LIVE: A Day To Remember / New Found Glory / Neck Deep / Moose Blood @ The SSE Arena, Wembley

By Christopher Lee

It would be fair to say that the last 12 months have been fairly eventful for A Day To Remember. In the last year they released their latest album ‘Bad Vibrations’ and were successful in their ongoing court case against former label Victory Records. The Florida rockers have come to town with their aim set firmly on blowing away the huge arenas they’ll be tackling, and they’ve enlisted some stellar bands to help them do it.

First up are Canterbury emo band, Moose Blood, who themselves have had a pretty incredible 12 months. It might be an early set time, but Wembley Arena is still almost full as the band takes their place. Eddy Brewerton sheepishly proclaims “Hello everyone, we’re Moose Blood” before kicking off with ‘Honey’. The bands melodies are as perfect as ever and do an excellent job of welcoming everyone here tonight. Their set include ‘Gum’ and ‘Bukowksi’ from first album, ‘I’ll Keep You in Mind, From Time to Time’ along with recent hits from ‘Blush’. The entirety of the set sees the crowd bouncing and singing along ,proving that in the bands own words, emo is most definitely a gang.

Following Moose Blood might seem like a tough act, but Neck Deep’s brand of pop punk was always sure to get the crowd moving. Taking to the stage to a backdrop of light and a huge roar, they waste no time in getting things going as vocalist Ben Barlow tells the crowd, “You didn’t come here to stand still,” before exploding into ‘Gold Steps’.

The band power through tracks ‘Lime St’ and ‘Kali Ma’, before there’s a goose bump inducing moment as Barlow requests that the crowd get their lighters/phones out during an intimate rendition of ‘A Part of Me’. “If it wasn’t for New Found Glory we wouldn’t be a band,” says Barlow of the band who have to follow them, giving them a jolt of energy for ‘Can’t Kick Up the Roots’. The crowd feed off the performance and there isn’t a single person not moving. By the time the guys leave the stage this huge crowd are baying for more.

New Found Glory were amongst the pioneers of pop-punk and have been a band for two decades. If you grew up in the 90’s/00’s then you’ll know a New Found Glory song, even if you’re not aware of it. They storm the stage following a speech from none other than Rocky Balboa lifted directly from one of the movies and immediately explode into ‘All Downhill from Here’ but if anything their set is on an opposite course.

Their backdrop sums it up perfectly, simply stating ’20 Years of Pop-Punk’ and as vocalist Jordan Pundik reminds the crowd, they’ve been a band for 20 years and have played this next song at every single show. It’s ‘Hit or Miss’ and it’s most definitely a hit with the crowd as mosh pits erupt across the floor. There’s time for Pundik to give shout outs to both the bands that came before them telling the crowd that they should be proud because “Both Moose Blood and Neck Deep are killing it in the states,” before treating us to a brand new track from the album ‘Makes Me Sick’ in the shape of ‘Happy Being Miserable’.

Theres time for a nostalgia inducing rendition of ‘Kiss me’ which has the entire venue singing at the top of their lungs. Pundik and the rest of the band then give everyone a pep talk about how “being in a band is the greatest thing in the world,” and then ensure that the set ends in chaos as they close the set with ‘My Friends Over You’. They may have been a band for 20 years but they have in no way lost any of their enthusiasm for the music they play.

Gig line ups like these don’t come about too often and it’s been a spectacular evening so far. The crowd are more than ready for A Day to Remember to tear it up, there’s mosh pits in the crowd before they even take to the stage with the PA playing tracks from the likes of Slipknot and Limp Bizkit. All this stops as the arena is plunged into darkness and is replaced by a huge roar from the crowd. As the lights come up, the band are in place and Jeremy McKinnon demands “Let’s start this right!, Everybody move,” as they explode, quite literally, with confetti into ‘Mr. Highway’s Thinking About The End’.

They follow this up with ‘Paranoia’ which see’s the floor split into two giant circle pits as McKinnon tells the crowd he wants to “See the biggest fucking circle pit Wembley Arena has ever seen.” The hits keep coming as they power through a number of tracks including ‘2nd Sucks’ and ‘I’m Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?’ before McKinnon takes a break from his typical strutting around the stage to insist that the band were only recently made aware that their second album ‘For Those Who Have Heart’ turned 10 years. Prompting an energetic rendition of “Fast Forward to 2012’.

The Majority of the set consists of tracks from both the bands latest offering ‘Bad Vibrations’ and 2009’s ‘Homesick’. As the band power through hit after hit, there’s a couple of moments that show just what this band are all about. During ‘It’s Complicated’ the crew are made busy firing T Shirts into the crowd, and as they power through another favourite, ‘Have Faith In Me’, the crowd instinctively get their lighters out, again making for a fantastic spectacle.

Coming towards the end of the set and there’s a couple of huge tracks ‘All I Want’ and ‘The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle’ before the band leave us… but not for long! Guitarist Neil Westfall saunters back on stage alone declaring “I’ll play this god damn song solo I swear to god,” before McKinnon joins him and asks, “Alright Wembley, did you wanna hear some more songs or some shit?” They give a touching performance of ‘If It Means a Lot To You’. The closing two tracks see the band and crew throwing toilet rolls at each other and the crowd during ‘All Signs Point to Lauderdale’, and they bring the curtain down with a blistering performance of ‘The Downfall of Us All’.

All four bands were incredible A Day To Remember seem set to embark on a new journey amongst the upper echelon of rock bands. Their sub headline set sandwiched in between AFI and headliner Biffy Clyro at Download Festival in the summer can’t come soon enough.

Christopher Lee