In an unsurprising turn of events, I was once again on my way to the O2 Institute in Birmingham for another night of energetic pop-punk. Tonight’s lineup consisted of New York Pop-Punk legends State Champs, for the last date on their 2022 UK Tour, with support from Between You And Me and Heart Attack Man. As always with UK public transport, my train was delayed as always, but somehow, I managed to make it to the venue before the queue spanned the entirety of Digbeth.
Up first were the Australian Pop-Punk 5 piece Between You and Me which instantly managed to get the energy going with an onslaught of, as expected, Pop-Punk. Thanks to the damn tight performance, I couldn’t take my eyes away from the stage and found myself just bopping along to myself in the photo pit, definitely one of the best opening bands I’ve had the pleasure of watching in a long time. So far, exactly as expected and that’s not a complaint in the slightest.
Heart Attack Man was up next, bringing their hardcore infused Pop-Punk to the masses of Birmingham. With a high energy set of aggressive, anger-filled tracks that the crowd appeared to eat up, and while they weren’t exactly what I was expecting for the line-up, this didn’t take away from my happiness at seeing a band bring the angst back into the genre.
After a quick shower in the spitting rain outside, State Champs rushed the stage. Celebrating the release of their latest album Kings of the New Age, it was only fitting that they opened their set with the album’s opening track Here to Stay, due to how fast the band has risen to become one of the genre’s titans. From infectious Pop-Punk grooves to utterly phenomenal vocals from Derek Discanio, it’s just obvious to all who see them live just why they’re as big as they are. Everything about the set was just great, and it’s always an absolute blast to see a band at the top of their game.
After State Champ had finished their set, I ran to the station in the torrential rain, grabbed a bit of pizza and got my seat to head back to my hometown I just wanted to leave and just reflected. I had accidentally become a Pop-Punk cliché. Genuinely another great gig, at a great venue, and everyone should head to see a Pop-Punk band at the top of their game. People take music too seriously at times and this show helped remind me of what it should truly be about, having fun and meeting like-minded people.
Review & Photography: Dan Stapleton
State Champs Recent Rock ‘N’ Load Album Review: