Neck Deep | Slay, Glasgow | 16.10.2023 | Live Review
From dark and damp clubs to the main stages at festivals and arenas, Neck Deep have done it all. This time they take things back to where it all began, in the size of rooms they first started playing shows in back in 2012. Celebrating 10 years of Rain In July, Wrexham’s pop punk heroes take to the stage in Glasgow’s 300 cap venue Slay in what was deemed as “total limbs” from vocalist Ben Barlow.
With no support acts it was a whole night of Neck Deep – being a huge advocate for being warmed up by a support, this had a different but special feel to it. A packed, small and sweaty room with no barrier and 100% Neck Deep – what’s not to love?
As the venue quickly fills, the pre-show tunes are always key before a show – pop punk & metal-core classics ripple around the club warming up the vocals of what sounded like the full room. The buzz was high as the sound tech gives the solid thumbs up. As the lights dimmer, the sound of cheers and screams are deafening as the band one by one jump on to the stage to a very eager Scottish crowd.
With no messing around it was straight to business with part one of the back to back EP celebration.”Kick It” straight into “Silver Linings” before sending the crowd into even more of a frenzy with “What Did You Expect”. A real fast start and not single body standing still in the crowd, the signs already there that this will be a sweaty one.
Three songs in and i’ve already lost count of the amount of crowd surfers that have landed on the stage – an even mixture of graceful surfers to some unfortunate landings. I can only send a prayer to those some what unfortunate to be right at the front of stage because it was relentless – but that’s pop punk at it’s finest and we love it.
The EP run continues as the first part comes to a wild conclusion before setting their sights on “A History of Bad Decisions”. Less songs but no reduction in the chaos that stood before the band and on most occasions, stood on stage with them. As Ben tries to bring a little bit peace to the crowd by bringing out the acoustic for “Head to The Ground”, the movement had at least halted for now but the volume of the crowd was at an all time high, this continues with “A Part of Me” as we come to the end of the 10 year celebration. At least 5 minutes pass as the band leave to catch a breather before, “You didn’t think that was really it did you?” Asks Ben as the band stroll back on to the stage ready for more chaos. The intro to “Motion Sickness” kicks in and the crowd surfers flock back towards the stage in numbers again – this continues as they drop into “Gold Steps”, possibly the largest number of the night.
The limbs do not stop, a nice pre song speech dedicated to a select number of people sparks the start of “STFU!” A song that has a sound similar their original roots and a subject matter fitting to modern times both on and off social media. “Now, we all know Tom Delonge was right, right?” Neck Deep continue what Tom started with one of their latest singles in Take Me With You. A plea for whatever is out there to take Ben from this hell on earth.
As we come to the end of the set, there are two notable songs yet to come – it may only be Halloween, but there’s always time to sing about a long lonely December. A song that means so much in many different ways, it’s always a pleasure to hear this live wether it’s in the scorching sun during a July festival or a sweat box club in the middle of October – it hits hard and will forever be a special song for many people.
With one more wipe of the sweat away from my face, it was time for one last sing-along of the night. The crowd’s volume was on a sensational level all night and as “In Bloom” rippled around the room it was hard to distinguish the band from the sound of the voices singing along. Before this however Ben took the time to thank all staff and crew involved in such a special night, it’s a simple thing but one that goes a very long way and is great to see bands take that time to call out each and every member of staff who makes nights like this happen. The final thanks came to us the crowd for not only tonight, but for sticking with the band for a decade – it rounded off a special night.
One last round of top of the lungs see’s out one of the best Neck Deep gigs I’ve had the pleasure to witness. It’s not often a closing song brings tears but in this case there were a few, it was a full circle moment. It’s really nights like this that make you even more grateful to have these type venues in place to not only celebrate established bands, but to also help support the future of music who may go on to become the next big thing.
Thank you Neck Deep.
Words by Craig McInnes
Photos by Rachael Sweeney at Geez A Wee Smile