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Show Review: Neck Deep’s North American tour roars into Arizona for supercharged set

They might identify as generic pop punk but Neck Deep’s high energy headlining tour was anything but boring. The British group jumped across the pond once again for a nearly sold out appearance at Tempe’s Marquee Theatre this week. A sweaty, exuberant crowd greeted the band by giving them a night to remember.

Southern California hardcore group Drain provided direct support for the bill and entered the room with the force of a tornado. The band had the audience jumping, moshing and crowd surfing before the first song had even kicked in and- as the screens on each side of the stage warned- the band would not be held responsible for the shenanigans about to ensue.

Frontman Sammy Ciaramitaro spent more time on the barricade and in the crowd than on the stage, giving endless high fives, pulling fans over the barricade and tossing the mic into the roiling pit to see which fans could scream their lyrics the loudest. Drain may seem like a gimmick on the surface, but their songs seemed to really resonate with the fans who did everything they could to make it to the stage for a chance to yell them directly in the band’s face. The headliner hadn’t entered the building before Drain wore everyone out with their antics and fans came flying towards the stage with massive grins on their faces the entire time.

Neck Deep released their latest album less than a month ago, but the songs were already imprinted in the minds and hearts of the diehard fans in the venue on Wednesday night. Starting strong with “Dumbstruck Dumbf**k”, the crowd mustered the rest of their energy to give it all to the band. 

Frontman Ben Barlow spoke passionately about the need for people to come together in the face of adversity and this was the perfect segue into “We Need More Bricks” and “Go Outside!”. The band has always been steadfast in their advocacy for mental health awareness and they’ve poured that into their music- this was well-represented when they launched into “Sick Joke”.

After a full set, the band came back to give their fans even more, playing a long encore that concluded with “In Bloom”. Keeping pop punk alive in a scene where negative connotations tend to run rampant is no easy task, but Neck Deep continue to carve a very important and productive space in the music world. Fans snaked around the building to buy their shirts and walked out of the venue proudly sporting a band whose music has clearly made a significant and positive impact.

Check out all the photos!

Story and photos by Olivia Khiel

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