State Champs @ O2 Institute, 31st October 2018

I’m all for early start times and being in bed for 10, however having doors at 5:30 for a midweek show baffles even me. And with that in mind Seaway, the main support, were taking to the stage as I arrived at the O2 Institute for the penultimate date of State Champs latest UK tour. Apologies to both Woes and Stand Atlantic that opened the show.

Seaway provide the perfect support for State Champs, a blend of pop punk with sunshine vibes, the band were clearly already familiar to the majority of the packed O2 Institute as tracks such as ‘Best Mistake’ and ‘London’ got a huge response. Having played the smallest room upstairs at the start of the year, the band seemed no stranger to stages of this size and clearly have the most fun with it. It’s a shame that the band only had half an hour, however as the spooky songs started playing out over the PA it was obvious that the evening was going to be a Halloween extravaganza.

And with that State Champs took to the stage donned in Harry Potter, Pickle Rick and skeleton costumes, with both the band and crew participating. Opening with ‘Criminal’ and ‘Frozen’ from their latest record ‘Living Proof’, the band blasted through a 20-song set barely stopping for breath throughout. There were cuts from all three of the band’s records as well as acoustic EP ‘The Acoustic Things’, which provided one of the more personal moments of the evening as vocalist Derek Discanio performed ‘If I’m Lucky’ solo, highlighting his fantastic songwriting ability and voice.

Older tracks such as ‘Elevated’ and ‘Hard to Please’ allowed for the finger pointers and crowd surfers, whilst ‘Our Time to Go’ and ‘Secrets’ allowed the singalongs and hugging your friends’ moments. And it’s perhaps this development of the band both melodically and visually over the years that is most amazing, as the fireworks erupted behind the band during various moments within the set, the scale of the show was quite astonishing.

The overwhelming feeling following the performance on Wednesday evening however, was that despite all the lights, pyrotechnics and jokes, it’s the songs that truly carry State Champs through and the standard of these songs is immense when collected together in the live environment. The band’s trajectory and future mimics All Time Low in my opinion, and there’s no reason that the band couldn’t be playing arenas on these shores in the very very near future.

Reviewer: Dan Earl

Photographer: Adriana Vasile

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