New Found Glory / Kids In Glass Houses - Club Academy Manchester - 23.8.09

Well this was an exciting prospect: two of the biggest pop-punk bands from each of their respective countries tearing it up in a club venue boasting a stage much smaller than either band would usually accommodate, giving fans something a little bit special in the run-up to hitting the main stage at the Reading and Leeds Festivals. There is no doubt why tickets for this one were snapped up in a matter of minutes.

Unfortunately, Kids In Glass Houses didn’t really shine tonight. Usually one of the most fun live bands in the UK, the Welsh quintet never seemed to get into their stride this evening. Singles ‘Easy Tiger’ and ‘Me Me Me’ certainly got the crowd singing along, but some occasionally lacklustre vocals dampened the mood somewhat. New song ‘Sunshine’ seems to be keeping up the winning songwriting formula, and bearing in mind the band have been holed away for most of the year writing their new record, when they get back on the live circuit properly I have no doubt they will return to form. Tonight though; disappointing.

Luckily, New Found Glory save the day. Bouncing onstage straight into new album cut ‘Don’t Let Her Pull You Down’, the crowd are in the palm of Jordan Pundik’s hand from the get-go. Tonight’s show is a no barriers, up close and personal affair, and there are crowd invasions and stagedives from the first to the last note. Launching straight into ‘Understatement’, Pundik (who seems to resemble Quentin Tarantino more closely with every passing year) eggs the crowd on, hugs fans and passes the mic to let the invaders sing along.

There is absolutely no doubt that this show is for the fans: from Chad Gilbert’s dedication of ‘Familiar Landscapes’ (a song the band have never played live before!) to a friend he made in Manchester on a tour years ago to the rare airing of b-side ‘Situations’, the band are mixing it up just enough from their considerable back catalogue to keep every fan in the room happy, if not euphoric.

I scarcely encounter anyone with a bad word to say about New Found Glory: despite being one of the biggest bands pop-punk bands in the world, rarely, if ever, are claims of ‘selling out’ levelled at them, as they always seem to be doing things for the right reasons. Tonight’s show is a perfect example; this band would normally headline Academy 1 but they opted to something on a much smaller scale to give their devotees something special. As the last notes of ‘Hit And Miss’ bring tonight’s mammoth 22-song set to a close, the words on everyone’s lips are the same: the kings of pop-punk are still the kings.

Words: Matt Sayward
Photos: Mark Forrer

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