Review: State Champs at The 1865, Southampton

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As part of their first headline UK tour, US pop-punk band State Champs, who hail from Albany, NY, played at Southampton’s The 1865 last Saturday. After touring with 5 Seconds Of Summer in the US over the past few months, the band and their supports honoured the over 750-capacity venue with a night of sweaty pop-punk anthems, a whole lot of crowd surfing and an all-around night to remember.

Support came in the form of blooming pop-punk bands ROAM and Knuckle Puck, who have both released EPs and albums already this year respectively. ROAM were first to take to the stage in a whirl of high energy, opening with their single ‘Warning Sign’, released late last year, exciting the already teeming venue into an uncontainable frenzy (much to the annoyance of the venue’s security team).

Chicago five-piece Knuckle Puck were next, opening with ‘Disdain’, the first song from their album Copacetic, which was released in July. In true pop-punk style the crowd chanted the gang vocals with them; it became hard to tell who the crowd wanted to see more as Knuckle Puck churned out songs from across their discography, including the head-banger ‘Gold Rush’ from their split EP with Neck Deep in 2014.

The atmosphere across all three bands’ performances wasn’t perturbed by the sound limit on this small local venue, as the predominantly teenage fan-base made enough noise to make up for anything the stereos lacked. The anticipation for the headline act didn’t fade, with the crowd even hyped up enough to sing along to Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’ – not exactly synonymous in style with the acts on stage.

State Champs’ entrance on stage resulted in an eruption that lasted across their 11-song set. The dedication from fans was evident as the crowd sang along to the opener ‘All You Are Is History’, a song recently released on YouTube from the band’s upcoming album Around The World And Back. Hits ‘Remedy’ and ‘Nothing’s Wrong’ from the bands’ album The Finer Things also featured on the setlist, and while minor disagreements occurred between the crowd and security staff (with lead vocalist Derek Discanio apologising on the slightly tighter rules regarding crowd surfing), the mood throughout the night was light-hearted and fun as strangers supported each other and sang together in the thronging crowd.

After finishing the show with ‘Hard To Please’, an inevitable encore heard another new State Champs’ track ‘Losing Myself’, finished off by their hit ‘Elevated’, an upbeat tune that left no one in the crowd standing still. Discanio kept to his word of meeting fans outside after the show, where he and drummer Evan Ambrosio signed merchandise and took photos with the gaggle of fans that waited outside the venue.

Overall, the anticipation of some of pop-punk’s best bands under one roof was matched by the intensely sweaty and captivating performances of each group. Leaving everyone at the sold out show with the sense that the scene is only going from strength to strength in 2015, State Champs rightly showed why they deserved a UK headline tour and how they are better than ever after their first five years as a band.

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Psychology student with a love of skiing, pop-punk, and music in general - find me at a gig, or in bed recovering from one!

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