There was no peace and plenty of panic in this raucous pop punk affair
Love was in the air, the evening was just right, and Neck Deep brought their brand of polished yet rowdy pop punk to local venue newbie, The Truman in Kansas City, Missouri. Valentine’s Day is an oddly poetic day to catch a show from the Welsh natives as there are plenty of emotions being covered on “The Peace and The Panic” tour currently, supporting their most recent full length album of the same name.
As the large crowd of overly excited fans had finished flooding the Truman floor, the first band of the night entered the stage. Creeper is a horror punk band from across the pond who I would say greatly resembles the aura of past greats such as AFI, My Chemical Romance, and even Alkaline Trio. They brought a unique opening to the night with a focus more on the “punk” than the “pop”, encouraging the crowd to loosen up early on. Musically, as well as visually, Creeper deserved every gothic second on stage with a loud driving force of audible tension mixed with visual experience. If you haven’t perused the discography of this group of talented individuals yet, you’re surely missing out.
Following a small intermission of set changes, we were due to hear the opening notes from Speak Low If You Speak Love. You might recognize a familiar face in the lineup as the band is fronted by State Champs bassist, Ryan Scott Graham. If you visit the band’s official Facebook page, you’ll see that the project is defined as “Emotional Indie Rock”, and I cannot agree any more. With beautiful guitar tone, musicianship of an artist with true heart for his craft, and a raw honesty about him, you can see the desire Graham has for his project.
As the final notes rang out for SLIYSL, the crowd cheered for such an elegant performance and prepared for a crowd favorite of the night – Seaway. The Canadian rock band has captured the hearts of indie and pop punk fans alike with pure attitude and music that brings good vibes. The band opened their set with a crowd favorite in their song Slam. It was near deafening as the crowd yelled back “Everything is cool, man” along with frontman Ryan Locke. If you’re on the fence about catching this tour, you will be sorely disappointed in yourself if you miss these artists in this order, at this point in their respective careers. If you are a true admirer of all that is pop punk, this may not be an opportunity that presents itself again judging by the upward trajectory of all involved.
The final, slightly lengthier set change of the night brought the headliners of this love-filled evening. Neck Deep started the night off with a bang, opening with “Happy Judgment Day” to the crowd’s thunderous cheers. Ben Barlow and crew sounded fantastic on this tour and it’s hard to not appreciate their musical advancement with every show, every tour, and every album. The band has CO2 cannons, a beautiful lighting design, and a mix at the soundboard to die for. There was not a shortage of music, as the band made sure to pull hits from every facet of their discography to cater to all levels of Neck Deep fans. There were highs with such classics like In Bloom, new banger Motion Sickness, and the full band variation of December, and then there were moments like the acoustic playing of Wish You Were Here that brought a younger crowd closer together on the perfect day for such feelings.
This is a tour full of every facet of the genre we call pop punk. Is that genre even an accurate representation of what we see in the ‘scene’ these days when we can put together the insanity of an amazing up and comer like Creeper, the elegant tones of Speak Low If You Speak Love, and the classic structures of pop punk in Seaway and Neck Deep? I will leave such inquisitive questions to you once you’ve purchased your tickets to see The Peace and The Panic tour to make your own determination.