Welsh pop-punk group Neck Deep returned to NYC on Friday night, this time as a headline act, to perform at the sold-out Playstation Theater in the heart of the “Crossroads of the World”, Times Square as the band continues its The Peace and the Panic Tour. I’ve wanted to see Neck Deep for a while; they’ve opened or supported headline acts around town for a while but I hadn’t been able to catch them for various reasons, so with them coming back this way for their own tour it seemed like the perfect time. As a pop-punk band, they fall into that genre where the age range of fans typically falls short of the drinking age as many of their fans are teenage girls a-la Blink 182 and We The Kings, so at least it was a rather tame show by comparison to your average full-on punk show like Anti Flag or Rancid, but I always feel weird being a dude in my early 30’s at a show attended mostly by teenage girls.
That makes for something of a catch-22. Show up, shoot my three and leave so I can say I did my job, or stick around and be the creepy old guy in the corner with a whiskey? Thankfully, when a band is putting on as good a show as Neck Deep, it’s easy to justify looking like the creepy old guy. The band’s 17-song setlist was a mixture of favorites from their two prior albums – Wishful Thinking and Life’s Not Out to Get You – along with 7-ish numbers off the tour’s namesake album, 2017’s The Peace and The Panic. One of the more interesting and unique items on the menu came when the man known as Saxl Rose joined Neck Deep for In Bloom and again during the encore for Can’t Kick Up the Roots.
More importantly, though, is that the fun never ends with Neck Deep. There’s always a reason to jump, scream, sing or crowdsurf – which was a bit surprising given the young crowd. Once I got kicked in the head, I knew they were serious – from Happy Judgement Day, Lime St, Rock Bottom, December (Again) all the way through the night’s end with Where Do We Go When We Go, there was no shortage of pandemonium in the GA section of Playstation Theater. The only I didn’t see was a mosh pit, but then again I ran for the hills after the third song and positioned myself in the safety of the GA seating section at the back of the house.
Finally getting to see Neck Deep turned out great. Missing them as openers or support was always a disappointment, but after seeing them on a headline tour, anything else would have been equally disappointing because their set wouldn’t have been more than 7 or so songs. Neck Deep is the kind of band you need to see as a headliner if you’re going to see them at all, because even after 17 songs, you’re still left wanting more. I can’t imagine the riot an early exit would start.