The bitter cold and hateful rain seemed to cause accidents and traffic galore on the M62 tonight, meaning that I missed the early starts of both Only Rivals and Candy Hearts. It’s incredibly annoying for a review but also on a personal level as I’ve been waiting to see Candy Hearts for a while; this tragedy will have to live with myself for a little while longer.
However, despite my tears that were hidden by the rain, rushing into the venue to be greeted by the start of State Champs set was a delight. It hit me that being at a pop punk show was probably the best way to overcome my sorrows, especially the greatest pop punk line up 2014 has had to offer.
Despite only having their debut ‘The Finer Things’ under their belt, State Champs have plenty of solid material for any length set they’re given. It’s a short one tonight, but like I said, quality over quantity. The band probably aren’t used to such a large stage, especially within the UK, but they seem to be at home in a natural habitat. There’s plenty here who unfortunately won’t have heard of the band before tonight, but they’re leaving with a new favourite for the ride home. (3.5/5)
The main support for the night comes in the form of 5 dudes known collectively as The Story So Far, and their position within the night’s proceedings is no surprise. A worthy support act and a growing power in their own right, The Story So Far could easily take up the mantle of fun, emotionally reachable pop punk if the current kings ever step down from their mantle. There’s not as much movement as you’d expect from the band but it’s all in the music, and that’s what gets the crowd rustling and circle pitting around the guy with the wet floor sign. The band are recording their third full length in January next year, so expect a headline tour within the first half of 2015. (3.5/5)
The kings are back and into a ‘Resurrection’ as their latest album title suggests. There’s barely any time to clap and cheer as the band utilise their 90 minute set going from hit to hit to another hit; a constant chain of pop punk bangers with sing alongs, clap alongs and all round ‘screw that girl’ vibes. New Found Glory will always be able to sell out venues of this size and as the crowd gets older the band will too, but they vow to carry on for another 30 years and it honestly wouldn’t be that surprising if they managed to. They’re the kings for a reason and provide not just an entertaining performance, but a reminder that pop punk is here to stay and if anything, is getting bigger each year (just look at that list of support acts once again if you don’t believe me). The kings are back and they’ve got plenty of friends as well. (4/5)
Words by Mikey Brown (@MikeyMiracle)