Live review: New Found Glory at Jannus Live, St. Petersburg

click to enlarge New Found Glory - Mike Wilson
Mike Wilson
New Found Glory

Perhaps it was because it was a Monday night in the middle of midterms, or maybe it was the forecast that warned of rain. Either way, the result was a less than stellar turnout for the "Pop Punk’s Not Dead Tour" stop at Jannus Live this week. Veterans of the genre, New Found Glory, brought out the best of the new generation of hard, fast and loud pop-punkers to back them up — those boasting a serious potential for fist-pumping, arm-flailing mayhem. [Text by Valerie, photos by Mike.]

Californian five-piece This Time Next Year opened the show by ordering the crowd to "get off their feet," and set the upbeat mood for the rest of the night. The band released their second major label album, Drop Out Of Life, this past August, and their short six-song set included the album's title track as well as "Spoontonic."

The motto "defend pop punk" and a machine gun was plastered proudly on Man Overboard's bass drum, further supporting the theme of the tour. They played a mix of energetic tracks, two of them off their 2011 self-titled Rise Records debut, produced by New Found Glory’s guitarist/lyricist Steve Klein — the anthemic sing-along "Dead End Dreams" and the angst-ridden "Spunn." The band's fast-paced songs were performed seamlessly without many breaks in between and the fans seemed to thrive on the constant hard-hitting pace.

Highly buzzed-about Warped Tour vets The Wonder Years have been together since 2005, but gained popularity this past year. They played songs like "My Last Semester" and "Logan Circle" off 2010's The Upside, which revolve around tales of high school, moving on to college, and generally growing up and not being "sad anymore," a common theme of their songs.

"I feel like we're not alone," vocalist Dan "Soupy" Campbell said to the crowd, and asked "who here has been listening to New Found Glory their entire lives?" Fans erupted into cheers. "Then you understand how important it is for us to be a part of this tour. How important it is for us to be on this stage. Thank you so much for being a part of this moment in our lives."

Circle pits began emerging like wildfire as the testosterone-fueled dudes in tanks and shorts jumped on each other screaming the lyrics — one hefty guy in particular launched a surprise piggyback attack on a fellow fan.

About 15 minutes after The Wonder Years' set ended, the stage darkened and dramatic synths started playing over the venue's PA, "Initiate pit sequence in 5...4…3…2…1," the robotic monotone voice ordered. "Get sick mo-ther-fock-ers."

Set Your Goals jumped on stage encouraging pits from the start, kicking off their set with the pelting double-bass drumming of "Cure For Apathy." High-energy co-vocalists Matt Wilson and Jordan Brown proved that two is definitely better than one, at least for Set Your Goals. The dynamics of the two frontmen offer a unique spin on the generic pop-punk lineup, particularly standing out not only in their vocal harmonies, but on their noticeable size difference.

By mid-set, most of the floor had completely opened up into a pit, leaving plenty of space for guys and the select few girls to run freely around the perimeter, throwing punches into the air and begging the band for more.

If the crowd had any energy left after the powerful performances of the previous four bands, New Found Glory would be the ones to bring that level back to the top.

Pioneering the early 2000's pop-punk movement, the Coral Springs natives have clearly influenced every single one of these bands on the tour. Vocalist Jordan Pundik's signature nasally vocal tone was on point this night, and the band fired through an extensive setlist of tracks ranging from their first album, 1999's Nothing Gold Can Stay up through their most recent album, 2011's Radiosurgery. Animal, the pink furry Muppet drummer, sat proudly on Cyrus Bolooki's drumkit as Bolooki pounded the quick-tempo beats accompanied by harmonious riffs from bassist Ian Grushka, guitarist Chad Gilbert and guitarist/lyricist Steve Klein.

"This style of music, the music we play, we wouldn't have our lives or anything if it wasn'tfor it,"said Klein. "People like to shit talk this type of music. So we are here to defend and prove to people that we all have a good time and we get something out of this. It's not some bullshit genre of music. That is why this tour is happening."

Their encore included a nostalgic cover of Green Day's "Basketcase" followed by the rallying chants of "Hey! Ho! Let's go!" in their "Blitzkrieg Bop" Ramones cover. They closed out the night with "My Friends Over You," their most popular hit off of 2002's Sticks and Stones.

By the end of the night, there was a definite close-knit feeling and sense of camaraderie between the bands and the crowd alike as the quintessential underdogs. If these true supporters of the genre that came out tonight count for anything, pop-punk may well be on its way towards a comeback.

Setlists

This Time Next Year
New Sensation
Rise and Fall, Curtain Call
Drop Out Of Life
Spoontonic
Sweetest Air
Alex In Wonderland

Man Overboard
Dead End Dreams
Fantasy Girl
The Real You
Montrose
Spunn
Real Talk
World Favorite
Septemberism
Love Your Friends, Die Laughing

The Wonder Years
Came Out Swinging
Melrose Diner
Local Man Ruins Everything
Logan Circle
My Last Semester
Don’t Let Me Cave In
Hoodie Weather
Washington Square Park

Set Your Goals
Cure For Apathy
Echoes
Summer Jam
The Fallen
Goonies Never Say Die
Certain
To Be Continued
The Few That Remain
Gaia Bleeds
Mutiny

New Found Glory
Hit Or Miss
Never Give Up
Don’t Let Her Pull You Down
Anthem For The Unwanted
Understatement
Vegas
At Least I’m Known For Something
I’m Not The One
Something I Call Personality
All About Her
Listen To Your Friends
Memories and Battle Scars
Forget My Name
Boy Crazy
Intro
All Downhill From Here

Encore:
Basket Case (Green Day Cover)
Blitzkrieg Bop (Ramones Cover)
My Friends Over You

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