Neck Deep have had a busy year. Since announcing their third album, ‘The Peace and The Panic’, the Wrexham quintet have refused to stop. Performing at Slam Dunk festival, they soon flew off to America for a three month slog on Warped tour. Following that, they played acoustic sets across the States, only flying home from New York at the weekend.
It’s no surprise that frontman Ben Barlow started the set by telling the crowd that the band were “delirious”. Sharing the story of the terrible night’s sleep he had (waking up at 2am, then waking up again at 6am, making his brain “mushy”) he joked that he couldn’t wait to get back that night… For a huge seven hours at home. That’s the struggle of being in a band of this stature.
After 2015’s ‘Life’s Not Out To Get You’ launched the band into the mainstream, the world waited with bated breath to hear what they’d release next. Of course, as with any band who experience a level of success, they were instantly accused of selling out. Ben addressed this before they performed ‘In Bloom’, sharing that all they wanted from the album was “development”. He believes that the band succeeded, but time will tell. The album was only released on Friday, so currently the jury’s still out.
One thing’s for sure: Neck Deep have a dedicated fan base. At this set were fans who’d watched them perform at Warped tour, one clutching a setlist which had flown across the globe with her. Tears flowed when the band walked through the store, proving exactly how big of deal they are. It’s no shock that they’re currently gracing the covers of both Rock Sound and AltPress, with fans on both sides of the pond desperate to read all about the Welsh warriors.
Their songs sound wonderful when performed acoustically. Ben’s voice was struggling a little bit on ‘In Bloom’, but the crowd helped him out. Despite the fact that the track was released just a week ago, the majority of the crowd sang along to every word without hesitation. Neck Deep inspire that level of commitment.
Meanwhile, guitarist Sam Bowden was finally able to show off the extent of his musical prowess. I’ve never noticed how intricate his guitar lines were before, but when they’re center stage in a stripped back environment, he steals the spotlight in every song.
With someone requesting ‘All Hype, No Heart’, things nearly took a turn for the heavy. Ben grabbed his microphone and pretended to jump up into the song, looking utterly relaxed as he joked around. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that these guys are all in their mid-twenties. Not many musicians of their age could write an album like this, let alone headline a stage at Reading and Leeds festival.
Based off of the singles that have been released so far, it’s safe to say that ‘The Peace and The Panic’ is going to be Neck Deep’s most successful album. Now, if they can smash that festival set, it’ll be the cherry on the top of an unforgettable release week.
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