Some might say Pop Punk is dead, but on the evening we head out to Northern Paris to watch this show, it’s clear that the scene in the capital is far from it : the line is so impressive that we’ll have to risk missing the beginning of the show (fortunately, we made it).
After hurrying inside, we notice instantly that we’re in good hands with WSTR : the emerging pop punk band from Liverpool open the show to a surprisingly receptive crowd and we’ll even note some particularly stoked people ; their short set and first time playing in Mainland Europe are definitely a victory for everyone involved and with any luck, we should see them again on our shores very soon!
The setup changes radically for next opener Creeper, bursting into their set with opener VCR, and that alone is enough to earn the crowd’s attention ; although the venue isn’t full and the parisian’s favourite thing to do is usually hanging out at the back and not daring to get closer, almost nobody in the room is able to resist Creeper’s infectious, gloomy punk rock. And even if we can tell the music isn’t exactly what some of the people in the room are used to, vocalist Will Gould’s performance is captivating enough to keep everybody satisfied. After getting the crowd to open a circle pit almost instantly, and have someone request their already classic song Lie Awake, Creeper leave the stage with a near-perfect performance of ballad Henley’s Ghost, and it’s safe to say they now have everyone under their spell.
Neck Deep come on stage to their single Citizens Of Earth, which definitely pleases their fans gathered against the small stage, and us as well : when listening to their 2015 release ‘Life’s Not Out To Get You’ and hearing that same song open the album, we had been blown away by the band’s evolution over time and the same energy is present tonight ; again, the room isn’t as full as it could be, but it’s clear everyone is up for a good time and gang vocal singalongs. Neck Deep’s set is a mix of their newer, better sound and older songs like Over And Over from 2012 release ‘Rain In July’, and the quintet showcase how much they’ve matured since then ; this is the first night of their European tour, but their setlist is polished and it’s been approved by UK and US crowds before, and we definitely appreciate how the band plays Serpents into Kali Ma into Lime St.— which are, in our opinion, some of the best songs on their last album— and it’s obvious they’ve gotten much better as a live band than the last time we saw them open for All Time Low last year.
After the encore and the pop punk classic A Part Of Me, vocalist Ben Barlow comes back on his own to play a raw acoustic version of Head To The Ground, and the moment is lovely, but alas it dies when the band plays acoustic track December full band, which falls flat. Thankfully, their last song is the summery and full of gang vocals hit Can’t Kick Up The Roots, and what a way to close the set : the Paris crowd asks for more and invades the stage, creating a perfect pop punk music video moment (except this one definitely wasn’t staged), making it an evening to remember.
Overall, despite some dull moments during the set, it’s worth noting how much Neck Deep have matured and are still maturing as a band, and we’re excited to see what’s next.