New Found Glory – June 21st, 2019 – The Varsity Theater
“Hey, kids, let’s go to the punk rock show!” Any parent who didn’t say this last night might very well be guilty of neglect. What a great night of music this was. Capacity crowds showed up at The Varsity for Doll Skin, The Early November, Real Friends and New Found Glory. The whole upper and lower levels as well as the seating area sections of the venue were stuffed full of people and everyone was there to have a great time. Not many shows leave me just as excited the following day when going through images. It was very easy to relive every song, down to the note.
I can’t say that I knew this band by name a week before the show. I hit the good old internet to find out more about them and a video or two in, I found a song that I’d recognized (“Mark My Words”). This band has many stereotypes to overcome. Angsty punk band, pop-punk, and the most obvious, they’re a female band. I get the impression that this band appreciates the stereotypes so they can take the stage and show you just how wrong they are. An instant hit with the crowd (which started out around 700 people), Doll Skin brought an unexexpected level of energy with them that’s difficult to describe. Within the first two songs the pit was rolling and the whole crowd was jumping in unison. They did such a good job getting the pit started, lead singer Sydney Dolezal couldn’t keep herself from joining. Crowd participation is one thing, Doll Skin’s interaction and participation in their own show is whole new level. After their set, they posted up at the merch tables upstairs and continuted to partake in the show by making a handful of appearances in the mosh pit and crowd surfing throughout the night. Doll Skin earned another fan in me at this show. They have talent, charisma and plenty of attitude and energy to cater to my kind of people. I would definitely go out and catch another show they were playing in.
The Early November:
The Early November took the stage with about 900 people in attendance. They brought a different vibe to the show with their melodic rock sounds. The slower pace didn’t drain the energy from the crowd. Many of the front row fans were singing along with songs like “Tell Me Why”. They ended their set with lead singer Ace Enders performing the solo acoustic song “Ever So Sweet”.
Real Friends brought a lot of energy to the stage with them as the third band in the lineup. It was their job to put the fire into the crowd for New Found Glory and they didn’t fail. I had heard these guys in the background of a couple of Pandora playlists, so prior to this show, I wouldn’t say that I was terribly familiar with them. By the end of their set, I can say that I found a new appreciation for their music and will likely add them to active paylists. Every one of the band members, both in looks and manerisms reminds me of whole sets of people I’ve hung out with during my life. Their name couldn’t be more spot on. During their set, The Varsity hit capacity at about 1200 people. If I had to guess, there were at least 1198 people having the time of their lives singing along to songs like “Me First” and “From the Outside”. Through their whole set, the mosh pit was both inviting and growing. So much so, that the lead singer and bassist from Doll Skin couldn’t keep themselves out of it. Numerous people surfed their way from the pit atop their fellow participants making their way to the front of the stage where security guided them to the floor and the exit path so they could go back out and do it again. Overall, they did a great job building on the growing energy for the headliners and setting the stage for a main show of epic proportions.
New Found Glory:
NFG has been doing this a long time and it shows. With personalities that are bigger than life and a sound and setlist that appeals to absolutely every human on some level, I had high expectations for this show. I never expected the level of showmanship that was delivered. A lot of work went into setting up an elaborate stage that had a whimsical circus type theme to it. The show was anything but a circus. They opened the show with a cover of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” with lead singer Jordan Pundik decked out in a boxing robe and gloves. Like all NFG covers, they absolutely killed it. They hit the stage with unending energy and delivered a show that was a varied mix of close to 20 years of music history. From popular radio tracks like “My Friends Over You” to an array of covers including Huey Lewis and The News’s “The Power of Love”, “Cups” and “Let it Go” (all from their upcoming EP), they absolutely nailed every one of their songs in the set that lasted nearly 2 hours. Every song, they played to the crowed, not just played for the crowd. Most fans, if they weren’t in the pit or surfing the crowd were singing along with every song. Jordan went through a few costume changes throughout the show, starting off the set with a Rocky inspired boxing outfit, a full Elsa costume for “Let it Go” and a Lion Tamer outfit (complete with top hat and bullwhip). They simply put on one hell of a show, you could tell they were there for the fans and wanted to give them more than what they expected. From the generated blizzard during “Let it Go” to throwing several bags of (freshly popped) popcord into the audience, this was so much more than play some music and hit the next town. This was indeed a show.
Review and photos by Paul Allen