Neck Deep // Wargasm // Higher Power // Happydaze // Live Review // O2 Academy // Birmingham

Once again I was on a train in the cold, stormy weather that was battering the UK. This time I was heading back to the O2 Academy Birmingham for my first time shooting their main room. Tonight’s acts were the Wrexham Pop-Punk titans Neck Deep with support from Happydaze, Higher Power and Wargasm.

First up we’re Edinburgh’s Pop-Punk 4-piece Happydaze who took the stage with an energetic onslaught of Pop-Punk riffs that easily got the crowd excited for the night, it’s a shame they were on so early though as they’re definitely ready both musically and from a stage show perspective for bigger slots. I doubt it’ll be long till they get those shows though, that’s for sure.

The second band of the night were Leeds based Hardcore Punk outfit Higher Power who within utter seconds had the room bouncing as their hardcore riffs flooded the room for one of the most energetic sets I’ve seen in an incredibly long time. From start to finish Higher Power we’re utterly incredible, nothing else to say on it really.

After another intermission, we had Wargasm, the night’s main support rush the stage and instantly the energy was nothing short of chaos. As Screams, Sub drops and breakdowns filled the air around me the energy was contagious. I’ll openly admit I’ve never really got why Wargasm blew up as quick as they did, but that changed tonight as they gave us a performance that can only be described as the utmost professional while seeming completely fluid and unrehearsed. If you get the chance to see them live, do it.

After the final change over, Neck Deep finally took the stage. With one of the most impressive stage set-ups I’ve seen, what proceeded was a set of pure Pop-Punk happiness. The last time I shot Neck Deep was when they headlined Godiva in 2016 and my god, since then have they become a powerhouse of a band. Not only are they one of the tightest bands I’ve ever seen live, but one of the most fun too. Even if you’re not a pop-punk fan, I’d genuinely say Neck Deep are a must-see band in 2022. It’s rare a set leaves me this speechless.

As I sat on the train back home, I felt a buzz I haven’t from a show in an incredibly long time. All four acts were truly on peak performance tonight. I can genuinely say that each of these acts needs to be seen live. It’s nights like tonight that make me truly appreciate not only being a photographer but just seeing and hearing music live. There’s truly nothing like it.

Review & Photography: Dan Stapleton



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