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Neck Deep Brought More Punks And More Bricks To A Sold Out Brooklyn Steel

Neck Deep

It was a freezing Sunday evening in Brooklyn, New York but before people called it quits on the weekend and got themselves ready for school or work, they went out to end presidents weekend with a bang by going to a sold out pop-punk show at Brooklyn Steel. What was so special about this performance was that it was the legendary United Kingdom ensemble Neck Deep headlining on their Live In America 24 tour and Brooklyn hadn't seen the group in over a year; The excitement was at a record-breaking high. To help keep the party going, they brought out Higher Power, Bearings, and Drain as support.

neck deep

Kicking the night off was the UK-based quintet Higher Power. Higher Power is a hardcore punk band from Leeds, West Yorkshire that was formed in 2014. The lineup consists of Jimmy “J-Town” Wizard (vocals), Max Harper (guitar), Louis Hardy (guitar), Ethan Wilkinson (bass), and Alex Wizard (drums) who are currently singed to Nuclear Blast. The band has been described as hardcore punk, alternative metal, post hardcore and even crossover thrash but has also incorporated other elements such as funk metal and shoegaze. They are considered to be leading participants in the New Wave of British Hardcore.

Higher Power

Higher Power opened with three songs off their second album 27 Miles Underwater which was released in 2019 and they were “Rewire (101)”, “Shedding Skin” and “Low Season”. The album is notable for its early 90’s influence and is more melodic than its predecessor Soul Structure. This won fans over as they were singing along to all three songs with their melodic and singalong choruses. “Low Season” had a particular groovy sound to it with Wilkinson‘s driving bass line.

Higher Power debuted a new song on this tour called “Absolute Bloom” and dedicated it to anyone who is currently in love. The song has an infectious chant in the chorus that everyone was following along to which was very impressive for a song that has only been out for a few weeks now. After the song, J-Town noted how some people weren’t responsive when he dedicated “Absolute Bloom” to people that were in love and hoped that they would find love soon. He mentioned how buying Higher Power merch increases an individual’s chances at becoming sexier and will offer full refunds if it didn’t happen within five years. Let’s hope the band doesn’t see a demand in refunds down the line.

Higher Power had lots of energy and were having a great time on stage. Their incredible talent of singalong melodies and ability to go hard and heavy really got the crowd going and a huge mosh pit opened up for them. The band played an older song, “Can’t Relate” which is off their 2017 debut album, Soul Structure, and it unleashed the band’s punk roots and had people in the pit both two-stepping and hardcore dancing. The last song “Seamless” saw a massive circle pit forming for them while fans at the front sang along to the chorus. This was definitively an exciting way to start the show and get the crowd’s blood pumping for what’s to come.


Next up was Bearings. Bearings is a pop punk band from Ottawa, Canada that was formed in 2016. Their current lineup consists of Dougie Cousins (vocals), Ryan Culligan (guitar), Collin Hanes (bass), and Mike Mckerracher (drums) who collectively are currently singed to Pure Noise Records. The band has built a reputation for themselves with their skillful songwriting and emotionally-driven storytelling. This incredible talent has earned them spots on tours with bands like State Champs, Four Year Strong, and Less Than Jake. Their most recent release comes in the likes of their third studio album The Best Part About Being Human which was released on August 18, 2023.


Bearings opened their set with “Shaking Your Mind” which was released as a stand alone single on March 1, 2022 and was then featured on the deluxe edition of their second studio album, Hello, It’s You which was released on November 20, 2020 and the deluxe edition on July 7, 2022. The song was as pop punk as it can get with bright guitar riffs and a very catchy chorus that had fans singing along and jumping up and down. Other fans even started to crowd surf as well.

The next song was an older one called “Where You Are” taken from their first album Blue In The Dark which was released in 2018. The band kept the energy going and a mosh pit started to form for them. “Live Forever Never Die” had a very contagious chorus that the fans could not help but sing along to. The band gave the fans a break and slowed it down just a tiny bit with the emotionally heavy “Eye’s Closed”. There wasn’t any moshing or surfing but fans just stood there and let themselves be fully immersed into the song.

Bearings succeeded at making everyone in the room feel something inside them. There was just a certain energy flowing through everyone with this song and it was impossible not to feel it. The next song was the equally emotionally heavy song “Human”. The song touches on the subjects of being simply ‘human’ which is a gentle reminder to all of us. It’s a very inspiring song and everyone felt its message as they were screaming every single word back to Cousins and Culligan even played a sentimental guitar solo.

Despite the emotional moment, there was no way Bearings wasn’t going to end their set without a bang. The band kicked the energy back up, closing their set with “Scenery” which is the first track off The Best Part About Being Human and “Sway” which is off Hello, It’s You. “Scenery” pumped the adrenaline back up in the crowd and the mosh pit that dissipated before, quickly opened back up again and the crowd surfing resumed. The closing song, “Sway” is Bearing’s most popular song. The song sits at #2 on Spotify with over 3 million streams. For a song that was written about someone who likes to pretend they are cooler than they are, it was full of pop-punk nostalgia that had the entire crowd jumping on their feet and singing along. The mosh pit gave it their all one last time and fans used this opportunity to crowd surf until the bands finale. Bearings treated the show like it was a party. The band kept jumping up and down on stage and were energized by their own music to which the crowd matched that energy seamlessly. It’s hard not with all those jumpy chords and catchy singalong choruses.


Surfing their way onto the stage next was one of the most wild and chaotic hardcore bands to come out of the west coast and that was the one and only Drain. Drain is a hardcore band based out of Santa Cruz, California that was formed in 2014. The lineup consists of Sammy Ciaramitaro (vocals), Cody Chavez (guitars/vocals), AJ Hoenings (bass), and Tim Flegal (drums). The band has made waves in the hardcore scene with their combination of hardcore and thrash music and are noticeable for their “beach-style” themes and energetic live performances. On May 5, 2023, Drain released their latest album Living Proof via Epitaph and has received critical acclaim from multiple music media outlets.


Before the music kicked in, Ciaramitaro asked for the house lights to be turned on. All of Brooklyn Steel lit up in an instant and he then told the person in charge of the lighting to keep them on and even said that they could leave for their set. I wouldn’t complain if I were them, that meant break time. To say Drain’s set was crazy would be an understatement.

Not even a minute into the first song “Feel the Pressure” , which is the first track off their 2020 debut album California Cursed, Ciaramitaro threw the mic into the crowd and then proceeded to stage dive. Everyone packed over each other trying to grab the mic so they could all scream the song out. Ciaramitaro was having a blast surfing on people’s heads and was waving at everyone in the back to get up and crowd surf. For the duration of the first song, Ciaramitaro stood up at the barricade to sing with the crowd. The band dedicated the next song “Watch You Burn” to Koyo and Ciaramitaro rushed back up to the barricade and was pointing the mic in fan’s face for them to scream the words out. The band delivered a crushing breakdown at the climax of the third song, “FTS (KYS)” and called for all the hardcore kids to show themselves and they sure did.

The crowd was the rowdiest it had ever been. During the entire set, fans swarmed the front with constant crowd surfing and one of them was dressed up as a shark. The mosh pit was an over abundance of pushing and dancing as the hardcore kids were in full force for the heaviest band of the night. The band themselves was having a great time performing. Ciaramonte wouldn’t stand still at all and kept jumping up and down and running across the stage, giving high fives to every crowd surfer that climbed over the barricade and even doing air guitar solos. Chavez mesmerized the crowd with transcending guitar solos for almost every song and an impromptu jam that the band performed.

Drain had only two songs left, but before getting into them, the band wanted to do some crazy stuff with the fans and since it was crystal clear that the crowd would, they didn’t even bother asking. Ciaramitaro told the crowd to get all the way down on their knees and wouldn’t stop until every single person got down. Many bands have tried to replicate the Slipknot trend of getting the entire floor on their knees and only two bands have done that; one of course being Slipknot and the other being Drain. Suddenly, the whole room turned into a dance party with the entire venue jumping all the way up to the ceiling.

The band closed their set with “Living Proof”, the title track off the latest record and their most popular song, as well as “California Cursed” which is the title track off their first album, California Cursed. The chaotic crowd surfing continued with no signs of slowing anytime soon and one fan even got up on stage to grab the mic to sing the rest of the song while Ciaramitaro rushed up to the barricade one more time to help catch crowd surfers and sing once more with the fans. He then encouraged the kid to stage dive, commanding the crowd “CATCH THIS KID! CATCH THIS KID” and they all held their arms out in unison, catching the young stage diver. Drain definitely had the crowd giving it their all but they still had a lot left in the tank for the final act.


Now for the main event of the evening; the one and only Neck Deep. Neck Deep is a pop punk band from Wrexham, Wales that was formed in 2012. The band is signed to Hopeless Records and currently consists of Ben Barlow (vocals), Sam Bowden (guitar), Matt West (guitar), Seb Barlow (bass), and Matt Powles (drums). The band gained recognition after Barlow posted the song "What Did You Expect?" online and turned the small project into a full time band. This tour is Neck Deep's first full U.S. headlining tour since 2021and Brooklyn was the first show to sell out in advance. The band has been touring America in support of their fifth studio album, Neck Deep which was released on January 19, 2024.

Neck Deep

The band wasted no time kicking things off with "Dumbstruck Dumbf*ck", the opening track off the new album. The bar was set very high at the show but the fans were up to the task. Fans started crowd surfing before the band even played the first note and were singing along to the chorus. Barlow even let the crowd take over for the third chorus and they were so loud, you could hear them from outside the room. Barlow then proceeded to two step on stage while signing the rest of the song.

Neck Deep got the blood pumping and was showing no signs of slowing down especially on the next one "Sort Yourself Out". A mosh pit opened up and more fans continued to crowd surf to the front. Barlow greeted Brooklyn and told them to not hold out on him as they were just getting started. This got the crowd even more riled up than they already were. They then went back in time to 2015 and played "Kali Ma" which is on their second studio album, Life's Not Out to Get You. Everyone from the band on stage to the crowd in general admission was on their feet once the first note dropped. As the song's bridge was approaching, fans knew what was coming and Barlow didn't even bother saying the words, he just let the crowd yell "GOT TO HELL" and that was enough to get the pit riled up and have everyone lose their minds up until the song's conclusion.

The next two songs they played were "Motion Sickness" which is the opening track off of The Peace And The Panic and "Lowlife" off of the 2020 album All Distortions Are International. The crowd was continuously losing their minds singing along and crowd surfing while Barlow belted the lyrics out and told everyone to get off their feet. Barlow thanked the crowd for selling the show out and remarked that New York is one of their favorite places to play in the U.S. which got the crowd cheering. The next song got everyone off their feet once again as it was "Lime St." which is also off the beloved Life's Not Out to Get You and the mosh pit opened up once again for "Gold Steps".

Neck Deep

Barlow took a few minutes to get political, which is something not a lot of people are comfortable doing but when you're at a punk show, it should be expected. He urged people on opposite sides of the political spectrum to stop fighting each other and point that anger towards the governments that do anything but fund wars that do not serve their people. He commanded the crowd to open the pit up and unleash that frustration for the next song "We Need More Bricks". Barlow demanded that the crowd push the pit all the way back and the crowd did exactly that, pushing it as far back as they possibly could and once the drop hit, everyone took that frustration out in the pit and was either pushing or dancing. Barlow himself was two-stepping and throwing spin kicks up on stage, letting his inner hardcore soul out at a pop punk show. Barlow decided to get intimate with the crowd during the song “Don’t Wait” which features Architects vocalist Sam Carter. Barlow got right up at the barrier and held his mic out for fans and crowd surfers to scream out Carter’s parts.

Neck Deep

Neck Deep's music has touched a lot of people and has helped them through very tough times in their lives. The next song they played was "Go Outside!" which is off the new album and it was dedicated to anyone who has depression or is going through a dark time. Everyone took this to heart and let themselves live through the music, forgetting about everything that's going on in their lives. Music is truly a powerful tool for healing and change, it has the ability to help people with whatever they are going through and that is something truly beautiful. The band dedicated the next song, "They May Not Mean To (But They Do)", to people with parents and called for a girls only mosh pit for the following song, "She's a God". The girls proceeded to take over the mosh pit while the rest of the crowd was off their feet and singing along to the chorus. Not gonna lie, I think the girls went harder than the men in the pit.

Everyone goes though heartbreaks in life. Whether it’s a breakup, watching the Islander's lose to the Rangers in overtime, or you're just simply a Jets fan or a Manchester United fan. Either way, the band dedicated the next song to any of the three which was "Heartbreak Of The Century". This was one of the slower songs but it still had its fast-paced moments that left room for the fans to mosh, or throw down if they were Islanders fans.

It wouldn’t be a proper Neck Deep show without Neck Deep’s most popular song, “December”. “December” is the ultimate heartbreak song that is taken off Life's Not Out to Get You. The original rendition of the song is a slow acoustic ballad but in 2016, the band released a rock version titled “December (again)” which features Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus. In total, both versions of the songs carry a combined total of 189 million streams on Spotify alone!! Barlow teased the crowd at first by introducing the song “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. Fans were clapping their hands up high in anticipation of the song. In keeping the energy active and Brooklyn Steel out of their feels, the band played the latter version of the song though it still hits just as heavy as its original counterpart. The crowd went absolutely berserk and didn’t slow down as they were singing along to every single word from beginning to end. The amount of crowd surfing that happened during this one rivaled almost Drain’s entire set. Barlow let the fans take over Hoppus' part in the song and held his mic out to every single crowd surfer that climbed over the barrier to they can belt the words out loud.

The band came back out for the encore and Barlow thanked the crowd for coming out, once again reminding us how New York is their favorite city to play in. Sharing anecdotes, the band reminisced about all the times they’ve played in New York and how grateful they are to be where they are right now. They then played three more songs to close out the night which included the 2022 standalone single, “STFU”, “Can’t Kick Up The Roots” and, of course, well renowned “In Bloom”. Everyone gave it their all and Barlow called for a circle pit to form and seeing a circle pit form so fast on command is something I will never get tired of seeing. Crowd surfing? Of course that was still going on and it wasn’t one person at a time. No, it was swarms of people flying up to the front. I wonder how tired security was by the end of the night. The fans were giving it their all all night long, but they gave whatever they had left and surprisingly, they still had a lot left in the tank to continue crowd surfing and moshing their hearts out through the encore. They definitely lost their voices signing along to all of “In Bloom” if they hadn’t aleady lost their voices before.

Neck Deep

Neck Deep brought the roof down in Brooklyn, whether they were moshing, dancing, crowd surfing or just stood there singing along, everyone had a great time and left Brooklyn Steel completely contempt and eager for the next time the Welsh lads make their way back to the Big Apple.


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