I’ve always been a massive pop punk fan so getting the opportunity to photograph and review the Pop Punk’s Not Dead Tour UK in Portsmouth last week was an amazing experience for me. To top this we were also lucky enough to be interviewing State Champ’s Tyler Szalkowski before the show too!
Being that pretty much all gigs in the UK usually have a maximum of 3 bands playing, this tour was unique in the fact that it not just had a stellar line-up but consisted of 5 bands.
Portsmouth Pyramids is one of the most unusual venues I have entered. It had the aroma of a swimming pool, was the shape of a pyramid and had carpet. Aside from that it seemed like quite a reasonable space with a pretty good sized stage.
First up on stage were Only Rivals. The audience were quite dispersed around the venue and some seemed disinterested in the band’s set. It was a shame really as I enjoyed their sound which was very much like that of the Blitz Kids.
Then Candy Hearts entered the stage and a very spread out crowd became one compact heap of head bobbing fans signing along to the band’s soft pop punk lyrics. Having never heard of these guys before, I really enjoyed their cutesy and happy buzz they brought to the venue. Fronted by Mariel Loveland, an attractive and energetic blue haired female, their set started building an atmosphere for the rest of the evening. My favourite of their songs was ‘I Miss You’. Candy Hearts are on the up, so keep your eyes peeled for more of them!
Things got pretty crazy when State Champs started playing. I thought I’d experience some energy from the crowd and I was definitely not disappointed. Lead singer Derek Discanio knows how to get his fans going wild! The crowd jumped around, thrashed and mega crowd surfed – I even got kicked in the face! The atmosphere in the venue was buzzing, shouting along to the words of State Champs songs including ‘Remedy’ and ‘Elevated’. State Champs threw heaps of energy, excitement and fun into their performance which made them an enjoyable band to watch and listen to.
State Champs set the energy bar for The Story So Far. Although they didn’t quite exceed that of the set prior to theirs, they certainly do know how to put on a show for their fans. Front man Parker Cannon pointed and thrashed around as the crowd threw themselves around as he belted out songs. These guys really did leave a hyped up crowd as they finished their set.
There was quite a long wait for New Found Glory, but as the lights went down and their introductory video kicked off their set, the crowd shouted excitedly. Lead singer Chad Gilbert knows exactly how to engage their fans. He stopped between songs to keep up the energy and share comments with the crowd. He plugged their new song ‘Ready and Willing’ and explained that when most people Wiki them, they’re shocked at how old they are.
New Found Glory have been around for a fair time and they’ll carry on going until their knees won’t hold them any more – well then they just might kneel I guess! They played a great set including ‘Hit Or Miss’ and a cover they did of ‘Kiss Me’. Then finished the night with ‘All Down Hill From Here’, which it definitely won’t be for any of the bands on this tour!
I had an amazing time and I look forward to the next amazing Pop Punk’s Not Dead Tour – because Pop Punk is definitely not dead!
Words and photography by Michelle Stannard