For a band that’s had their fair share of “haters” over the past two years, Neck Deep must be doing something right. On the afternoon their second LP enters the UK Album Chart at number 8, they’re visiting the city of Nottingham as part of a series of in-store signings and sessions. After a plethora of devoted fans have spent a split second with the band having everything from vinyl and t-shirts to flags and ukuleles signed, it’s time for the Wrexham lads to show off their acoustic stylings.
Opening with ‘What Would You Expect?’, the first song the quintet ever wrote. Instantly the improvement in Ben Barlow’s vocals is noticeable whilst the acoustic take on the track is plucky. Latest single ‘Gold Steps’ comes off as warm but as anthemic as on record. ‘Tables Turned’ sees the biggest singalong so far whilst Barlow’s voice is for the most part soothing. ‘Can’t Keep Up The Roots’ shines in the softer verse before erupting in the chorus and predictably sees a wave of smartphones and hand claps.
Understandably there is a lack of urgency, but Barlow and company do show their passion. Longtime fan favourite ‘A Part of Me’ rounds off the short set and allows all in the store to have one last jolly good singalong. It’s bright and sentimental and is carried with a sense of pride.
Like everything Neck Deep has done so far, there was sceptism beforehand. However on this short showing, they’ve shown they’re capable at transitioning those pop-punk “bangers” into an intimate, acoustic setting. Having conquered the album charts along with a successful stretch on the Vans Warped Tour, it doesn’t seem Neck Deep are disappearing anytime soon. Their next challenge? To kick ass on the main stage of Reading and Leeds Festival.
Please Note: This review and event took place before the departure of guitarist Lloyd Roberts.
‘Life’s Not Out To Get You’ by Neck Deep is out now on Hopeless Records.
Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)