Pop Punk is on the spot lately and you’ve probably read too many articles about the genre and all its clichés. You’ve probably read that Pop Punk is dead too. Truth is, if you agree with any of it, you might have to think again. Since 2013, many bands such as Neck Deep, The Wonder Years, Real Friends, Modern Baseball, The Story So Far and all the others have decided to prove all of the scepticals wrong by bringing back the good tunes full of feels. It is a fact that Pop Punk as most people intend it is over. Old bands of the genre are either gone or too different. But the new wave of Pop Punk is here to defend it and give it a new breath, a new youth even. 2015 has seen some pretty good albums so far along with good bands of the scene breaking out, clearly taking a stand in today’s music scene. We may even call it the « Year of Pop Punk » but the question is, has Pop Punk ever really been gone?
Well, it is one thing to state all this but how can we prove it? A few good albums is probably not going to make the call, is it? So what if we told you Paris has recently seen one of the sweatiest and greatest pop/punk nights ever? That’s right, State Champs invaded the french capital with their good pals in Knuckle Puck and Roam on September 29th and guess what; It was packed!
When we walked in, locals Atlas For Home were already playing and, unfortunately, as we were running late, we arrived just in time to watch them covering The Rembrandt’s I’ll Be There For You (aka theme song for the iconic TV show Friends) and it took us back to the 90ies, as everyone in the crowd was singing along to the chorus! Overall, it seemed like the band did a pretty decent job warming up the crowd before the next bands took over the stage.
Roam weren’t even on stage for long, before everybody started singing at the top of their lungs. This is something we still find surprising, in a way, because although Roam are now definitely a force to be reckoned with in this genre, it’s still hard to gauge their popularity in mainland Europe. We saw Roam for the first time in The Netherlands a year and half ago when their fanbase was really small and people hardly knew about them outside the UK. And even back then, people were passionate about them. Tonight was no exception, the crowd was hot and excited and it felt good. Isn’t that all we are looking for in music? The night was only beginning and we were all into it. Roam‘s performance was on point, as always, those english kids clearly know how to get shit done. The band played some of their most popular tracks such as Safeguard and Warning Sign (as a super efficient opener), and even added to that a new song, Cabin Fever! For the record, Roam will be releasing their debut album at the beginning of next year and it seems like they’re currently doing everything right to get people excited for it. Wrapping up their set with Head Rush, even the heat (the air condionter of the venue had broken the same day) didn’t stop the sweaty people shouting “IF I TOLD YOU WHAT IT MEAN WOULD IT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE”. We had the feeling the night would only get hotter by the minute. And we were right.
When Knuckle Puck opened with Disdain, we could tell they had some fans around, super stoked to see them. They followed with But Why Would You Care? and Oak Street off their EP and when they mentioned Gold Rush from a split they did with Neck Deep things got messy. We could feel the pop punk vibes everywhere in this tiny venue. The furthest into the set, the more fans were screaming, allowing the band to feel even more comfortable. Knuckle Puck highlighted their set with an intense ending on Pretense. The Illinois guys were coming over for the first time completely surprised by this warm welcome, and conquered by most of the fans knowing their songs by heart. A shame that their set couldn’t last longer, though. But well, after that, it was almost time for State Champs and we knew things would get even crazier.
When the 5 guys stepped on that small stage in a room filled with people that were already sweating their ass off for the past 2 hours, it was like the crowd was holding its breath wondering what song would open the set. All You Are Is History, first track released off their new album kicked in and people were off their minds, jumping and singing along. Remedy immediately followed and singer Derek DiScanio took some time to mention the heat in that venue and check on the fans. The band played 8 songs off « The Finer Things » which was absolutely killer and obviously promoted « Around The World And Back », playing the 3 songs off it that had been released at the time. State Champs went from hit to hit playing Deadly Conversation, Simple Existence, Easy Enough, Nothing’s Wrong and Hard To Please one after the other and it felt like no song was a bad choice. Some may have wished they’d played If I’m Lucky or some acoustic tracks but it would have felt out of place and didn’t fit this type of night as the energy was on point. We were all super stoked to take part in that night, singing our hearts out to every song, crowdsurfing, even moshing at times.
Derek obviously mentioned how happy the band was to be here (that tour being their first proper tour in Mainland Europe) and as their friends in Knuckle Puck, they were completely overwhelmed by the fans’ response. The encore was probably one of the sickest we had experienced in a while. Losing Myself was followed by the -oh so popular- Elevated. And THAT was crazy! The whole crowd got onstage with the band and the rest was losing themselves, jumping in the pit whilst Derek gave a go at stage diving. Happiness was in the air and it was for sure a successful night both for the bands and fans.
That night showed us that Pop Punk is reinventing itself and it is far from being dead. It isn’t like that music we listened to when we were growing up but it surely feels as good. It was a special night in so many ways and we definitely need more nights like these around town. So to whatever band lay eyes on this (The Wonder Years, if you hear us!) we, europeans love pop punk. We may not sell out your shows like other parts of the world but we promise we’ll sing our hearts out back to you. Simply because these bands made us so proud of supporting this scene, as always. So yeah, pop punk is back guys and this tour (along with the ones recently announced for 2016) was proof of that. A lot of new bands will surely appear in the scene in the next few months too and one thing is for sure; we’ll keep on defending this “scene”, get rowdy at shows and keep in mind that ‘everything is copacetic’.
Words : Roxy S. / Marlene H.
Full album will be available shortly