In 2018, there are not too many moments in pop-punk that carry as much weight as those seminal late 90’s / mid 00’s acts that helped shape the genre. But, as Neck Deep jumped out on stage for State Champs’s encore, it was a defining moment for this current era of pop-punk.
Now, it wasn’t just the surprise appearance from Neck Deep that made the show so special but it was everything that led up to that moment. From the hotly tipped Woes opening the show, Stand Atlantic on the day their debut album dropped and Seaway, who continue to go from strength to strength, the show was already billed as the hottest pop punk line-up of the year.
And, to cap it off State Champs came with the swagger of an arena band; the lights, pyrotechnics, anthems and style of a band at the very top of their game and crammed it all in the academy.
The goal was for State Champs to show off their latest album ‘Living Proof’ and did just that as they opened with a quick-fire back to back of ‘Criminal’ and ‘Frozen’. Despite the unparalleled vigour for the new tunes, it was quick to spot how much their sound has evolved in the latest album when the tracks were polarised by old favourites like ‘Hard to Please’ and ‘Remedy’.
Whether older or newer, whatever State Champs threw out the Manchester crowd matched the energy. “We have so many fucking songs to play for you tonight and we don’t wanna waste any time,” declared frontman Derek DiScanio before they tore through a mix of anthems including ‘Crystal Ball’, ‘Perfect Score’ and ‘Lightning’.
Showing off their versatility with a couple of slower, acoustic, numbers in ‘If I’m Lucky’ and the euphoric ‘Our Time To Go’, it showed that extra level of detail State Champs are taking in making their show a spectacle.
Huge pop numbers from the latest album, ‘Something About You’ and ‘Dead And Gone’ both shone as State Champs brought their set to a close before Neck Deep burst onto the scene with their tune ‘Where Do We Go When We Go’. Not wanting to be outshone, State Champs then returned and smashed out ‘Elevated’ and ‘Secrets’ to cap an encore that will be hard to beat.
The performance was a statement of the limitless potential of State Champs. The set was littered with huge anthems that sit in the pocket of soaring pop choruses and heartfelt punk sensibilities and each one pulled off with the confidence of a band ready command a much bigger stage. The new era of pop-punk is looking in good shape and is in great hands with State Champs leading the charge.
Words by Alexander Bradley.