Words & pics by Aatish Ramchurn
The thing with the days now getting shorter is that the moment it starts turning dark, you feel like you’re running late.
At least, that’s how I felt as I was making my way to the O2 Academy – heading out to see long-time pop punk band, New Found Glory, as they arrive in Birmingham for their 20 Years of Pop Punk tour. Turns out I wasn’t late at all, but rather ten minutes early.
Each date of New Found Glory’s UK 20 Years of Pop Punk tour features tracks from two of their nine albums, plus songs from their new album, Makes Me Sick.
Birmingham’s set list would include tracks from Sticks and Stones and the self titled New Found Glory, albums which contained the more popular songs that propelled them to fame in the early 2000s.
Opening the night is Eastbourne’s five-piece, ROAM – the only support act. Soon to be releasing their second album on Hopeless Records, Great Height & Nosedives, ROAM grace the stage with an energetic set of heavy, pop punk anthems, at times encouraging circle pits. Judging from the people singing at the front ROAM have been built quite a fanbase in Birmingham and, after this set, have probably gained some new ones.
On to New Found Glory, who began their career as a quintet until guitarist Steve Klein left the band in 2014. The stage darkens, and the ‘Happy Anniversary’ melody from an episode of The Flintstones plays before they storm onto the stage, opening with ‘Understatement’.
I’m fairly certain that from the start there were four photographers in the photo pit. But that number appears to have doubled about one minute later, as if we have multiplied like Mr. Meeseeks from Rick and Morty. All of us are scrambling across the photo pit as Jordan Pundik, Ian Grushka and Chad Gilbert pace across the stage, showing no signs of ever slowing down.
As well as having to watch myself not bumping into other photographers, security has to look after the flurry of oncoming crowd surfers. I guess the ‘No Crowdsurfing’ sign, usually seen in both the O2 Institute and O2 Academy, is being ignored for tonight. Needless to say, this was probably the most intense photo pit experiences I’ve had (or so I thought before KRS-One).
Although the 20 Years of Pop Punk wasn’t a sell out show tonight there is still a decent turn out, with voices from the front to the back of the room singing along in pop punk unity to ’My Friends Over You’ at the end of the set. But New Found Glory’s night in Birmingham didn’t end at the O2 Academy, as they made a brief appearance at Subside, in Digbeth, to play DJ set and take photos with some of their fans.
New Found Glory @ O2 Academy 30.09.17 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review
ROAM – supporting New Found Glory @ O2 Academy 30.09.17 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review