Real Friends brought its US headliner to GameChanger World on Monday, November 24. The lineup featured a nice variety of artists including Have Mercy, who opened up the show. Fresh off its latest release on Hopeless Records, A Place of Our Own, Have Mercy warmed up the crowd with the mellowest sounds of the night. Mellow is not bad as these guy put a heart wrenching amount of emotion into their performance. The first crowd surfers of the night started flying over the barrier in dramatic fashion during the last song, "Let's Talk About Your Hair." One crowd surfer knocked over some mic stands as he yelled the lyrics back at vocalist Brian Swindle. Have Mercy lived up to the hype that's slowly building for them and convinced me that this band may be one that headlines venues such as this in the not so distant future.
Hardcore band Cruel Hand was next on the bill. The last time these guys were booked to this particular venue was on a tour with the metal band Unearth, which shows how diverse they are willing to go with the bands they share the stage with. Much of the crowd was surprised by Cruel Hand's sound while the pit exploded with dancers who came specifically for this set. Hardcore and pop punk have been siblings of sorts and it's nice to see more tour packages merging the two genres together, attempting to expand people's music taste.
Neck Deep took the stage next and definitely brought the most energy of the night. Aside from having an upbeat and aggressive sound, the band's stage presence is fast and energetic, apart from the soft performance of "A Part of Me" in which fans lit up the venue with glimmering cell phone lights. Neck Deep also moved very smoothly through the set. Even though the band played the second most songs all night, it felt like the set was done before I knew it. Time flies when you're having fun, and Neck Deep is one of the most fun live bands I've ever seen, so it makes sense.
Real Friends closed out the night with an hour-long set. I've seen these guys rise from playing New Jersey at a bar, to a bigger bar, to a close to one thousand cap venue with a barrier in not even two years. This show was definitely the tightest I had ever seen the band play and it also drew the most crowd response, as kids were flying over the barrier all set long. Real Friends also played a handful of the normally full band songs, soft and toned down which really brought out the emotions within the band and crowd in the best way. Real Friends is one of the hottest pop punk bands right now, and this show did nothing but confirm that to me.
Check out some photos from the concert below.
Links: Have Mercy - Cruel Hand - Neck Deep - Real Friends - Dieter Unrath Photography