Neck Deep at Avondale House (09/01/2014)

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On the second date of their UK tour Neck Deep – accompanied by ROAM, This Wild Life, Hot Damn and Midday Committee – slew Avondale House with an impressive flex of their pop punk muscles. The 5 piece from Wrexham are playing several venues in the UK before moving onto a tour of the United States in 2 weeks time. I caught up with the drummer from Neck Deep, Dani Washington and lead singer from support band ROAM, Alex Costello before the gig to ask a few questions about the tour.

You guys played Leicester last night, your first tour date. Based on that, what are your expectations for the rest of the tour?

Dani: Well I didn’t expect that many people to come down because it was our first headline in the UK… so, just to see that amount of people come down purely for us was just ridiculous, so I think the rest of the tour’s going to be amazing.

Wishful Thinking was streamed a couple of days ago, what have the reactions been like to that?

Dani: Really good! Because the record’s a little bit tamer than the first two EPs we weren’t sure how well it was going to go down, but everyone seems to understand that we’ve matured and grown up… we’re not angsty teenagers any more. The response was really good and we’re really happy with it.

That more mature sound has definitely come through, was that your intention?

Dani: It wasn’t really an intention it just kind of happened. If you’re writing music then eventually you’re going to get better at it as you get older, so it was just a natural progression.

I also managed to chat to Alex:

You guys seem to have had a lot of big, rapid success in the last year or so, are you setting your sights on the future or are you trying to do well in the present?

Alex: Yeah we’ve got a lot of stuff hopefully planned for this year. It’s kind of overwhelming, what we’ve got out of the last year has been pretty amazing.

Are there any bands that have influenced your music?

Alex: There are a lot bands that have influenced us, like some crazy ones. Such Gold, The Story So Far, even Neck Deep inspire us. Just loads of little things… to mix into it to give it more than just chords and stuff to make it more unique.

UnknownFirst on stage were Midday Committee. Vocalist Rich Sanders slammed it so hard he snapped his G string on the first song, but he played it off like a true professional and freestyled the next track before accepting his guitar back to finish the set. They were followed by Welsh lads Hot Damn, who stepped things up a notch; they threw some seriously bouncy tracks into the mix as well as throwing themselves around the stage, making for an entertaining second set. This Wild Life came on next to be met by a sudden rush of fans – Avondale house suddenly seemed a lot smaller with all the bodies on the floor. Bringing chilled vibes, Kevin (vocals) and Anthony (guitar) encouraged the first (but certainly not last) major crowd sing-along of the night when they played their popular cover of Bring Me The Horizon’s ‘Sleepwalking‘.  Kevin and Anthony gave a humble and evocative performance, providing a pause for thought in the thrashing pop punk storm.

ROAM, the main support, came storming on stage to a packed venue. Showing off masses of energy, vocalist Alex Costello threw down some serious shapes which encouraged the crowd to do the same. ‘Head Rush‘ and ‘Nothing In Return‘ were definitely the crowd pumping tracks; fans at the centre front had a sing-along to these, joining Alex on the mic which, for the rest of the evening, gave its users considerable hassle. Despite the tech issues, ROAM gave a blazing welcome to the headline act.

Neck Deep came on and launched into their set with ‘Kick It‘, a fan favourite. The crowd obliged with a thrashing pit and plenty of movement spurred on by Ben Barlow’s solid vocals. About half way through the microphone started playing up again, which unfortunately marred the performance somewhat. Many fans didn’t seem to notice though, the crowd maintained enthusiasm and provided their own vocals. Three quarters of the way through the set the band brought out another favourite, ‘A Part Of Me‘, and the crowd had a memorable sit-down sing-along before hurtling into the final few songs, the microphone now up and running.

Although technical issues did fragment the night, the guys involved adapted to deliver an excellent performance. The dedication of the fans was incredible, truly something that was a pleasure to see.

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MA English student at the University of Southampton and alternative music correspondent for The Edge.

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