Neck Deep: A Headliner Elect
Ahead of their defining yet inevitable headline slot at Slam Dunk Festival in June, Neck Deep brought their All Distortions Are Intentional tour to O2 Academy Leeds. It would prove to be their self-proclaimed ‘best ever Leeds show’, yet something tells me that will certainly be topped when they take to the Amazon Rock Scene stage at Temple Newsam Park in June, alongside the elite company of Sum 41, Alexisonfire and Dropkick Murphys.
With a stacked support bill to match, including Leeds’ own Higher Power and rising stars Wargasm, it was rather a surprise that the crowd took a few songs and a sarcastic taunt from frontman Ben Barlow to open up the first mosh pit of the day, as the band brought out the classic ‘Motion Sickness’ following on from new tracks ‘Sonderland’ and ‘Lowlife.’
The band rattled through an especially heavy, rapid first half of the set without even stopping to catch a breath, with fan favourites such as ‘Telling Stories’ and ‘Kali Ma’ retaining their spots in the setlist from tours of old. Whilst All Distortions Are Intentional was released nearly two years ago, there was a need to give it the spotlight it is owed, with ‘Sick Joke’ and cheesy love ballad ‘When You Know’ providing a welcome break as the band mellowed out at the halfway mark.
The unorthodox climax of ‘Pushing Daisies’ before an encore of ‘Gold Steps’ and ‘In Bloom’ arguably represents the band’s most ambitious direction yet, as Barlow described the challenge and courage involved with this particular track. It was executed masterfully, with a stadium-like lead guitar tone and precise rhythm from stand-in drummer Matt Powles shining through.
Complete with the bedroom stage design, an ode to the band’s roots, Neck Deep have demonstrated how they are most certainly ready to take the next step and headline the almighty Slam Dunk Festival, at the pinnacle of the UK pop-punk scene.
Tickets for Slam Dunk Leeds are on sale here.
Words by Elliott Booth
Credit: Hopeless Records