Author and Photographer: Ian Urquhart
The only thing in bloom on a February evening in Worcester, Massachusetts was found at the Palladium theater. Neck Deep, Seaway, Speak Low If You Speak Love and Creeper parked their buses, unloaded the trailers and tuned up their instruments for an evening of Pop Punk.
This evening was full of surprises. Normally, the first band to play has a decent following (hopefully). It could be worse while it could also be better. This was not the case for Creeper. Starting off the evening, these Southampton rockers brought the weather with them. Black Rain, to be exact. For a moment, you could have thought the concert was headlined by this group with all the voices echoing from the stands. As an international band visiting the United States, I would only imagine this made their performance even more special. Popular hits like “Black Rain” and “Hiding with Boys” off of Eternity, in Your Arms (2017) really got the crowd interacting with lead vocalist, Will Gould.
Initiate surprise number two of the evening: Speak Low If You Speak Love. An Emotional Indie Rock band playing with Pop Punk bands? Something didn’t make sense there. Lead vocalist, Ryan Scott Graham, even mentioned that they played a small art club in Massachusetts in front of, “maybe 6 people” prior to the Worcester show. But these Pop Punk fans are another breed. No matter what the genre, expect crowd surfing and circle pits for any band on the lineup. Which is exactly what Speak Low If You Speak Love received. It was such an odd but moving sight to be hearing an acoustic guitar strum along to the sound of security guards catching fans surfing over the barrier. It was obvious that this show, specifically, meant a lot to them. It almost seemed as if they’ve never received a reaction to their music like that before. It was a pleasure witnessing such a memorable moment for a group of dedicated musicians.
With the calmness of Speak Low If You Speak Love’s set coming to a close, it was time for Seaway to pump the energy back up. The Pop Punk atmosphere had made its way to the stage while lead vocalist, Ryan Locke was locking it in.in The pit jumped around to “Best Mistake” off of Color Blind (2015) and “Shy Guys” off of Hoser (2015). To keep the surprise train chugging along, Fil Thorpe-Evans – Neck Deep’s Bassist, came out to the stage for a one song, bass-player substitution. You spontaneously felt a beach, summer vibe while listening to Seaway’s choruses. Seaway embodied a comforting concert experience as the show was almost stopped twice to ensure a fallen fan’s safety.
With the NFL Superbowl occurring the night after their set, it was only fitting for Neck Deep to accommodate the New England crowd. As the white canvas fell to reveal the stage, Ben Barlow was seen rocking a Randy Moss – New England Patriots jersey. Incredible. This provided additional fuel to the adrenaline fire of what was the Worcester Palladium. Everyone knew every single word to every song played by Neck Deep that evening. It was a sight to see. One aspect of Neck Deep’s performance that spoke volumes was their ability to incorporate the other bands into their set. You see this occasionally with headlining bands. It’s special when it happens. As an example, Ken Taylor from Seaway joined the Neck Deep boys in “Don’t Wait” off of The Peace and the Panic (2017). Sam Carter, vocalist for the Architects was the original artist who was featured on this track. Additionally, Hannah Greenwood, keyboard player, was brought back to stage in order to cameo in “A Part of Me” off of Rain in July (2012). These collaborations really allow the fans to grow a deeper appreciation for artists who respect other artists who are just as talented.
This tour is filled with go-lucky, positive and nostalgic feels. If there is a stop on this tour coming to a city near you, I highly suggest you check it out. Even if you don’t know the music, this is a show that anyone can have fun at.
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