I did begin to sit down and write a review of the Kerrang! Tour from a week or so ago. Every band that night was spectacular in one way or another – While She Sleeps are new, brash and have a confidence well beyond their field of experience; letlive. released my favourite album of last year, performed a Black Flag cover I didn’t hate (I have a serious issue with people doing Black Flag covers, it’s like trying to rewrite The Lord’s Prayer or something) and are one of the most exciting bands I’ve seen live in a long, long time; The Blackout had us in the palm of their hand once again and strutted through a great set, making the venue explode with the squeals of teenage girls and the shouts of boys who are no longer ashamed to like them. And then there were New Found Glory.
This is where I got stuck. I just can’t review a New Found Glory show. It feels far too obvious to me. It begins to get way too personal. So I decided I couldn’t review them and scrapped what I’d written previously. However, I will tell you why you should go see New Found Glory before you die. It just might be a bit more unconventional than I had planned.
The main reason that I can’t review an NFG show is because I can’t help but break into the personal anecdote. I have seen New Found Glory every year of my life since I was 13 except in 2005. From 2004 onwards, I have missed one tour, but I’ve seen them at almost every festival appearance they’ve made in the UK since that date. Seeing New Found Glory every year has near become ritual for me. I don’t need to sit down and learn all the words any more, even for the new albums, because the songs are so goddamn catchy – in a couple of listens, I’m set. That 2004 date was my second gig when I was just 13. In December 2006, they played on my birthday. But even when it wasn’t necessarily a “special” event, every NFG gig has always seemed momentous; they always come at certain important points of my life. Even the K! tour the other week struck gold, in the final year of my undergraduate life and in the last term where I’m allowed any fun. NFG have been there as I’ve grown up. Like so many others, they’ve led me through my awkward teenage years and shaped me into the person I’ve become.
A New Found Glory set is almost like therapy for me. I know (mostly) what’s coming up, and it’s one of the very few occasions that I will just completely lose my shit and go for it. The other week, I was surrounded by fifteen year old kids who barely recognised the older songs to hardened NFG veterans bellowing every word. Nobody stood still. Every time I see them, it is exactly the same as any other time – they come on, they play an incredible set, we all get worn out and sweaty, we lose our voices, we laugh and smile as we see the years of friendship that have tied this band together and we look at our friends and we realise that we would rather be nowhere else. I ended up separated from my friends the other night, but every now and again, I’d see a flash of them in the crowd or hear Mike yelling out the words (because he is the loudest person I know) and know they were having just as good a time as I was. Nobody had to get pulled out – even though there were crowd surfers – and nobody looked like they were having a bad time. It’s impossible to not smile at all during a New Found Glory set, it really is. Even if you’re not a pop-punk fan, the atmosphere is infectious.
Pop-punk is not dead. New Found Glory have proven that. They even named a tour after it. It is getting watered down though. In the early 2000s, don’t forget that we were previously swarmed by pop-punk bands . You couldn’t walk around the corner without being assaulted by a four-chord structure, the bass turned up and that drumline. Maybe I’m not being fair to the new kids on the block, but back then, it all seemed far catchier and while it wasn’t innovative, it didn’t all quite swim together. You could tell the difference between Mest, Good Charlotte and Millencolin. Fall Out Boy walked tall and proud in front of the whole lot. You can’t quite do the same today. Therefore, it’s worth going to see the masters. Forget your All Time Lows, who themselves take their name from New Found Glory, your You Me At Sixes and your We Are The In Crowds. See New Found Glory and you’ll see why pop-punk isn’t dead. You’ll see what pop-punk should be and what it can be – every NFG album has a different sound and a different feel to it. They’re much better live than Fall Out Boy ever were. They’ve still got the punk sensibilities they started with, even if they’ve grown up a bit. And rest assured, they will always, always play ‘My Friends Over You’. That’s worth it alone.