The UK leg of the Pop Punk’s Not Dead Tour kicked off at Birmingham’s Institute for a nearly sold out show. The tour, which was headlined and organized by pop punk giants New Found Glory, is a continuation of the band’s 2011 American tour aiming to bring together up and coming pop punk bands. New Found Glory picked a fantastic lineup to bring with them to the UK.
The first band of the night was Dublin-based Only Rivals [6/10]. Their musical style was the least traditionally “pop punk” of the bands to play, leaning more towards distorted guitars. Though their set suffered a bit from a poor sound mix, the band made up for it with good live energy.
Up next were Candy Hearts [8/10]. For their first ever show in the UK, Candy Hearts played a really dynamic set. Front-woman Mariel Loveland had outstanding stage presence and interacted well with the audience. Despite being new to the UK, there were a few people who knew their music well enough to sing along.
The show really picked up when State Champs [9/10] came on stage. A mosh pit opened up immediately and many people sang along to their songs. As it has been a year since State Champs released their debut album The Finer Things, they played the final track off the album ‘Easy Enough’. Unfortunately, the band ran out of time to play any songs off their recently released acoustic EP (The Acoustic Things).
The next band, The Story So Far [8/10], have been rapidly gaining popularity in the pop punk scene over the past few years. Having seen them before, I already had high expectations, but they exceeded even those. Front-man Parker Cannon was in prime form and the crowd clearly enjoyed their set. Though it was slightly disappointing that The Story So Far did not play any new songs, they still played a good mix of songs from both of their full-length albums.
Finally it was New Found Glory’s [8/10] turn to play. The band went from song to song with little break. With such a massive back-catalog to choose from, the band struck a good mix of old and new songs. They played several songs off their new album Resurrection, which was released last month and the audience reacted very well to them, already singing along. One of the highlights of the evening was when New Found Glory played ‘The Story So Far,’ having just seen the band who took their name from the song play on the same stage. After closing with the massive hit ‘My Friends Over You,’ they came back on stage for a four-song encore.
Overall, it was a great night. New Found Glory said that they would be back in the new year to specifically to support the new album (Resurrection), which should give UK fans something to look forward to.