LIVE: State Champs / The Gospel Youth @ The Underworld, Camden Town

By Christopher Lee

Having released their debut album ‘The Finer Things’ back in 2013’ State Champs were always on course to make big waves but following 2015’s incredible follow up ‘Around the World and Back’ they have quickly emerged as one of pop punks hottest properties.  The band has just concluded a summer on the Warped Tour and has headed straight over the pond for a main stage slot at Reading & Leeds festivals. Tonight’s show is supposed to serve as a warm up for the later but as we’re about to find out they certainly don’t need it.

Before that however we have the small matter of The Gospel Youth, the Brighton five piece have been making headway ever since 2014’s ‘Kids’ and with a steady stream of EP’s and singles, one a month in recent times the melodic pop punk group have toured with the likes of Verses and Hands like Houses. Taking to the stage vocalist Sam Little announces just how grateful they are to State Champs for having them out before exploding into ‘Hurricane’

It might be “The hottest venue on the hottest day of the year” but that in no way affects the energy these guys have. Sam’s vocals coupled with the riffs make for a wonderfully catchy mix as they blast out tracks such as ‘DST’ one for all those who’ve been broken hearted and end on ‘Guidelines’ to a chorus of chants from the crowd. The band now head out on a 6 date UK tour with Trash Boat so look out for these guys.

Time for tonight’s headliners now and it may be hotter than the sun down here but there’s a certain air of expectation in the room, it’s obviously packed from wall to wall and we’re all here for some fun. The band casually stroll on stage to the backing track of Backstreet Boy’s ‘Everybody’ the New York group have an air of confidence to them and we’re about to find out exactly why. They launch straight in to ‘Shape Up’ and immediately the whole crowd is bouncing and the energy is immense but there isn’t going to be any respite soon as singer Derek DiScanio demands “get those bodies moving” and the crowd fully oblige opening mosh pits and crowd surfing to ‘Simple Existence’.

Now it’s time to get ‘sweaty & wild’ apparently, not that there isn’t a single person in here already sweating. We get superb renditions of ‘Perfect Score’ and ‘Back & Forth’ before Derek checks that we’re all still ok “thumbs up if everyone’s alive & well!” and it’s a good job they are as the band power through my personal favourite ‘All You are is History’ with everyone in the room singing it right back. Luckily it would seem no one is ready to go home just yet as the place breaks into utter chaos, circle pits, crowd surfing during ‘Breaking Ground’ and ‘Remedy’.

Thankfully we all get a quick breather as Evan Ambrosio on the drums takes a second to cool down and who can blame him, the heat is almost unbearable for us in the crowd let alone drumming with the energy he’s managing up there. This gives us time for a quick chat about the ever conquering Pokemon Go “Anyone caught a Mr Mime yet? Because that’s a UK exclusive” but more importantly they’re filming this madness for a live DVD! “Who’s ready for Michael Buble up next?” asks Derek as we get right back into it with a huge circle pit around the central pillar (if you’ve been to The Underworld before you’ll know the one) for ‘Losing Myself’ ironic as “we all seem to be losing 20 pounds in sweat up here.”

We’re now approaching the end of what has been an incredible set, for every song there has been a constant stream of crowd surfers and every word has been sung back twice as loud by the crowd but the band are ready to call time on a wonderful evening and they’re gonna make damn sure that they get every ounce of energy out of us before they go. “Who’s got any voices left?” they ask before powering through ‘Elevated’ and ‘All or Nothing’ and last but not least they “send this out the right way” smashing through ‘Secrets’.

The band quickly bow out, probably for a cold shower if they’re anything like me but they’ve given us a memorable show and left the crowd wanting more. Luckily State Champs will be back touring the country early next year and I urge you not to miss them.