Some of the best times I’ve had have involved New Found Glory, whether it’s their music soundtracking my teens and early 20’s, or some of the best gig memories I have. They’ve been a constant in my life for the best part of their 20 year lifespan.
I’m a fan, no doubt about it. That’s not to say I hold them in such high-esteem as to not see their flaws. Their album collection is pretty significant, however in the days post-Not Without a Fight, I’m struggling to maintain interest in their new music. Having said that, their latest album “Makes me Sick” is a step back into the right direction, and no matter what, this band have earned my respect and loyalty enough to always give them the benefit of the doubt.
But this isn’t about their albums, this is about celebrating the bands’ 20 year anniversary and hearing two of my favourite NFG albums played in full.
The set list
The beauty of this tour is that they’re performing two full albums each night, and the Leeds date that we attended was playing “Sticks and Stones” and “Catalyst”, two of the most successful, and frankly two of the best albums New Found Glory have created.
Playing these two in full, meant I knew practically every word to every song, even though I’ve not listened to them for a while.
So, a band that have performed some of my favourite, most memorable gigs, with a setlist of some of my favourite songs…….basically a recipe for the perfect show.
The support act “Roam” were fine, a little generic, and I had the hardest time understanding a word they were singing.
Guitar work was pretty solid, and they cam across as a British Four Year Strong-type act. This singer was a little cocky for my liking, and his lack of personality didn’t endear him to the crowd particularly.
Having said that, there was no doubt in his vocal ability, or that of the singer-guitarist who seemed to be working the hardest.
They weren’t particularly memorable, but I put that down, more to my age and apparent disdain for any new music in the same vein as the genres I grew up loving. I’m an arse, it’s not going to change.
The band were tight, and they put on a show for those that wanted to see them. Keep it up, I guess?!
Let’s be fair, playing two full albums is no mean feat. Particularly when both of these albums were written with an additional guitarist (the kicked-out Steve Klein). This meant the Chad was playing lead and rhythm on all of the songs, and frankly doing a damn good job. Sure, the added texture of another guitarist would help, but I don’t feel it was lacking in any way.
Imagine having to remember two guitar parts for every song! It worked, the energy was there, and the songs had all their riffs in the right places. No complaints here.
The energy in general from these guys made their set look effortless. Clearly (I hate to use this word) “veterans” at this stage, nothing phased them, but they weren’t just going through the motions, they were there and in it at all times.
Watching the criminally underrated Cyrus hammer out all 27 songs on the drums with precision and power that most bands would kill for, really made you realise how solid he’s been in the band, album after album. He killed it, as usual, and made it look effortless yet again.
“Energy” is basically the only way to describe Jordan Pundik’s performance. Love it or hate it, his voice was spot on, and never wavered, even with the jumping and running and general bouncing around. It was like listening to the studio versions of the vocal tracks, seriously. How on earth is that possible? Of course, plenty of opportunities for the crowd to join in on the mic, were there, and join in we did!
Last but not least was the solid performance from bassist Ian Grushka. Everything just came across so effortlessly, and the level of comfort being up there was something only true veterans can hope to attain. Honestly, as a bassist, I always pay more attention to other bass players when playing the songs that I know are a little trickier, and he made everything look like a walk in the park. Even at the pace, and with all the bouncing around.
Most importantly, he even gave us the classic “topless Ian” that fans have grown used to over the years, until his recent (incredible) weight-loss, and apparent shyness at doing it any further. We got to see the “Lazybones” tattoo that you expect to see at an NFG show.
Ok, this isn’t coming across so much as a review, and more like some kind of love letter to some of my teenage heroes……..Fact is, they were solid, effortless, played two whole albums of my favourite songs from back in the day, and it was a great time.
If it was a bad show, I would say so. However, I realise my gushing comes across as a little over the top. I don’t care. It’s all true!
Long live New Found Glory. I’ll always support them, and I’ll try to attend their shows, for as long as they want to put them on.