Sunday evenings aren’t made for going out and most of the time; I’d rather chill at home, take a bath and watch a cheesy movie. Yet, on that second Sunday of November 2018, I have decided that I would be social and gather with practically everyone I know in this “scene” for some pop punk fun. So despite the messy weather, I found myself at a venue for the trillionth time of the month. On paper, the line-up was pretty alright, even though half of it – headliner State Champs included – had just played a show together earlier in the year (at the exact same venue.)
I walk in as the first band, Woes, is completing the not-so-easy task to open the night and get everyone’s attention towards the gig. Hailing from Scotland and proudly representing pop punk, Woes is a band I’ve been regularly hearing of over the past couple years. From my end, there were still some adjustments to make in their performance, which lacked some strength and consistency. Even if they haven’t exactly caught our attention tonight, it is clear that their tenacity is slowly helping them progressing in their journey.
Stand Atlantic, on the other hand made the most impressive progress since their debut in Europe, last year. They toured the continent two more times since, including this one, which was coinciding with the release of their debut album “Skinny Dipping”. From their early days, the Australian trio has always suggested a vibrant and energetic take on pop punk, slowly evolving towards something that I would qualify as pop rock, if I really had to label it. The key to their ever growing success is also in their attitude : a laid-back group of young people, who do their thing the most simple and efficient way. Almost effortlessly. Truth is that Stand Atlantic never took anything for granted, especially coming from a place as far as Australia. Their worked hard to to stand out and achieve their goals in the past few years. It is therefore quite impressive to see how things evolved for them so positively in only a few months. France is a difficult market to break and Paris isn’t known for having the easiest audience to convince. Yet, Stand Atlantic are facing a few hundred people who are shouting most of their lyrics, even from the recently released record.
The venue wasn’t as full as the last time State Champs headlined it, despite a new album, “Living Proof”, released in the meantime. It was worth noticing, however, that everyone involved seemed to be having a hell of a night. The friendly atmosphere made it easier for the bands to engage smoothly with their audience and it showed especially with Seaway who were playing for the first time in France. I was surprised with the gust of madness they created in the venue, where most of the people have been clearly dying to finally see them on stage – and rightly so! – only to be able to sing along and dance to Something Wonderful. Seaway brought in fact all the fun and fresh vibes they’re known for. After a quick glance at the humid room, I came to the conclusion that the crowd was ready to take things to the next level for State Champs. And it did happen. Between the endless crowdsurfing, the jumping, the singing, the shouting, the show was athletic. Faithful to themselves, State Champs delivered. Even the traditional stripped-back, emotional, phone-lights-on moment fitted into all the mess.
Something I’ve been discussing at the time of the event is how State Champs have always been successful in Paris from the first time they set foot in the city of lights, which isn’t really usual. It’s difficult to pinpoint why, but the least I can say is that despite having just seen them earlier in the year, despite not really listening to them otherwise, it’s with warmth and joy that I spent most of our evening watching them and their guests. Beyond the music, it’s in watching friends, strangers, teens as well as grown ups having the best time that is delightful and we can only owe it to the music in a broad sense. Sometimes, the power of music lies in the littlest things.