At the Mr. Smalls Theater in Millvale, PA on September 27, 2018, the band Stand Atlantic took the stage to get the crowd pumping and engaged, and they did just that. As they performed, it was apparent that they had a high level of energy from the very first second they stepped onto the stage. This was noticeable to the audience, for they were pulling for the audience to join in with them as well as prompting the audience to just dance along and experience their music. Moving to their musical content, it can be said that this band has a very strong pop punk sound, which is supported by instrumentals that scream just that. Their instrumental moments shifted back and forth to give the audience a unique sound as they drive with hard articulations as well as strategic silence to separate the differing musical phrases. This helped supply the audience with a variety of musical timbres and rhythms that they can attach themselves to. Overall, the band presented a strong sense of contrast when looking at their set as a whole. This is strong for the band because it gives the audience always something new, which sets this artist up to be a strong concert opener. Also, the band brought out a special guest to sing with them, the girl singer of Creeper, which brought the heat even more.
Just as the previous band, when WSTR hit the stage, they weren’t going to accept anything less than high energy. When the band hit the ground running with their music, their unique aesthetic shined. One could tell that every band member was living through their musical selections through the different dance moves and bodily movements that they were using throughout their entire set. As they moved through their set, the audience heard a variety of selections from older tunes to newer ones. This helped to get the crowd more involved with the set as well as give the audience the opportunity to see the band in its full spectrum, even though they were an opening act. The music that they presented to the audience held a very strong pop punk sound; however, the overall sound of their music enforced an ornate tone, which would help this band stick in the audience’s minds. Their music drove off the instrumental part that was voiced throughout every track. These instrumental lines were major, wall to wall, examples of melodies that led to instrumental breakdowns and guitar solos, and what is more pop punk and punk rock than that? Overall, this band also made a great addition to the tour lineup, for it gave the audience another band with a similar sound foundation, who can twist that slightly to give the audience something completely new. Additionally, it is pretty cool to mention that this is the first time both WSTR and Stand Atlantic toured in the United States, so it was cool to see how these bands portray their music in a live event.
Next up, a band that everyone was waiting for: Trophy Eyes. Trophy Eyes started their set with music that comes from their newest album: “The American Dream”, and the audience soon experienced that the majority of the music content on their agenda for the evening was going to come from that album. Since the band remained primarily in the realm of their newer music, it can be said that the overall vibe of their set grooved in a relaxed manner. This was formed by the simple rhythmic and melodic nature of the band’s newer selections. The instrumentals that were primarily present were those that occurred to support the melodic contour of the vocalist, instead of giving the audience hard-hitting instrumentals from top to bottom. The band did include two older selections; however, the older tunes they decided to include in this line-up also fell on the more relaxed spectrum, which helped to retain that aesthetic while giving the audience some of their favorites. As the band moved through their set, one could see each band member vibing with their own music, for they were experiencing their music just as we were. The biggest example of this was how the lead singer would dance along with the instrumental lines that had their own moments to shine. A technique that was interesting for this performance was the utilization of two microphones (two microphones for the lead vocalist then others for the other members who sing). For the more softer parts, when the vocalist would sing in his lower register, the vocalist would use a microphone that remained dormant on its stand, which would make the audience focus in on him at that moment. For the more aggressive vocals, the singer had a small microphone that allowed him to stress his words a tad more as he began to utilize another part of his singing voice. Overall, Trophy Eyes was a strong pre-headliner opener for this concert; however, the energy of the crowd did seem to plateau since the band’s newer selections place people in a state of ease.
The band that everyone in attendance came to see: the one, the only Neck Deep. Right off the bat, this band came to play. They hit the stage running with high energy from the very first down beat, and they just went with it from there. The band notified the audience that they were all going to go on an emotional roller coaster throughout this concert just as all of their albums do, which gave the audience the opportunity to venture back to some of their older selections. With that being said, as Neck Deep took their audience on a roller coaster of emotions through some oldies, newbies, and everything in between, it was heard that their instrumentation remained rather constant over the years. The primary motive that was heard was that the vocalist would have the limelight; however, the instrumentalists would still be able to play with a heavy articulation, so that the audience would always be receiving larger than life instrumentals as well as overly memorable and relatable melodies. As the band presented their music to the audience, it was no surprise that they held a strong stage presence throughout. Their stage presence was more than inviting, for it held true to the selections that they were presenting to the audience, and they were able to add in some dance moves here and there to help liven the whole experience. As the band did so, it was easy to see the passion that each member of the band had for every section that was being played, which made the experience all the more intimate. Additionally, the band gave the audience a story as they took them on this emotional roller coaster. This was done either through personal stories told by the lead vocalist as well as small theatrical interludes that connected to the song that was next in line. Regardless, the progression of the band’s set was simply flawless, for it broke the audience down in order to build them back up even stronger. Another small thing to add about this performance is that at the very end of the set, right before the encore, the band went through a whole list of “Thank You’s”. Yes, some bands have done this in the past, but they normally only present a small list of people. Neck Deep, on the other hand, thanked just about every human you could think of, which was really special to experience, for it was really cool to watch a band genuinely care about every aspect that goes into them playing a show for a sold out show.
Overall, I would give this concert a 5 out of 5 stars. I landed on this score for a variety of reasons. The first major reason that I landed on this score is because Neck Deep came out and crushed every single second when they were on that stage. This was the first time I was able to see a headlining performance by the band, and I would relive that night over and over again. The other major reason as to why I landed on this score is because the openers for this tour were perfection when talking about music similarities and blend. Furthermore, if you have the opportunity, go to this tour, but if that isn’t in the picture, go see any of these bands live when you have the chance!