Pop punk is going strong in the UK at the moment if you weren’t aware. At least that’s the impression you would get upon entering the O2 Academy this evening which is full to the rafters as The Gospel Youth take to the stage. Recently signing to Rise/Velocity Records ahead of their debut album release, the Brighton pop rock outfit did a great job of entertaining a perhaps unfamiliar crowd with their sad tinged rock songs.
It’s ‘Kids’ that provides the highlight, described as their only happy song, as well as ‘The Hospital Blues You Gave To Me’ dedicated to vocalist Sam Little’s late sister. It’s Sam that is the leading light for the group, with unique vocals and a very open personality and honesty that makes The Gospel Youth all the more appealing.
Next up are WSTR for their first tour since the release of debut record ‘Red, Green or Inbetween’ on No Sleep Records. It’s obvious from social media conversation and the amount of merchandise draped across people that WSTR have been a huge draw for people coming to the show this evening. And that is entirely obvious by the reception received once the band takes to the stage. Despite missing the show the previous evening due to illness, vocalist Sammy Clifford does well to hold his own on the majority of tracks whilst lending the mic to various members of Trash Boat on ‘Footprints’ and their now highly anticipated cover of Limp Bizkit’s ‘Break Stuff’.
The new songs from the latest record are received as openly from the crowd as track from the debut EP which is a credit to WSTR’s song writing skills. The band have received criticism for being very similar to another popular UK pop punk group however it’s simply a case of one coming before the other in my opinion and nothing to do with talent.
Upon Seaway taking to the stage it’s obvious that a number of the crowd have left following WSTR’s set, which is both a credit to WSTR as a support band however disappointing before a headline set. Although some would perhaps say that Seaway are a paint by numbers sort of pop punk band, there’s nothing about them that’s not entertaining or welcomed.
A great set list drawn from the band’s career allows the audience to finger point, bounce, sing along and have moments of reflection. The perfect mix effectively. Tracks such as Slam, Airhead and Best Mistake sound great in a live environment and the band are full of energy which is surprising considering the band are coming to the end of an extensive UK run.
Being beckoned back on stage to perform ‘Sabrina the Teenage Bitch’ is perhaps predictable and expected however it’s a welcome addition.
Reviewer: Dan Earl
Photographer: Neale Hayes