The notorious Fibbers in York played host to a fantastic night of pop punk starting off with York’s answer to Neck Deep. Newcomers Safeguard certainly made a huge impression with the eager crowd. Frontman Declan Gough oozed confidence and drive that pushed the remainder of the band to deliver an enthusiastic performance. This show was new drummer Connor Dale’s first live appearance with the band and he did not disappoint. He created a solid and impressive base for the two guitarists and bassists to show their talented technical abilities. Gough’s vocals really got a chance to shine during acoustic song Better Off. The rest of their set consisted of a pop filled and lively mixture of original songs and covers of Sugar We’re Going Down (Fall Out Boy) and Still Waiting (Sum 41).
Next up was co headliners, Waco and their performance was just as colourful as their Hawaiian shirts. The Yorkshire crowd were treated to a flashback to influential 60s vibes with a powerful rock edge. There were a couple of tracks that particularly stood out, one of which was Nancy Guntrip. Frontman Jak Hutchcraft dedicated this one to “those who grew up in association housing.” Both the lyrics and delivery gave homage to this with a raw and humble feel. Waco’s set was full of high energy, flawless execution and inspirational speeches. All this built an excellent hippy atmosphere that left everyone feeling the love and put everyone in an optimistic mood for the next band.
Bring on mighty punkers The Kenneths. Anybody who was expecting just another generic pop punk band was mistaken. Safeguard offered modern pop punk, Waco gave us 60s and The Kenneths supplied the vamped up crowd with 80s punk. The band playfully joked around with the audience throughout their set making the experience memorable for all attendees. Audience participation did not end there. Several fans were asked to hold onto the microphone as Josh Weller bounced through the crowd playing guitar.
The Kenneths’ 22 years of experience was obvious as all three members seemed at home on stage sharing their art. The intimate chemistry between the three formed a warm and friendly ambiance throughout the venue. This review cannot go without mentioning Aicha Djidjelli who proved that she is one of the best female drummers that the rock genre has to offer.
Weller added to the fun of the night by doing the impossible of crowd surfing in a crowd of less than 50 people. But he made it work and looked damn cool while doing it. The performances of each song was like having a live visual of what goes on inside the band’s head, crazy, loud and passionate. This fit in perfectly with the song I Can’t Focus which Weller confessed was a song about his struggle with ADHD. A short but unruly piece that hooked everybody as Weller leaped around the stage hanging off the ceiling and connecting with the crowd. It really was an unforgettable evening for everyone lucky enough to be there.