I have to say, there are very few things I enjoy more than classic pop punk concerts, so last night was a real treat.
Punk band from Florida, Northbound, played us into the venue, as guys and gals in various arrays of black jeans, plaid shirts and band tees shuffled excitedly onto the floor. I’d never heard of Northbound before but I am now fully converted. With songs reminiscent of current bands like Citizen and Knee Deep, these guys might not have had many fans in the crowd but they definitely grabbed the attention of anyone not busy at the bar. Their lead singer looks refreshingly unlike your typical lanky front man, which gave the set an overall more authentic vibe.
This was the second time I’ve seen Brighton’s pop punk royalty As It Is supporting at the O2, and both times it has been clear that the crowd were as big a fan of them as the main band. Mosh pits during every song, the whole audience singing along to every word and kick jumps higher than you’ve ever seen (lead singer Patty Walters has more energy than a child jacked up on fizzy drinks). Performing songs from both their albums, As It Is had the longest set of any support band I’ve ever seen, and they’ve improved their live act by miles since I saw them in the same venue a year ago. Their new material is better too, with harder melodies and punchier guitar riffs. I’m making sure I know the words for next time.
lead singer Patty Walters has more energy than a child jacked up on fizzy drinks
Luckily we still had buckets of energy reserved for when State Champs launched into their set with opener ‘Losing Myself’ from their latest album Around the World and Back, released in 2015. Derek DiScanio’s voice is really very impressive with that growly edge perfect for taking their sound from pop to punk. The band raced through songs from their 2013 album, The Finer Things, and their latest release, each one with maximum energy and skill. The band were impressively tight throughout whilst maintaining a convincing sense of freedom on stage. There was no doubt about both band and audience having a good time.
Half way through they broke their set down with DiScanio performing two acoustic songs, Stick Around (the first song he ever wrote) and ‘If I’m Lucky’, accompanied by Tyler Szalkowski on guitar. I’ve seen State Champs play acoustically before and though it is an enjoyable experience, I definitely prefer their plugged in set. Highlights for me were ‘All or Nothing’, ‘Secrets’ and ‘All You Are Is History’, all from their most recent album – clearly this band are all about progressing and improving.
State Champs closed their set with hit single ‘Elevated’, from their first album. A perfect choice to close a positive, high energy night, which in fact finished surprisingly early; there was plenty of time to go out and enjoy the rest of your Friday Night, although I’d happily have stayed for another five songs.