Live review: Neck Deep at O2 Academy Bristol – 25/02/22

After however many times rescheduling their gigs, Welsh Pop-Punk band Neck Deep finally made it to Bristol to play an awesome show for the last night of their tour. To say these guys pulled out all the stops would be an understatement.

For this show, there was three support acts, certainly the most I’ve ever seen for any show. This meant a super early start, with the first band coming on at 6:30.

Up first was Happydaze, a reasonably newly formed band, who were playing their first ever shows in front of a live crowd on this tour. What a start these guys have had, and although the venue was only about half full while they played, I’m sure they’ve gone away with some new fans.

Second on was Higher Power, who again brought everything for this last show. If you somehow haven’t yet heard of these boys or listened to their music, what are you doing? As well as making amazing tracks and playing like masters, they are also just a super happy, funny bunch of friends who clearly get on well together. Nothing better in a band.

And finally for the support bands was Wargasm. After finally seeing them play at Download last year, I’ve fallen in love with everything about them. From their raw energy and musical lust, to their simple not caring what others think of them attitude, seeing them live is just another level of awesome. Like everyone else so far tonight, they fully brought it out onto the stage for their show.

And then it was onto the main act of the night. Now most bands who play at The O2 Academy Bristol, neigh most bands who play anywhere, only generally have themselves, their instruments, and maybe a little bit of stage decoration up there. Neck Deep brought a whole living room, complete with TV, sofa, bookshelves and wall decoration. They certainly are making it a tour to remember.

Right from the off, Ben was using every last reserve of energy, and the crowd kept that up too. Two-stepping all over the stage, dancing and jumping around like there was no tomorrow, he was a man possessed. As soon as the first song started, the pits opened up, and by the end of the third song there was even a couple of crowd surfers. As a photographer, it was a workout trying to get some good photos of the band!

In terms of setlist, it was pretty standard of what you’d expect, a bit of the old, and a bit of the new, and then some of everything else in between. I was surprised to see She’s A God and A Part Of Me on the list for the night, two songs they are known for not playing live often. But this was a special show and that means special songs. The acoustic guitar even came out for A Part Of Me, with a lovely moment of crowd harmonies during the duo sung section at the end of the song. Although the moment was slightly ruined for us personally as some coked-up idiots tried to start a fight with us, everyone else at the venue was surely having the best time.

Throughout the rest of the night we were treated to even more wonderful moments, including Milkie (from Wargasm) coming on to help sing one song, and the guys from Higher Power making a couple of appearances of stage. It really did bring back the feel of how the band used to be, making music in their living room, having friends come and go, playing shows with everyone and just having a good time.

Really, this whole tour was about just having a good time, and that’s certainly what this last show was about.

Of course the night had to end with In Bloom, and although Ben’s voice was starting to sound a little battered, the singing from the audience made up for it, with a few final mosh pits, crowd surfers and even some people up on shoulders.

There’s so much more I could mention about this night, from the T-shirt cannons, to Ben’s stage banter, to Matt’s insane spinning while playing. It was such an amazing show with so much energy and excitement on stage and in the crowd, and I cannot thank the band and crew enough for what a good night it was.

As well as the guys on stage and the crew, a massive thank you has to be said, as always, to the venue staff and security for making it such a good night, and to everyone else involved.

Words and photos by Ted Stargatt for TrueStyleMusic

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