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Review of Neck Deep at Royal Oak Music Theatre – 9.28.18

Neck Deep

by Becka Helhowski

Two years after releasing their third studio album, The Peace and the Panic, Welsh pop-punk band Neck Deep has departed on the second leg of their album-titled tour. They visited Royal Oak Music Theatre with openers WSTR, Stand Atlantic, and Trophy Eyes.

WSTR (pronounced “Waster”) were up first and they had a limitless amount of energy. They worked the stage like seasoned performers, despite this being their first time playing in Michigan. WSTR released their sophomore album Identity Crisis less than a month before this tour began. It has a very fun sound that you want to jump around with a sound that reminds me of New Found Glory.

Australian band Stand Atlantic are what would be born if “Misery Business”-era Paramore and Tonight Alive had a baby. Bonnie Fraser’s singing carries so strongly that it induces chills. I have a ton of respect for women in the pop-punk scene. Even though there’s a reputation for feminism and equality, the genre is almost all men. It’s rare to see a band fronted by a woman to hit the mainstream.

Trophy Eyes, also from Australia, are, and will always be, one of my favorite bands to see live. This was my third time seeing them and they never disappoint. Lead vocalist John Floreani regularly engages with the crowd, whether it be singing directly to the people in the front row, or stage diving and being carried all the way to the back. You can tell he wants everyone to let loose and have fun. I highly recommend listening to them or, even better, seeing them live.

Neck Deep took the stage last and, woo boy. I, as self-proclaimed emo/pop-punk trash, love this band. I first got into them during my three-year stretch working at Hot Topic (please don’t roast me) where I would play the albums Wishful Thinking and Life’s Not Out To Get You so much my coworkers were ready to kill me. When the lights went out before Neck Deep came out, a PSA-type announcement blared out updates of a nuclear fallout describing the destruction of the planet in result of an atomic world war. Suddenly, all members were on stage jumping to “Motion Sickness” under orange lights and framed by columns of smoke.

Neck Deep

The Peace and the Panic veers from traditional Neck Deep albums focusing mainly on themes like America and the U.K.’s political standings. The album art and tours stage set features cartoon work inspired from 1960’s television variety shows with a nuclear doomsday twist, carrying a big “everything is up in flames but smile for the camera” vibe. The song “Don’t Wait” (which I almost dropped my camera from jumping along to), is a great representation of the message the whole album is trying to convey.

That’s the best thing about pop-punk shows, despite mosh pits and a ton of people invading each other’s personal space, the crowd instantly becomes a huge family. Especially being in the second wave of pop-punk where the fanbase ranges from preteens, to 40-year-olds, these shows are basically just family reunions where everyone is singing karaoke at the same time and pushing each other a lot. Honestly, if you weren’t moving, you shouldn’t have been there.

Motion Sickness
Gold Steps
Crushing Grief
Smooth Seas
Judgement Day
Kali Ma
6 Months
What Did You Expect?
Citizens of Earth
Don’t Wait
19 Seventy Sumthin’
In Bloom
Where Do We Go When We Go?

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