From the band’s positive message, their relentless energy and the lighting of the show, they received the highest possible marks if there was a rating scale of concerts. Neck Deep made sure to take every opportunity to show their gratitude for their fans, speaking on how the fans are the reason they are where they are today. He admits that being on the stage is about helping others, and it is obvious through their music and through their dedicated fan base that Neck Deep is wildly successful in their mission to make a positive impact.
After playing hit singles from The Peace and The Panic back to back, “Parachute” and “In Bloom,” the band switched gears and treated fans with an acoustic performance of “December” and “Wish You Were Here.” “We’re actually in a Ball room…so this next song makes sense,” Barlow prefaces as “December” features the lyrics ‘I hope you get your ball room floor, your perfect house with rose red doors.’ The band played an impressive seventeen track set list and still left fans begging for more. Even after their encore, which included “Can’t Kick Up the Roots” and “Where Do We Go When We Go,” fans were not ready to leave nor say goodbye – but all good things must come to an end. And Neck Deep surpassed any fans expectations for a punk rock show, leaving them eager to catch Neck Deep as soon as they can – which may not be as quickly as some may hope. After wrapping up their US tour, the band will be embarking to Japan, Philippines, Australia, Germany, Brazil and more on their world-wide tour.
Check out our photos from the evening as well as the set list and info on their world-wide stops below!