Welsh pop punk band Neck Deep brought the The Peace and The Panic Tour to Louisville, KY recently, performing to a pack house of diehard fans.
Opening the show this evening was Australian pop punk band Stand Atlantic. The band got the crowd warmed up with their fun and energetic rock. Singer Bonnie Fraser told the crowd that they were from Australia and that’s why they have funny accents, which got a laugh. Towards the end of the set Fraser asked the crowd if they were ready for Neck Deep, to which the crowd roared with applause. She then said that the band was going to play a new song, asking the audience to play along and pretend like they knew it! As they finished their last song, she told everyone to come and say hi to them at the merch table.
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Next up was British pop punk band WSTR who put on a high-energy set from start to finish. Singer Sammy Clifford started things off by telling the audience how happy the band was to be there and how this tour was their first time ever in the US. A few songs into the set, Clifford ditched the mic stand and roamed freely around the stage, often standing right at the edge to sing directly to the crowd. Leading the crowd in sing-alongs and having them wave their hands in the air, they got the crowd engaged in the songs, which created a fun atmosphere in the venue. Thanking the crowd for making their first tour in the US special, they dedicated their song “Eastbound and Down” to a guy in the front row singing every word to every song. Clifford said that the band had traveled so far and that the fan had no idea what that meant to the band. Ending their set with “Lonely Smiles”, they told the crowd to come say hey to them later at the merch table.
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Next up was Australian punk band Trophy Eyes. Singer John Floreani started out by telling the crowd thank you for coming out that evening and caring about a little band like Trophy Eyes. A few songs into the set, Floreani told the crowd to move around a little, asking them how much they paid to be there this evening? He said to not worry about what the person next to them might think and to just move around and dance and have fun! A couple of songs later he told the crowd that they still seemed a little asleep and that he was going to show them how to wake up-“when I say HEY, you say HEY, “when I say hey, you say HEY”, which seemed to do the trick! They got the crowd moving for the rest of their set, with Floreani asking how many people had seen them before and thanking them for their continued support of the band. He told the audience that the band had recently released a new album and that they should head to the merch table and pick it up.
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As the lights dimmed, indicating that Neck Deep was about to come out, the crowd cheered with anticipation. As the band came out, the venue erupted in applause. The band started things off with “Motion Sickness”. Singer Ben Barlow thanked the crowd for coming out and mentioned that this was Neck Deep’s first headlining show in Louisville and that they were glad to be here. A few songs into the set, Barlow asked if anyone in the crowd was a fan of Indiana Jones, launching into “Kali Ma”. Barlow is an energetic frontman, making use of the entire stage, as well as raised platforms at the front of the stage. He often stood and knelt at the front of the stage throughout the set so he could sing directly to the crowd. A few songs into the set, Barlow mentioned that before the tour, the band had asked their fans to help choose the set list, with a large amount of requests being for the older songs. He then asked who had been a fan since the beginning, dedicating the next couple of songs to them. About halfway through the set there was a brief disruption due to some reported violence in the pit, with the band temporarily stopping the show to see what was going on and address the issue. He told the crowd not to go starting a fight at a Neck Deep show and that there is never room for violence in the pit, that if you can’t handle the pit in a respectful manner then to get out. He shouted a big F**k you to whomever had tried to start a fight. Once security had resolved the situation, the show resumed. Barlow told the audience that the beauty of a Neck Deep show is that the songs can go from heavy to soft, telling the story of a girl cheating on him a while back before Christmas and how he just walked around for hours and ended up writing the next song, “December”. A bit later in the set, Barlow told the crowd that it was time to take off their dancing shoes and put on their sobbing hoodie. He said the next song was a sad one, written about the spirit of death before his dad died. He said that he used music as a way to help himself and wanted to think it had helped some of his fans too. He went on to say that what the song means to him doesn’t matter, that as long as it means something to the fans that’s all that matters. The band then performed “Candour”, followed by “19 Seventy Sumthin”, a song that celebrated his dad’s life and the heartwarming story of how his parents married within weeks of dating and were married up until his dad died. The band ended their set with “In Bloom”, leaving the stage briefly before coming back out for a two song encore, asking the crowd if they could squeeze out their last little bit of energy. Starting the encore with “Roots”, they ended their set on an energetic note with “Where Do We Go”. Barlow sang most of the song at the edge of the stage, giving the steady stream of crowd surfers hand shakes and high fives. For the last bit of the song, he stood at the barricade, bent over into the crowd, allowing the fans to finish singing the song with him. It was a fun way to end the evening, with Barlow saying “we do this for you and because of you and we will be back”. I have no doubt that the fans will be counting the days until that happens!