New Found Glory promised a party, and that’s exactly what they delivered.
The Floridian punk rockers returned to Manchester last Friday, to celebrate ’20 years of pop punk’, playing their albums Catalyst and Stick and Stones in their entirety.
Fresh from an Australian tour, a US tour and two festival appearances, New Found Glory prove that a hectic touring schedule does not dampen the energy of this notoriously dynamic quartet. Formed in 1997, Pudnik, Gilbert, Grushka and Bolooki are no strangers to the stage, and indeed to the Academy, highlighted by Pudnik’s Instagram post, boasting of their two entries into the Academy’s ‘Hall of Fame’.
The set began with an explosive performance of the fast-paced Understatement. Pudnik, Gilbert and Grushka rushed about the stage, flinging limbs and instruments to the beat, and encouraging the crowd to do the same. The unwavering energy continued into All Downhill from Here and Never Give Up.
The crowd were relentless in their passionate support, many of them sporting tour merchandise from tours in the early 2000’s, whilst screaming the lyrics back to the band. Pudnik offered the mic to the 2,600 fans, but they needed no invitation, often drowning out his vocals with their fanatical renditions of each of the 27 tracks in the set.
Despite the long set list, the band members took the opportunity to address the crowd on multiple occasions. Gilbert lead the way by striking up a conversation around advances in technology, commenting on how kids can listen to music for free nowadays.
He wrapped up by telling the ‘younger fans’ to give the ‘older fans’ ‘ten quid’ on the way out, as recompense for older fans buying CD’s and cassette tapes to support New Found Glory in their early days. I say ‘conversation’ because the familiarity with which each band member spoke brings to mind a bunch of old friends catching up.
Apart from the physical separation of stage and crowd, there was no set boundary between performer and audience; the whole event appeared to be one big celebratory party – a sentiment that was raised several times by the band themselves.
The only deviation from the two aforementioned albums was the track Happy Being Miserable, from their ninth studio album Makes Me Sick. The introduction of this track was met with the same enthusiastic support as all other tracks in the set, clearly demonstrating that New Found Glory’s fan base remain fiercely loyal.
The set closed with the infamous My Friends Over You; a track that has been a consistent entry in many of my car-journey playlists.
New Found Glory are now continuing their UK tour, with three sold-out shows in London, before embarking on a tour of their home country. If Manchester’s show was the standard that all show dates can expect, New Found Glory can rest assured that they will be celebrating many more milestone years in the future.