With the massive fuss of the ‘Pop Punk’s Not Dead’ tour kicking off in America, featuring The Wonder Years, Man Overboard and Set Your Goals, the UK pleaded for an equivalent. In fact we got more than we bargained for, with history’s finest New Found Glory managing to drag along The Story So Far, State Champs and Candy Hearts to celebrate a solid lineup of bands once more.
With the first support act Only Rivals being locals to the tour, the quartet from Dublin differed from the pop punk theme and showed off their rocky talent, mixing up the sounds echoed in the room. This same energy was then conserved within Candy Hearts who followed up, altering the tone slightly to an old poppy punk route.
A band who you might recognise on the soundtrack of one of them cheesy teenage chick flicks while the credits roll, Candy Hearts, gave their input to the crowd with a female-fronted voice. With the thousands of faces staring at the band, the nerves got the better of them as they appeared shy and forced in conversation, which is no surprise to such a daunting sold-out show. Despite this, bassist John Clifford took on the role to control the energy and movement on stage, giving off a lively, upbeat performance for the whole band.
Gathering more attention from the crowd, State Champs urgently took to the stage, where they were greeted almost immediately by floods of cheers. Already well established, the Albany quintet dived face first into their set, exploding their post punk sound to the crowd who reacted with great communication. Blowing up from the scene, State Champs gathered a group of the crowd who were dedicated in getting involved and finger pointing to each beat as vocalist Derek pointed right back at them.
Growing towards the latter part of the night, it was time for the main support band The Story So Far to warm up the crowd for NFG. Appearing on stage earlier than expected, the band wasted no time in introducing themselves, as ‘Empty Spaces’ blasted out of the speakers and reflected within the crowds sudden movement. A mammoth setist of a whole eleven songs were played, but the set started off tediously and the large stage seemed empty. Boarding on to the second track, Parker shook off all weight and started to move about a bit, whereas the band looked a bit bored.
They clearly seemed to be a lacking in communication with the audience, as they just played a song after another, taking short gaps in between. Nothing really happened within their set but the odd crowd surfer and swamp of hands pointing towards the stage.
Sound wise, TSSF are built for smaller, cramped shows, and when playing in a 2,100 cap venue, it was no surprise that their sound was a little too overexposed. Despite this, the band still gave it their all. They were clearly tired from tour (which showed in their performance), but sound-wise they were still strong as ever, highlighting the doors for New Found Glory.
The cheers and shrieks from the audience soon told us that the glorified headliners were soon approaching. Thrashing their way into ‘Understatement’, the band bounced across the lit up stage which was forever changing in colour. From playing show after show, the quartet made no sign of this as their energy levels were high, dancing from every second, start to finish the band made their grand entrance.
New Found Glory made sure that everyone was having a good time, with the occasional chat with the audience which only ever consisted of cheers and odd shouts, the band certainly kept all entertained, with their flamboyant presence and funny humour. Evenly balancing their set with some new tracks in celebration of Resurrection but mainly layered with the good ol’ bangers, everyone was happy.
The Forum was a perfect venue for these pop punkers as the stage seemed much smaller to them, as they dominated every section for all to be seen. With an even larger setlist of twenty-two songs in nearly two hours, the band had to play ‘Kiss Me’ at some point, where everyone came together in harmony.
With what seemed like their last song, ‘My Friend’s Over You’, none other than Hayley Williams appeared for a few minutes on stage, prancing around like the mad little rocker she is, before jumping onto Chad’s shoulders causing more adrenaline rushes. Thinking it was about to end, the band came back on stage to play not one but four more encore songs for all the hardcore lovers who didn’t want the night to end.
Ending on an all-time high, ‘All Downhill From Here’ got everyone in their last moshing moods, flying around the floor in a full punk circle pit before the lights flashed out and the stage was left bare.