New Found Glory does something special to people. As I stood in the Trocadero surrounded by kids ranging in ages from 13-30+, I felt like I was 13 again and seeing them play “Hit or Miss” for the first time.
Much to the disappointment of the hardcore kids in the room, Shai Hulud dropped off the tour with no warning. Replacing them was Fireworks, a pop punk band from Detroit with all the same breakdowns that pop punk bands do nowadays. They had a few fans scattered throughout the sold out crowd, but nothing they did was too memorable besides being really heart-on-sleeve in-between songs. That was good to see. Any time you feel a band is doing it for the right reasons, that’s enough of a reason to check them out.
When Fireworks wrapped up, the all-star lineup began with Set Your Goals. The newest Epitaph signees are a hardcore band stuck in the body of a pop-punk band that plays hardcore…if that doesn’t make sense, just listen to them yourself. You could tell the crowd was into SYG because as soon as they came to the stage, the first “pit” of the night opened up. They ran through mostly songs from their last album, the successful Mutiny!, like “Goonies Never Say Die” and “Work In Progress.” The highlights of their set were the new songs from their Epitaph debut coming out in July…that’s a record to look forward to.
The most surprising band of the night had to be Bayside. They’ve been a band for a few years, they’ve had a video on MTV, they’re friends with seemingly every band ever and their former drummer died in a tragic van accident. To say Bayside has seen their share of the world is an understatement. On recordings, they sounded just like a mediocre poppy punk band. At the Trocadero, Bayside would have stole the show if New Found Glory wasn’t…well, if they weren’t New Found Glory.
Songs from their newest album Shudder were surprisingly good, but the set drew very heavily from 2007’s The Walking Wounded. That album’s title track had the biggest singalong of the set and it sounded great, something that most “crowd-only” parts don’t get. The most ridiculous part of Bayside’s set was Jack O’Shea, their lead guitarist who happens to be like Randy Rhodes in a pop-punk band. Dude is insane.
After a brief intermission, a familiar phrase comes over the house PA: “Let’s get ready to ruuuuuuuuuuuumbleeeeee!!!!!!!!!”
Out comes New Found Glory. Talk about a perfect setup. The band ran on stage to “Rock and Roll Pt. 2” and immediately launched into their newest single “Listen to Your Friends,” probably the best single of their careers thus far. The best part? The crowd went nuts. For a new song. Talk about verification. 10 years into their career, NFG still has it and it’s not going away anytime soon.
New songs, old songs, mid-period songs, covers…they took them all on and left no survivors in their path. From “Understatement” to the title track of their hardcore EP Tip of the Iceberg to a cover of Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” they worked the crowd into a frenzy for the whole set. All these years later they’re still one of the most honest bands in music, especially guitarist Chad Gilbert whose words inbetween songs just exude humility.
“I just wanna say thanks Philly,” said Gilbert. “This was the first show on the tour to sell out so thank you guys so much.”
Instead of continuing to try and win the fans over, Gilbert launched his band into another song with a smile on his face, just like the smiles of all the kids in the crowd.