Pop Punk Takeover Feat. Better Than Never – Oxford – 31/03/16

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Sometimes, if we’re lucky, we get to review a half decent band with a half decent support. But occasionally the universe drops a gem in our lap and we get a line up like the Pop Punk Takeover, where the talent bombardment just keeps rolling.
We arrived at the gig just in time to catch pop rockers ‘Last To Leave’ belting out a pop punk mash-up of Justin Bieber material, that although vocally questionable, was musically both amusing and pretty neat.

Next up were the brilliant ‘The Gospel Youth’. Sounding from the outset remarkably like Deaf Havana, and then stating outright that they were fans, these guys pretty much captured everyone’s attention. With self-deprecating and almost solipsistic lyricism, plus the exquisite voice of frontman Sam, they threw out a powerful performance. The highlight being their track ‘Lighting Fires’, which Sam attributed to being his life story, that contained the right mix of power chords and passion but still kept it cool and almost masculine somehow. We feel like the future is pretty bright for these kids. Their optimism and radio friendly sound is impossible to ignore. In all honesty they deserved their own review, but hey, ain’t nobody got time for that.

Following The Gospel Youth came the strange but beautiful ‘Coast To Coast’. With football shirt-clad and unlikely front man, they tossed out some fairly impressive sounds. With self-analysing lyrics and loose but effective guitar slides, we were reminded somewhat of that last Modern Baseball record. Remember when Pete Doherty rocked up and everyone went “What….?”. Yeh, well it’s that all over again, except pop punk and better.

Finally up came the headliners ‘Better Than Never’. With pretty much zero warning the crowd were slammed straight into track ‘Deadweight’, letting us know that they weren’t messing around. The following tracks held up some nice harmonies and definitely threw out more thrash than Blink in ’99. Their last track ‘Back of the Line Kid’, came after a crowd demanding an encore, and possessed enough grit and gravel to make everyone feel well and truly battered around the earflaps. This band are talented, gritty and having so much fun with their music that it infects a whole venue. This is how pop punk should be. Passion, soaring choruses, and a whole load of frantic thrash. Keep it up kids.

Check out; Better Than Never – Deadweight

Peace out


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We run the WingLab Conspiracy new music website. Write for Pop Punk World and BBC Intro. All views are our own.

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