New Found Glory

support Hit The Lights + The Early November
author PP date 01/12/06 venue Astoria, London, UK

Two near-cult acts and one incredibly popular new comer all at once, what a lineup the pop punk kings New Found Glory were able to put together for their UK tour here in December. Hit The Lights is pretty much set to become the big act of 2007 with their worry-free feelgood pop punk filled with irresistible melodies and catchy choruses, and The Early November has for long now been considered one of the most emotional, most important emo acts out there with material ranging from purely acoustic to semi-slow to harder pop punk. Their career has spanned pretty much everything and thus the band is enjoying a somewhat legendary status within the emo scene. New Found Glory themselves were one of the flagships of second-wave pop punk generation together with bands like Blink 182 and Mxpx in the late 90's. These three bands together at Astoria were any pop punkers wet dream, and given New Found Glory's swing to the more commericalized ballad-predominated territory, the 1,500 capacity Astoria was also the wet dream of any teenage girl in London area.

Hit The Lights

I was a bit too late to see the grand opening of the Hit The Lights set, but I was able to catch the last notes of "The Call Out (You Are The Dishes)" anyway. The hugely hyped pop punkers were loved by a surprisingly big part of the floor-crowd, and even if the party was a little bit flat occasionally, the top moments like "Bodybag" and "One Hundred Times" stirred up a lively mosh pit, that unfortunately was plagued by idiot emo kids doing their 'hardcore moshing' at a pop punk gig. Nice going lads, you almost caused a fight when you hit someone bigger than you and were about this close of having your asses kicked by everyone around you. But back to Hit The Lights: No matter how popular they've become recently, they're still a very new band and you could see the inexperience on their stage show. Having played at the ten times smaller venue Barfly the night before, the band seemed awfully loose on as big of a stage as Astoria is. It's just far too large for Hit The Lights to be on yet, and they weren't able to achieve the tightest possible set, even though their set was characterized by jumps and storms across the stage like the energetic act they are should be. On a positive note though, the band resembled the early New Found Glory on stage incredibly much, and within a year the band will be fully qualified for a stage this big.

6

The Early November

How interesting can a near-acoustic act be, I thought, while sipping on my beer during the intermission. After all, I had only heard "The Acoustic EP", "Room's Not Cold" and "The Mother, The Mechanic, The Path" before the show. Within five minutes of their set I realized how wrong I was as well as how foolish I have been for not checking out their first release "For All Of This". Its title track, for instance, other than being the absolute highlight of the night, was delivered with mesmerizing emotion on stage, and it reflected upon to the crowd were several TEN fans looked like they were somewhere far, far beyond an ecstatic state. To be in 'love' would be too tame of a word to use, because these guys were literally ready to die after a couple more oldies combined with new ones like "Decoration". Just how the band were able to sound so passionate as well as energetic during the quieter songs is beyond my understanding. I know I'll be lining up for tickets on their headlining show.

New Found Glory

I love New Found Glory live, even if their last two albums have been absolute shite in my opinion with the exception of one or two songs each. That's how I was planning on starting their part of the review after hearing the first five songs or so, because even though the band chose to start off with a song that's slow in the studio, they had punked it and the following five significantly with a big tempo increase, and jumps typical to pop punk dominating their stageshow. Even the new song "Hold My Hand" was played at about twice the speed of the studio recording, making it sound much better than it otherwise would. Unfortunately I won't be able to start the review the way I initially felt like, even if I paradoxically already did so, as me and New Found Glory clearly don't see eye to eye on their last two albums. My question is why on earth would you slow things down when your tracks sound so much better when you play them as the punk band that you originally were during self-titled and "Nothing Gold Can Stay" era? I think it says something that the best crowd reaction and loudest singalongs were on the "Sticks & Stones" tracks rather than the new, poppy "Coming Home" pieces. A least to my great disappointment, the tempo increase was only temporary and the rest of the songs were delivered at ordinary speed, although this didn't prevent Jordan & co to persuade members of the crowd to damn near drown in sweat and ecstatic feelings while participating in what must have been one of the best singalong sessions Astoria has had for a while. The band kept interchanging positions on stage, running from one side of the stage to another in a frenzy of energetic jumps and bright, colourful lights to reiterate and underline their pop punk roots, and even allowed the crowd to choose between "The Neverending Story" and another "From The Screen To Your Stereo EP" track by popular vote.

I have to give props for Jordan & co, though, regardless of my opinion of "Catalyst" and "Coming Home". To play more songs from "Sticks & Stones" than from the album that you're touring with is a tough and deserved slap on the face of the record label and their politics, as well as a highly regarded treat to all fans who turned up tonight at Astoria. Still, you could easily get the vibe that a lot of the people present tonight didn't really know much else than the "Catalyst" and "Coming Home" songs, and especially the self-titled songs were played to a crowd of mostly blank faces. This didn't stop the 'hardcore oldschool fans' like myself of going absolutely mental when Jordan sang those infamous opening lyrics 'The needle on my record player has been wearing thin' of "Hit Or Miss", and strangely enough the sing along came from half the fewer people than the new tracks, but was thrice as loud. Maybe to some of these kids, "Coming Home" and "Catalyst" etc are good, perhaps even great music, but to a substantial few of us in the crowd, some of these tracks are far beyond just 'music', they influenced such big parts of our lives in a positive way and affected the decisions we made long ago. These were the songs we grew up with, the ones that mean more to us than anything else in the entire world, and seeing them live almost eight years after they were originally written is a feeling that you just can't describe. The euphoric feeling from screaming along to the infamous lyrics "Remember the time we realized "Thriller" was our favorite song" wasn't going to settle until long after the show, and this certainly wasn't helped by the band's decision to play one of the most widely regarded for New Found Glory songs "Dressed To Kill" as the third last track.

All I can say to finish is that New Found Glory still have it in them even after being a band for ten years now. To play an hour and a half set with equal amount of songs from all your albums except your debut is impressive, as most bands tend to ignore their roots after this much time has passed by (hello Incubus). My only criticism of tonight's gig - bear in mind this is really subjective because "Nothing Gold Can Stay" is one of my favorite pop punk albums ever and unequivocally my favorite NFG one - is that the band chose to play zero songs from that album, if you count "Hit Or Miss" as a part of self-titled. But to be fair, it really was nine years ago they wrote those songs, so I'll be forgiving them and hoping to hear them once more in the future. I just really can't wait for Give It A Name now, April seems so long away.

Setlist:

  • 1. All Downhill From Here [Catalyst]
  • 2. Understatement [Sticks & Stones]
  • 3. Better Off Dead [New Found Glory]
  • 4. Hold My Hand [Coming Home]
  • 5. Something I Call Personality [Sticks & Stones]
  • 6. Sincerely Me [New Found Glory]
  • 7. On My Mind [Coming Home]
  • 8. Forget My Name [Sticks & Stones]
  • 9. Sonny [Sticks & Stones]
  • 10. Coming Home [Coming Home]
  • 11. Head On Collision [Sticks & Stones]
  • 12. The Neverending Story [From Your Screen To Your Stereo]
  • 13. I Don't Wanna Know [Catalyst]
  • 14. It's Not Your Fault [Coming Home]
  • 15. Hit Or Miss [New Found Glory]

--Encore--

  • 16. Too Good To Be [Coming Home]
  • 17. Failure's Not Flattering [Catalyst]
  • 18. Dressed To Kill [New Found Glory]
  • 19. Intro of Catalyst
  • 20. My Friends Over You [Sticks & Stones]

Comments
comments powered by Disqus

Legal

© Copyright MMXIX Rockfreaks.net.