LIVE: New Found Glory – Limelight, Belfast
Their long awaited arrival in Belfast brought nostalgia to many endearing and enduring followers that had waited for 17 years for this gig and attracted fans that spanned throughout the age spectrum.
Opening the night was Dublin quartet Only Rivals, there has been an ever increasing buzz surrounding this band since catching everyone’s attention whilst supporting All Time Low and Tonight Alive. Having recently finished their debut album they have been rapidly building momentum along with a strong fan base throughout the UK and Ireland. Lead singer Stephen’s onstage cheeky charm helps warm the initially shy crowd urging them to come closer and become involved. As the crowd begins to engage the band evidently become more relaxed and the second half of their set definitely proves stronger. Finishing off the set with the song ‘Borders’ from their EP the enthralling chorus and catchy lyrics has the crowds full attention and is definitely there best song of the night.
Up next is the female fronted punk band from New York, Candy Hearts. Having enlisted New Found Glory’s Chad Gilbert’s to produce their latest album they have become a firm favorite on the pop-punk scene. True to their name, Candy Heart’s music is somewhat sweet with feel-good melodies and catchy lyrics which make for the perfect pop-rock sound. Lead singer Mariel Loveland’s quirky vocal style and loveable stage presence help keep the audience hooked for there performance. There songs which lyrically have been able to encapsulate all those awkward teenage experiences seem to resonate with a lot of the audience members as you see them nod their heads in agreement. The bands hit ‘I Miss You’ provided the highlight of their set with the foot stomping intro and Loveland’s sugary sweet vocals.
Opening their set to a poignant clip of Judy Garland singing ‘Glory, Glory, Hallelujah‘ New Found Glory emerged on stage with the same boundless energy as a young fresh faced pop-punk band. After the departure of lead guitarist and lyricist Steve Klein there has been much speculation of whether they would be able to flourish as a four piece. With much to prove they begin with their song ‘Selfless‘ the opening track and lead single from their new album ‘Resurrection‘ with lyrics proclaiming “if you haven’t made enemies, then you’ve never stood for anything.” The song is very much reminiscent of older New Found Glory and there is an immediate spark in their performance. The crowd is rapidly responsive and is thrilled by the bands passion and conviction in their performance.
The title of their new album ‘Resurrection’ is blatantly symbolic of the what they have been through this year and there attempt to revitalise there previous form. With an extensive back catalogue of songs the audience was treated to a nostalgia filled trip down memory lane as the band stormed through classics such as ‘My Friend is Over You’ and ‘The Story So Far’. With guitarist Chad Gilberts effortlessly catchy riffs and singer Jordan Pundinks distinctive and unique vocals it’s easy to appreciate why NFG have managed to survive while other Pop punk bands have inevitably disappeared.
Interacting with the crowd they inquired “how many people here have seen us before and how many people are new fans?” With the audience clearly mixed between new and old singer Pundik rejoiced that after 17 years the band were still able to attract new admirers to their shows. Serenading the audience with their famous cover ‘Kiss Me’ the crowd are delighted and reiterate every word back to the band. What is very clear from their performance is that every member of New Found Glory still has a real zeal to play and this enthusiasm is very much translated onto to audience who are as equally enthusiastic.
There encore which provided the audience with a further four hits was a real treat considering the already lengthy set the band had played but they showed no sign of fading. Finishing their set off with ‘All Downhill from Here’ from their album ‘Catalyst’ provided the perfect end to an already remarkable performance. The audience who had been thrilled from beginning to end could still be heard chanting for more as NFG left the stage for the final time. For the band’s first ever performance in Belfast it was a true success with what I can imagine to be many more gigs to follow. Aine Cronin McCartney, GiggingNI.com