Gig Review: New Found Glory @ Bristol O2 Academy / 5th October 2017
by Chris Thumwood
‘Twenty years of pop-punk’, the posters say, ‘twenty glorious years of New Found Glory’. I’m watching them with friends of eighteen years and I’ve been a fan or about sixteen of those - that’s a long time and a lot of numbers. To celebrate two decades they’re playing two albums through in their entirety every night of this tour, from a possible choice of six (Nothing Gold, Self titled, Sticks and Stones, Catalyst, Coming home and Not Without a Fight) Bristol has lucked out and we’re hearing Sticks and Stones and Catalyst: two of my personal favourites.
They are supported by Roam; a British pop-punk offering from Eastbourne who, with their two vocalists, are reminiscent of Set your Goals. They’ve got a hardcore group of their own fans up front and centre, but you can tell the majority of the crowd are waiting for the main event, though by the end of their set you can tell that their power chords and catchy hooks have won over some new converts.
A pint, a piss and fifteen minutes later - New found glory take to the stage. In place of an introduction, the opening riff of ‘Understatement’ cuts through the frantic cries of the crowd and every voice in the place joins lead singer Justin as he sings:
“I’m sick of smiling and so is my jaw...”, and the voices don’t let up: it seems that everyone about me knows the words to every single song they play that night.
Unsurprisingly after so many years on the road they have mastered the stage and every facet of performance. They’re funny when they talk about the tour or the albums, but keep it short and sweet. At the end of the day, though, it’s all about the music and they don’t disappoint. When they play, they more than match the energy of the audience. They tell us they aren’t playing the albums in chronological order just to keep us on our toes, but all the fan favourites come eventually: ‘Something I Call Personality’ ‘It’s Been a Summer’ ‘Head On Collision’ and ‘Sonny’ (which was played in tribute to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting) follow.
The two albums they are playing are almost a “greatest hits” list in themselves. They close the set with ‘The Story So Far’ and then we’re treated to the pantomime of an encore (there is always an encore) where they play ‘Ending in Tragedy’. Ending this with an improvised and spontaneous cover of ‘Eye of the Tiger’ which was incredible and not tragic in the least - then ‘Intro’ and finally and predictably ‘My friends Over You’, driving the audience to a final frenzy.
It had been over crowded, hot and sweaty. I had spent too much money on beer. My feet ached and my throat was hoarse.
I felt magnificent.