New Found Glory + Set Your Goals + Four Year Strong + Crime In Stereo @ Birmingham Academy – 22nd November 2008

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New Found Glory have been around for years, popping up supporting everyone from Green Day to Paramore; so when frontman Jordan Pundik asks who’s seen the band before, the response is a deafening roar from the majority of the crowd. Tonight however, it’s all about them, triumphant headliners playing to a sold out Academy.

First up to get the crowd in the party mood are Long Island‘s Crime In Stereo, who despite a valiant effort to get the New Found Glory fans on side, never really get more than polite applause. With a similar style to the other support bands on the bill, it seems strange that they don’t get the recognition the later bands receive, however Crime In Stereo just don’t sound as together as their tourmates. Still, their more upbeat tracks provide plenty of opportunity for the fans to get bouncing, as singer Kristian Hallbert gives it all he’s got onstage.

Four Year Strong

Four Year Strong receive a far warmer welcome, their mix of sugary sweet pop punk and growling hardcore going down a storm with the crowd. With glowsticks waving and the majority of the crowd jumping along, there’s a real party atmosphere throughout the set, although the circle pits that spring up during ‘Maniac’ suit the more hardcore elements of the band. Ending with ‘Heroes Fade Kid, Legends Never Die’, Four Year Strong have had the crowd with them from the start, and as they crank it up a notch for this final offering, every fan is singing along full blast.

Set Your GoalsSet Your Goals

Set Your Goals are right at home with the New Found Glory crowd, getting a much better reaction than in their support slot with Gallows earlier this year. Their vocals are less polished than the previous outfit’s, creating more of a punk sound as they throw out older track ‘Goonies Never Say Die’. The presence of six band members on the crowded stage gives the fans plenty of energy to feed off, raising the question of whether anyone’s going to be fit to go for it when the headliners hit the stage. As they blast out ‘Flight Of The Navigator’, Set Your Goals are looking likely to see a lot more success as their name becomes more and more well known.

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Then it’s time for New Found Glory to get their party underway. With a stage filled with NFG flags, it all feels a little like an American style frat party, complete with a crowd of underage, drunken kids. No one’s afraid to make themselves heard tonight, huge sing-alongs ringing out during ‘Catalyst’ and ‘Failure’s Not Flattering’. With so many well loved pop punk songs to choose from, they avoid the low point in the set that many bands hit, never having to stray far from tracks that the majority of the crowd know inside out.

New Found Glory love their covers, playing their versions of Goo Goo Dolls’ ‘Iris’, Sixpence None The Richer’s ‘Kiss Me’ and the theme from ‘Neverending Story’. The fans clearly share their enthusiasm and waste no time getting into the spirit, particularly during ‘Iris’, the Academy suddenly a sea of arms waving along. Even a potentially embarrassing slip up, as the band thank Manchester instead of Birmingham, doesn’t manage to provoke any negativity from their upbeat, die hard fans.

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Although their Greatest Hits album is due to be released next year, New Found Glory don’t seem to take themselves particularly seriously, Pundik suggesting they don’t feel they deserve a hits record. However the band have succeeded where many others have failed this year, far outselling the likes of Funeral For A Friend and Less Than Jake. As the well established set closer, ‘My Friends Over You’ sparks the loudest sing-along of the night, it’s clear that New Found Glory have cemented their place as one of Pop Punk’s most important bands.

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Review – Helen Catchpowle
Photos – Keith West

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