LIVE: Pop Punk’s Not Dead Tour (New Found Glory / The Story So Far / etc.) @ Forum, London

By Adam Rosario

The 28th November marks the first night of the ‘Pop Punk’s Not Dead’ tour stint in London. With all the talk of rock music being dead, this sub-genre has proved that it isn’t dead at all.

Opening proceedings were the excellent Dublin 4 Piece, Only Rivals. Arriving on stage to the sound of Stone Cold Steve Austin’s entrance music, hyped the crowd up that little bit more. With a sound similar to Twin Atlantic & Verses, these boys are definitely one to keep an eye on. With bangers like ‘Drive’ and ‘Details’, they’ve proven to be ones to watch.

Next to take the stage were NYC’s own, Candy Hearts. Having been given massive praise from their contemporaries, and being endorsed by one Hayley Williams, Candy Hearts have a mass of hype behind them. Fortunately they prove why they’re getting all of the hype. Showing many different sides in their 30 minutes on stage, the highlights were most notably were ‘Something’s Missing’ and the title track to their latest album ‘All The Ways You Let Me Down’. For a first time in london, they’ve made sure they’ll always be welcome.

State Champs have been heralded recently as a saviour of Pop Punk music. For a band who are usually full of energy, their set feels very flat. With only small pockets of the crowd reacting in an over the top manner, they play their 40 minute set, looking kind of bored. If they didn’t have Derek Discanio as a frontman, they would be a lot less interesting. ‘Hard to Please’ and single ‘Elevated’ sound the best tonight, though they’re a lot better to listen to on record than in a live setting. It’s hard to tell if it’s due to nerves of playing a massive venue, but State Champs definitely missed their chance to make a big splash.

Taking the main support slot, The Story So Far have been riding a wave of momentum straight to the top of the pop punk world. Hailing from California and taking their name from one of the headliners songs, they’ve been going from strength to strength. From supporting A Day To Remember at the start of the year, to supporting New Found Glory. Kicking off with ‘Empty Spaces’, they rip through an 11 song set, taking in both of their albums. ‘All Wrong’ and ‘Stifled’ were major highlights, whilst ‘Roam’ kicks off, bringing the crowd into a frenzy of screams and chorus shouts. With Derek Discanio going on vocals, the set is everything that a triumphant support slot should be. Closing with ‘High Regard’, The Story So Far really are just that. They could very easily become one of the biggest pop punk bands of all time based on this performance.

And with that, it falls to one of the most legendary pop punk bands of all time. New Found Glory hit the stage with enthusiasm and a fire inside. Ripping straight into ‘Understatement’, frontman Jordan Pundik is a whirlwind of energy, non stop movement, keeping all eyes on him. It helps when his voice is on amazing form as well. NFG have an hour and a half to play a set, which is just enough time for them to play all of the classics, THAT cover, and even promote their new album ‘Resurrection’. ‘Something I Call Personality’ and ‘Hit or Miss’ sound as good now as they did when they were first played live. ‘Selfless’ and ‘Ready and Willing’ sound massive, the punkier vibe giving off an air of a band on their way up.

New Found Glory, haven’t exactly fallen on hard times, but with the departure of longtime guitarist Steve Klein, the band seem to have been able to take the music to a heavier place, both lyrically and musically. One of Pop Punk’s most famous covers, ‘Kiss Me’ has the crowd swaying in unison, singing at the top of their lungs, ‘The Story So Far’ and a massive ‘My Friends Over You’ bring the main set to a close, with the latter featuring Paramore’s Hayley Williams on guest vocals. The 4 song encore closes with ‘All Downhill From Here’ bringing the night’s proceedings to a close.

All 5 bands have shown that Pop Punk is indeed, not dead. In the 4 support bands, Pop Punk has a bright future. in the headliner, Pop Punk has a fantastic present. New Found Glory continue to go from strength to strength, and it’s well earned. Fantastic night of music.