Neck Deep / Roam / Cardinals @ Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff [22/01/2014]

By Chris Marshman

Photo by Tiegan Neary

Neck Deep are in the middle of a wonderland right now… as if a debut album receiving tonnes of great press wasn’t enough, they’re now in the midst of their very own UK tour, and if tonight’s show is anything to go by then it’s a UK tour that has been fucking mental.

First to take the stage tonight at Clwb Ifor Bach is Newport based pop punks, Cardinals who unfortunately don’t fare quite as brilliantly as they have done when we’ve seen them in the past. The sound is all a bit clunky and where as before everything has fit together bloody nicely, it all just seems a bit disjointed tonight. The band are due to support Gnarwolves at Cardiff’s Undertone venue in a couple of weeks so we’re prepared to put tonight down as just a bad night. This band have far more to offer as the recent release of new song ‘I Left My Snare In Church’ more than proves and we’ll be at Undertone to catch them at what I assume will be back to their best.

Next up is another band who seem set to break through in 2014, Brighton/Eastbourne’s Roam, who, as if the name wasn’t a big enough giveaway have evidently been inspired by the likes of the ever influential The Story So Far, musically it’s not too dissimilar and the stage presence is near identical, but fuck it, right? It’s a good thing that some pop punk band from over the pond can have such a big influence over here and in all fairness Roam do their thing quite well, the band obviously thrive in a live environment, moreso when the crowd actively get involved. Looking at tonight’s headliners it’s clear that Roam were an obvious choice for support and so they should be because tonight, they put on a good show.

Headlining a venue in which they were a support band mere months ago to one of the biggest pop punk bands in the world must be a pretty great feeling, Neck Deep are not only headlining tonight but they’ve sold out Clwb Ifor Bach and as soon as they hit the stage the band get a reaction normally reserved for their overseas pop punk counterparts. From start to finish Neck Deep put on a hell of a show, the tracks from debut album ‘Wishful Thinking’ go down well and mix seamlessly with their older material. It would have been nice to hear a couple more from the new album with ‘Zoltar Speaks’ being noticeably absent tonight. Neck Deep spend around 50 minutes on stage with the highlight coming in the form of a two song acoustic interlude that has the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands.

The rise of Neck Deep has been pretty astounding and with high profile support slots booked in and the support of Hopeless Records propelling them onwards, prepare to see them headlining bigger venues soon.