Article and Photography by Larry Young
The Welsh band Neck Deep is a very busy band. They just spent the summer with the 2017 Van’s Warped Tour and they are back on the road supporting their latest album ‘The Peace and Panic’, which is quite the hit moving steadily moving up the charts. The Peace and Panic USA Tour came to the greatness of The Bomb Factory on Monday night.
The sea of cellphones in the crowd was uncountable, seriously, they is not any time to count them all! Neck Deep surprised the crowd by playing What Did You Expect?’ They also snuck in some acoustic songs such as Head to the Ground and Wish You Were Here which was a nice break in between the craziness of their set.
Front man Ben Barlow sings earnestly about old girlfriends, stifling small-town angst, lost loved ones and the way of world, in a heavily mannered, nasal way that’s so Americanized he seems unsure which accent to use when he speaks between songs. When they aren’t doing power slides down the stage ramps during Gold Steps, guitarists Matt West and Sam Bowden perform whirlwind spins on the spot that must have taken as much practice in front of the mirror as their churning power chords and needling lead lines. Drummer Dani Washington works his kit with the racing rhythmic thwack of a boxer hammering a speedball during the galloping Motion Sickness.
Neck Deep’s music is very derivative, however it’s abundantly clear – as hundreds of bodies pitch and roll together in a moshing sea of abandon down the front – that this band really does matter an awful to the audience. It’s not hard to appreciate why. Neck Deep are both enmeshed dudes who totally get their pain – case in point being their biggest hit, acoustic power ballad A Part of Me – and allow for simple catharsis and escapism on songs like the bouncing Can’t Kick Up the Roots. Where Do We Go When We Go sends crowd surfing bodies practically raining over the crash barriers into the arms of security staff at the end.
The audience was on the younger side, I would guess the average age somewhere around 15-17 years of age. I encountered quite a few parents that were taking their son’s or daughters to their first concert, even on a school night. To a person each parent said that Neck Deep was the band that their children wanted to see for their first concert!
This is second time that I’ve had the opportunity to cover Neck Deep, my first time was this summer at the Van’s Warped Tour and then on Monday night. I really like this band. They put on a tight clean set, the audience was with the band every step of the way. Great show!
Creeper is also on the The Peace and Panic USA Tour bill. I was not familiar with Creeper before Monday nights and after doing a bit of research I was quite intrigued by them. After seeing them at The Bomb Factory on Monday, they justified my need to add Creeper songs to my personal music set list. I found myself bopping my head in the photo pit and I like that kind of distraction. The crowd was fired up and going absolutely nuts for the opening act to this tour. I wasn’t expecting that kind of reaction for a band that is fairly new who are also from the UK. Creeper ended their set with their most popular song Misery and at the very end of their set a single crowd surfer met eyes with the lead vocalist Will Gould and they sang those last lyrics together, it was a very cool moment.