The mighty New Found Glory played to a sold out
venue, supported by a hat-trick of high calibre
American acts, all with their own established
fanbases. After this evening, I am officially
an NFG convert.
When I arrive, the venue is packed to the rafters.
I’ve never seen the Birmingham Academy as
full as this, so I have a good feeling about the
evening ahead. I decide against checking my coat
in to the cloakroom when I see the queue extending
so far into the crowd that I can’t see the
end. Instead, I fight my way through the surprisingly
mixed crowd to my position in the photographers’
Unfortunately, I’ve missed the first support,
Crime in Stereo, and the second support, Four
Year Strong, are already sound checking. From
Massachusetts, Four Year Strong play full force
hardcore rock. Heavy on guitars, drums, vocals,
and keyboards, the crowd love them. Crowd surfers
are a rare occurrence so early on in a gig, but
Four Year Strong get their fair share. The lead
vocalist and guitarist plants his left foot almost
permanently on the front amp. Perhaps he thinks
it’s a ‘rockstar’ pose, but
it makes his performance a little stationary and
wooden. They play a fairly short but tight set,
leaving the crowd wanting more.
Set Your Goals, from California, are next up,
and it’s obvious that they also have a strong
fan base here tonight. The two energetic vocalists
immediately start bouncing around the stage, stirring
up plenty of vigour in the crowd. They provide
music in the same vein as the main act - bouncy,
tuneful, punk. They are the perfect support to
build the anticipation for New Found Glory.
As we wait for NFG, the atmosphere is hot, sweaty,
and electric. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve
never got round to listening to them before, but
after this performance, I’m their latest
fan. The band enters onto the stage, surrounded
by huge NFG flags and banners, dead on 9pm.
In my experience, being unfamiliar with a band’s
work usually means I enjoy the gig a little less,
but NFG proved to be the exception to this rule.
Every single song had the room bouncing with glee,
and that kind of excitement is infectious. Incredibly,
you can hear the crowd’s singing over the
speaker system during their better known songs,
such as ‘Dressed to Kill’ and ‘Hit
or Miss’. You can’t help feeling sorry
for the small acts struggling to hear themselves
playing next door in the Bar Academy.
The vocalist, Jordan Pundik (who, I predict,
will look like Morrissey in a few years’
time), is a real crowd-pleaser. He jumps into
the pit to interact with the crowd and let some
of them sing into his microphone. And the other
members don’t let the side down either -
they leap across the stage, playing their instruments
like this is the last night of the tour. When
a band loves what they do this much, it can’t
help but make everyone else smile with them.
To finish, they play some of their slower numbers,
eliciting plenty of arm swaying in the crowd.
As they leave, we all want more, but they’ve
been more than generous enough to the greedy audience.
As the enormous crowd pours out onto the street,
I’m glad I don’t have to queue to
get my coat out of the cloakroom…
Four Year Strong 4/5
Set Your Goals 4/5
New Found Glory 5/5
Review and photos By Helen Williams