When this tour poster came out and all supports had been announced there was a clear pop-punk vibe. The band that felt it didn't fit more than most was Moose Blood. The Emo Rockers felt somewhat out of place amongst the breakdowns, moshing and american accented eccentric vocals.
Its great to see a pretty rammed arena even at this early stage in the night. Moose Blood charm with their honest melancholic anthems that hit with the passion of Gaslight Anthem and the angst of My Chem back in' day.
With a short set the band get to show off their most primed trophy case of music with songs like Gum and Swim Down having the amassing crowd singing along with every word.
Final song Knuckles has the crowd in the palm of MB's hands and rounds off an impressive set. Moose Blood eased onto this massive stage in front of a huge crowd and it didn't feel like they were dwarfed by it at all.
Neck Deep's 2015 album 'Life's Not Out To Get You' blew up launching them to new heights as a band. It's almost no surprise they are on this tour after said album especially because Jeremy McKinnon had a big part in the album's production.
Having seen these guys before it's great to see they are still coming out like 5 Duracell Bunnies especially after some significant time off. Neck Deep have a tendency to drop the ball on some of their harmonies and it shows in the likes of December. They pull it off though and their oft offkey vocals play strongly to their advantage for their fanbase. But hey let's face it, their sound is pretty polarising. Playing Rock Bottom for the first time in the UK it sounds great live. The Motorpoint Arena's sound system has a habit of making any drummer's snare hit your heart so hard you think it could be the end of you. It's punchy as hell but you know what it works in Neck Deep's favour, bringing some real depth to their sound.
Part Of Me picks at the same heart strings it always has whilst Kali Ma and Gold Steps get the crowd suitably warmed up for the inevitable pop-punk overload that is approaching in the form of New Found Glory. Rounding off with Can't Kick Up The Roots the arena blows up for one of the catchiest bangers of 2015. Great
Neck Deep confirm on stage that they are off to America to record a new album soon and that will surely be exciting news for many a fan! All in all a great set albeit a little rusty. Neck Deep may be taking most of the year off to record new music but that will only mean that 2018 will be a big year for them!
It's a little weird seeing New Found Glory as main support on an A Day To Remember gig. Maybe it shows that they have become a little stagnant in releasing breakthrough material yet are keeping the dream well and truly alive. Maybe we are at that point in history where "those big bands" are starting to step aside to make a bit of room for the bands of our generation. It's probably a bit of both but it leads them to where they stand on this stage tonight.
The banner that sits as their backdrop reads "20 Years Of Pop Punk". That is a hefty number of years! If nothing else tonight shows that there will always be a place for the likes of New Found Glory. The nostalgia of the music will keep them alive until they are ready to give it up. NFG are by no means strangers to a crowd this size either and their years of experience shine through. The likes of Vicious Love, Hit Or Miss and Hold My Hand prove as crowd pleasers but don't provoke the biggest of crowd reactions. New song Happy Being Miserable, from the new record coming out this year, shows 100% that NFG aren't ready to slow down yet! It isn't a breakthrough but it's definitely a notch in the bands longevity. Kiss Me and My Friends Over You will forever be absolute bangers. Bands always end up resenting their biggest music, especially when one is a cover, but it is great to hear them play the songs with such enthusiasm and it is at this point where the crowd and band feel together in their energy.
The last time the band played Cardiff was in 2005 opening for Green Day and if you put that into perspective that is quite an achievement. Will New Found Glory ever be as big as they were in the early 2000's or maybe when they were supporting Green Day in 2005? No. Do they need to be? No. NFG have proven themselves by touring there asses off for as long they have been a band. They do not need to prove themselves anymore. Not the best of party starters for ADTR but here's to plenty of nostalgic moments to be had yet!
Needing no introduction is A Day To Remember. Opening with Mr Highways Thinking Of The End, the echoes of the words "Disrespect Your Surroundings" sends the arena into an absolute meltdown. Following this up with Paranoia, 2nd Sucks and Right Back At It Again the band bring a relentless onslaught of hard-hitters and scream-alongs. They are a little out of time on parts of the chorus of I'm Made Of Wax Larry, What Are You Made Of? but they make up for it on that breakdown. It's Complicated follows with it's explosive arm-waving chorus whilst ADTR tees are fired into the crowd. Also was that the actual Stone Cold Steve Austin on stage firing t-shirts at fans?
"Today actually marks the 10 year anniversary of our record For Those Who Have Heart" shouts McKinnon as the band break into album opener Fast Forward To 2012. A short but solid number for the mosh-pitters and head-bangers. We Got This from latest album 'Bad Vibrations' follows with an array of beach balls and pool inflatables thrown into the crowd. Its not conventional but it suits and in typical ADTR fashion the crowd is more than happy to oblige in the party antics. Title track Bad Vibrations sounds just as brutal live as it does opening the new album. It leads perfectly into My Life For Hire that hits as hard as ever when "This Is A Battleground" begins the heavy breakdown and multiple circle pits simultaneously.
New jam Exposed hits so hard it seems to send this Cardiff crowd into a complete frenzy, forcing mosh pits and circle pits galore. Have Faith In Me spurs McKinnon to invite all the ladies in the house to find some shoulders and get on them to sing their lungs out. Justified and Homesick keep the momemtum before Naivety provokes the ADTR style crowd surf whereby McKinnon entices fans to crowd surf and then for someone else to climb on board and ride that crowd surfer like they are a surf board all for a mere high five. It definitely makes for some great viewing material! All I Want and The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle follow to round off the set before the encore.
If It Means A Lot To You opens up the encore. It's a weird one seeing McKinnon playing an acoustic guitar rather than tearing shreds out of the stage but his clean vocals are undeniably amazing and that is fully proven here. All Signs Point To Lauderdale rounds off the niceties before The Downfall Of Us All ends what has truly been an epic night in epic fashion.
Smoke, lights and a tricked out stage with flat screens that have a live feed of the band accompanied by a drum riser with old school tvs and cables. A Day To Remember have packed out Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena in style and have had every single member of the crowd singing with them for every single song. The new additions to the set ease in effortlessly and the band pound out hit after hit. It is easy to forget how many good songs this band have. ADTR have made their mark and are by no means slowing down. Hopefully the next time they are touring it will be off the back of a groundbreaking album that has propelled them further. A truly epic night.
Photo Credit: /theodoreswaddlingphotography