LIVE REVIEW: State Champs, Stand Atlantic, Seaway, Woes @ Northumbria University, Newcastle (24.10.18) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The never-ending cry of “pop punk isn’t dead” might have just been proved accurate by State Champs on Wednesday night. The east coast of America has birthed many contributions to this genre before. It makes sense then that State Champs, now nearing the end of their first decade, would have found such success.

Even nicer was the use of the platform to pave the way for fresh blood, like Edinburgh’s own pop punkers Woes, for instance. The opening band usually has a bit of a tough gig, but such energy in the face of unenthusiasm is good to see, and I hope they get the feedback they deserve at their own shows. Latest single Moneyshoe had a truly excellent bass line which really elevated their sound.

A little bit further from Edinburgh came Aussie trio Stand Atlantic. With alt. pop rock tunes aplenty, this lot looked and sounded like they’d fallen through a wormhole from 2009. Still, a sprinkling of political messages (i.e. consent is important) is always welcome in a community who all too often seem to forget it.

Seaway let the side down a little bit: pop punk can seem derivative at times, and this unfortunately was a prime example of how easy it is to slip into repetitive, samey songs. And no, not even a tambourine is enough to spice things up a bit.

Of course, by the time State Champs came onstage, the mosh pits were revved up and ready to go. Lightening is a surprisingly tuneful song for one that delves a little further into heavier rock, and frontman Derek DiScanio’s vocals were pleasantly crisp for a live performance. The song that kicked off the Living Proof album cycle, Dead and Gone, was every bit as punchy and powerful on the night as it was when it was released. Few bands end up achieving a pop punk anthem with longevity, but I think this one will become a genre staple. Old guard track Secrets closed the show with as much excitement as had run throughout the night. Its angsty thread stops State Champs from really falling into the trap of being too whiny, as can happen so easily for pop punk. But, I guess their consistent and energetic take on this music is what has made them go from strength to strength over the past eight years. Somehow, I don’t think they’ll slow down anytime soon, either.


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