Last Saturday and Sunday, New Found Glory brought back the feeling of being a teenager to 2 packed out houses at the legendary Stone Pony, in Asbury Park, to a crowd that has matured and grown up with them.
The band is currently on their 20th anniversary tour where they are performing six albums sporadically over 21 cities, playing 75 shows in less than two months. And even though they have announced specific albums for each dates, the band has written 75 unique set-list for each of the shows. Each set-list blends together the two albums being spotlight, as if they were a newer band who has not been around for 20 years now, and only has 2 albums to showcase. Although fans were hoping to hear the albums played front to back the general consensus was that it was special for the band to have written specific sets for each show, which made them special, and not something that was being forced by other bands who may be touring in honor of anniversary tours just to relive the glory days and make a quick buck.
New Found Glory has established what seems like a cult of fans who has chosen an alliance with the band over other pop punk acts from the same period of time they came from. While other bands like Green Day and Blink 182 continue to almost exclusively play larger stadium tours, with the occasional small club show, NFG, has chosen to remain a little more to what they are comfortable with, and that is being punks who play smaller clubs. Most of these shows on this tour sold out very fast, which lets on that they had the capabilities to play larger shows, but that is not what the band prides themselves on. They would rather play smaller venues that lose touch with their fans, which can easily happen when playing a larger theater.
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The band went on Saturday and Sunday at 9:30, immediately following the opening band, Trash Boat, which was never really listed large enough previous to the shows. Trash Boat, a British pop punk band which formed in 2014 in St. Albans, was more than eager to show show the American audience what they have been working on over the past couple years, and because this was their first US tour the band showed nothing but great admiration and respect to NFG for giving the band an opportunity to play in front of sold out crowds every night.
Saturday was a very special show for a lot of fans who grew up listening to NFG in NJ. Jordan Pundik, lead vocalist for NFG, is originally from Englewood, NJ, and stated that even though they were based out of Florida, it has always felt that the band was a NJ local act because they were always welcomed into the scene. The band chose NJ as their second home for that reason. Pundik, and guitarist, Chad Gilbert, expressed how NJ bands like Saves the Day, always supported them and showed them the ropes in NJ back in the day. So why was this a special show for longtime NJ fans? Well the band played their first album, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” in its entirety, songs which long time fans thought that they may never have a chance to hear in their lives again. Songs like “Hit or Miss,” “It Never Snows in Florida”, “The Blue Stare”, and “3rd and Long,” were the songs that first got the band any form of traction, and since then the album has become a statement and reflection on both NJ and Florida punk rock for that moment in time. The band also chose to play their biggest commercial album to date all the way through as well, “Sticks & Stones.” An album which helped spawn the name of several other mainstream pop punk bands today such as, The Story So Far and All Time Low. Some of the band’s biggest singles came from this album, and also the only specific album which the band toured for to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of several years back. “My Friends Over You,” “Understatement,” and “Head on Collision” will always be staple songs to the bands catalogue, and songs they will most likely play forever.
Sunday night’s set was equally as mixed when it comes to older material and material form mid way through the bands career. Playing all of their self titled album, and “Catalyst” the band got continued to play some more obscure songs from their past that the average fan would most likely not know. The self titled album was an anthem for fans back when it came out. It covered first loves, heartache, friendships, and every emotion that a high school habitually goes through. It was on this album that the band started to get more nation wide attraction, which definitely inspired them to rerecord the biggest track off of their first album, “Hit or Miss.” “Better Off Dead” and “Dressed to Kill” were very prominent singles which grew the band and got them to start airing their music videos on MTV and radio. “Catalyst” was a huge relate for the band, and at this point in the bands career they were already a household name amongst punks and mainstream music fans alike. “All Downhill Hill,” “Truth of My Youth,” “I Don’t Wanna Know,” “This Disaster,” and “Your Biggest Mistake” were just some of the highlights from this album ,and even though they are most likely played throughout other tours, fans still love singing along to melodic punk harmonies. The band did choose to play their newest single “Happy Being Miserable” from their upcoming release “Makes Me Sick,” near the middle of the set, which received great attention from fans, who may not have heard the track yet, meanwhile others were gladly singing along to the new track.
Overall the shows were nostalgic in all the right ways. The band has no signs of letting up, and for the most part have the classic lineup that they really broke out with, which is hard to say about a lot of bands who have been around for 20 years. One observation was that on Drummer , Cyrus Bolooki’s Bass Drum Head, it read 1997-Forever, and as long as the band stays true to themselves the fans will keep coming and supporting.