Neck Deep are one of the most successful upcoming British pop-punk bands of the moment. Since forming in 2012, when Ben Barlow (vocalist) met former lead guitarist Lloyd Roberts, the band have continued to make waves. Hailing from Wrexham, North Wales, the line-up is completed with guitarist Matt West, bassist Fil Thorpe-Evans and drummer, Dani Washington, along with Sam Bowden replacing Lloyd Roberts on lead guitar. Having been touring worldwide, the band have recently returned to the UK to complete this last leg.
Neck Deep kicked off their set on a stage that was littered with a strange mix of inflatable whales and bananas. Amongst all this comic book strangeness they began the night with ‘Citizens of Earth’ from their latest album. Following this came ‘Losing Teeth’, ‘Gold Steps’ and ‘Crushing Grief (No Remedy)’. It was a clever mix of songs from old albums and their newest, ‘Life’s Not Out To Get You‘, which was inevitably going to please all. Between songs, Barlow and Thorpe-Evans predominantly did the talking. A couple of times Barlow mentioned the importance of the city to the band – how they first played the highly acclaimed small music venue, The Joiners, for one of their earliest shows, and seeing the progress that they’ve made to headlining their own show at the Guildhall. A nice touch, to make the crowd feel even more special after Creepers’ performance (which was specifically altered for the Southampton show).
The Guildhall has, in the past, not had the best reputation regarding its sound and acoustics, but that wasn’t an issue. This time the acoustics were good, clear and VERY loud. With the no crowdsurfing signs at either side of the stage ignored, ‘Kali Ma’ and ‘Lime St.’ from Life’s Not Out To Get You got the place back up and kicking off in true pop-punk style. They ended the set with a selection of older songs, finishing off with their well-known ‘Part of Me’ – for this, Hannah, female keyboard player for Creeper, joined for the female part. A great end to the initial set.
Before leaving the stage, Barlow mentioned as everyone already knows, there will be an encore. His humour and honesty went down well with the crowd and he received a wave of cheers. Barlow returned to the stage with an acoustic guitar for the first of three remaining songs. His solo performance of ‘Head to the Ground’ was a great choice to start with. A real crowd pleaser the audience duly sang along the whole way through, holding their phones up producing an array of lights. Following this was a full band version of the normally acoustic, ‘December’. The explanation for this choice was so as not to dampen the mood, and rightly so. The crowd were too energised and upbeat for the sounds of a mellow acoustic song. The night was perfectly finished with ‘Can’t Kick Up The Roots’, another uplifting dose of pop-punk to end the night, along with a large number of inflatable beach balls thrown into the crowd just to mix things up a bit. As the band were about to leave the stage, the well known dance anthem, ‘Sandstorm’ by Darude came on, and everybody including the band were dancing frantically. The light show turned the place into a what felt like a rave. An interesting end to a set, but a clever one.
Neck Deep continue to impress and surprise.
This Neck Deep article was written by Alia Thomas, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson. Images by aliathomasphoto.