In the Winter of 2012, Neck Deep embarked on their first-ever tour in support of their debut EP Rain In July. Supporting the exceptional With The Punches across the UK’s biggest cities, the shows were small, sweaty and scrappy in all of the best ways. It was also the starting point of a journey that would go through the gears in the six months that followed.
Fast-forward a decade, and the band have just announced the date of a show at London’s iconic Alexandra Palace. Such a rise is something that very rarely happens in UK alternative music. Let alone when it comes to pop-punk, which is all the more reason to celebrate. To think exactly where the band’s story began, from the bedroom of Ben and Seb Barlow, to now being one of the most renowned and revered voices in the genre they love so dearly. That is what a dream come true looks like.
Though throughout every high and low, one thing has yet to change about how things function in the ND Unit. Attitude. No bullshit, no pretence, no bad vibes. Sincerity sits at the forefront of everything they do because they are no different from those who come out to the shows to support them. This is why nights like this, where Neck Deep has taken it upon themselves to play all of Rain In July, and its successor, A History Of Bad Decisions, in full, feels like a community-driven decision. One last chance to celebrate where they have been before they step off into the fantastical opportunities before them. So, with a capacity of just under 400 and no barrier to hold back the chaos. It’s time to make a brand new memory.
It’s clear from the moment that “Kick It” bursts into life just how grateful the band are for revisiting this chapter. The immediate energy, matched with the grins on their faces, makes for a wholesome sight. With no barrier in place, the likes of “Silver Lining” and “Up In Smoke” feel all the more dynamic, with arms clamouring for a grab of the mic and bodies falling over one another. Whilst “All Hype No Heart” delivers pure hardcore hedonism, with a guest vocal from guitarist Matt West pulling out a guttural guest vocal.
From the hardest to the softest, the acoustic guitar then comes out. It’s up to Ben to croon a romantically cute “Head To The Ground” before the band joins him for a heartbroken “A Part Of Me“. Representing some of the biggest singalongs of the night and the sheer scope of what Neck Deep can represent for every person. It’s hard not to feel touched by it all. These songs that were written on a whim a decade ago still resonate with a whole different generation of fans. It goes to prove that moments in time can become timeless before your eyes. And the whole spectrum of human emotion is on show. From the couple holding each other with tears in their eyes to the individual emptying their lungs with every lyric sung.
The first half of this setlist was designed for intimate surroundings such as this. But what follows shows precisely why the band belong in the biggest rooms of all. “Motion Sickness“, “Gold Steps“, and “STFU” all sound absolutely monumental. Shaking the foundations and representing the growth and resilience of this band perfectly. Even their latest track, “Take Me With You“, some of the most quintessential pop-punk of the year, feels way too big for the confines of this room.
Closing out the evening’s proceedings with “In Bloom“, the weight of what has happened starts to sink in. A moment captured in time, presented in the form of a chaotic punk show. A wave goodbye to the past whilst looking to the future. And a warm-up for one of the biggest shows of their lives, which also serves as a reminder of how they got there. All these things and so much more are why Neck Deep continues to make such strides. From Rain In July to Infinity.