Last night, I headed to one of my favourite ‘bigger’ Glasgow venues to catch what can only be described as one of the best pop-punk line-ups we’ve seen in a while. A pre-show issue with traffic and parking meant I missed the opener, Northbound. However a friend of mine was kind enough to provide a brief recap of the set…having never heard their music before I am told it was “emo without the clout”. Now I love a bit of emo, but it sounds like Northbound have some work to do to bring their personality to their set and get the crowd warmed up in the way you would expect.
Main support came in the form of our very own As It Is, easily a contender for many pop-punker’s artist of 2017 after the release of their sophomore album, okay. back in January. With the title track as their opener, the crowd were very quickly whipped up into an excitement which saw them bouncing and singing along to every word. Much of this excitement was orchestrated by frontman, Patty Walters who (being quite difficult to photograph) was giving us all sorts of jumps/spins, mic throws and generally interacting as much as possible, through fan favourites like ‘Cheap Shots And Setbacks’ and ‘Speak Soft’. I found myself wondering how he had the energy to keep this up through the whole set, but somehow he did! Perhaps the small 1 song acoustic break helped a little? For ‘Still Remembering’ our attention was drawn solely to Patty and his guitar. The stripped back and somewhat mellow track gave us a good listen to his vocals, which sounded like a wee bit of heaven.
Latest single, ‘Hey Rachel’ got a fantastic reaction before they finished up with ‘Dial Tones’, another fav from the first album. Having seen As It Is last year supporting Lower Than Atlantis, it’s clear to see how much they have improved since then both sonically and in their overall performance…it won’t be long until we see As It Is headlining venues this size across the country.
Then it was time for our deserving headliners, State Champs. This band have been on our radars a lot since the release of their last album, Around The World And Back in 2015. A co-headline run alongside Neck Deep last year will no doubt have earned them a bunch of new fans, so I was really happy to see the ABC as full as it was. Shortly before their walk on stage, the usual Scottish gig war-cry of “Here we, here we…” filled the room, so when the guys launched into ‘Losing Myself’, many in attendance lost their shit and the crowdsurfing ensued.
Vocalist and frontman, Derek DiScanio matches the crowd by bringing bags of energy throughout his performance, and he’s not the only one. The rest of the band are moving around, jumping, spinning and bringing their A-Game. Derek thanks everyone more than a couple of times for coming to watch them, especially on a Tuesday night. A shoutout is given to the State Champs first timers and then a nod given to those who have followed them from the beginning, happens amongst some old favourites like ‘Remedy’ and ‘Simple Existence’. A couple of acoustic tracks thrown in the mix give everyone a bit of a breather, and an opportunity to re-focus through ‘If I’m Lucky’, which starts of acoustically and builds up to a full band effort. A highlight for me was hearing ‘All Or Nothing’, mostly because it’s one of my most-liked tracks from ATWAB – a slower pace as far as the rest of their music goes, but with no less of a hook and certainly no less of the emotion and angst so popular in this genre.
After leaving the stage for their ‘last song’, there are chants of “One more tune”, “Here we, here we…” and “Yer Da Sells Avon” (a new one, courtesy of the people of Glasgow). Upon their return, the band express their gratitude and although they admit they can’t quite make out the last one, which is probably just as well, they ask us if we realise that we are one of the most badass cities to play in. Thanks lads! Those screaming for one more would’ve been beside themselves to learn we were getting two more, ‘Elevated’ and ‘Secrets’ – what a way to round off the night. With a massive live show and new album on the agenda, I hope to see State Champs around to hold their place as a pop-punk heavyweight for many more years to come.
All photos by Lara Fullerton Photography.