LIVE: Neck Deep @ Hippodrome, Kingston

By Ben Tipple

Neck Deep have been in the US for 2 months on Warped Tour and today is their first day back. On Friday they released their sophomore album, the follow up to their debut ‘Wishful Thinking’, and tonight proves that Neck Deep are more than ready to maintain their status as one of the best UK bands around. Today is their first acoustic performance coinciding with the in-store signings this week, at the Hippodrome in Kingston for Banquet Records. Struggling to get anywhere near the front, I settled at the back of the room behind 400 eager fans.

Opening with ‘What Did You Expect’, you can immediately tell the band has been on tour for two months straight, with Ben’s voice seeming very raw. This did nothing to stifle the performance, with the crowd singing along just as eagerly, shouting back every word louder than Ben himself. Following with ‘Gold Steps’, it is evident that the band are now more than experienced on stage, with Ben talking to the crowd with ease. Considering the track has only been out about a month, the fans know every word.

Everybody loves an acoustic version of a song, although not every band are capable of delivering the right performance that is able to capture what the full band effort did originally. From their second EP, ‘Tables Turned’ held just as much weight, if not more, and I couldn’t help thinking that it would sound great as a recorded version. ‘Can’t Kick Up The Roots’, the debut single from the new album goes down a storm. I’ve never seen a crowd know every lyric to every song performed as passionately and comfortably as in this room tonight.

While talking with the crowd and joking around, Ben takes one of the acoustic guitars himself and performs a strong rendition of ‘Head To The Ground’ from EP 2 ‘A History of Bad Decisions’, before handing the guitar back and singing an emotional performance of their first album ‘Wishful Thinking’s closer ‘Candour’.

The set wouldn’t have been right without the obvious closer, ‘A Part of Me’. A fan favourite from the start of their career, there was no way they could’ve left it out of the set. As soon as the first chords started the room immediately picked up, with every person in the room singing each word in time, and pitch perfect. Ben took a step back and let the whole room sing the female part of the end of the song, singing his own part over the top as the song finished out. There really was no other way they could have finished the set.

Neck Deep may have only been a band for 3 years, but they’re one of the hardest working bands on the scene right now. Their second album in as many years is miles better than their admittedly great debut, and the room tonight shows that there is so much more to come for Neck Deep.

WORDS: Callum McPhee
PHOTO: Corinne Cumming