On the heels of a massive summer tour supporting iconic pop punk group Blink-182 and famed rapper Lil Wayne (which, unfortunately, didn’t include a Nashville date), buzzy Welsh pop punks Neck Deep are set to play what appears to be a one-off date in Nashville, headlining The Cowan for the first time tonight, Sept. 23 with local pop punks Best Intentions and grunge pop duo Sad Baxter. As we eagerly await a followup to 2017 third album The Peace and the Panic (a new single, “She’s a God,” did recently drop in conjunction with their current trek), the rockers’ return, following a show last year at Marathon Music Works, is a welcome surprise, and may be their last before they have a new LP in tow. Tickets are still available right here, and we encourage you to snag them while they last, then read on for more about the show below.
Formed in 2012 in their native Wrexham, Wales, pop punks Neck Deep began as a fun part-time writing outlet for singer Ben Barlow and then-guitarist Lloyd Roberts. Encouraged by positive response to early demos posted online, the group rounded out their lineup and released a pair of early EPs, eventually gaining the attention of famed pop punk label Hopeless Records, who signed them ahead of their debut LP, Wishing Thinking, in 2014. Soon hitting the road with acts like We Are The In Crowd and Knuckle Puck, and taking part on the beloved Vans Warped Tour, it wasn’t long before Neck Deep attracted a rabid, scene-wide following, thanks to their edgy, upbeat, and punk-rooted sound, the blending influences of early pop punk acts like Descendants with edgier contemporary artists like The Wonder Years, taking cues from peers All Time Low, A Day to Remember, and New Found Glory for big, catchy hooks and pop sensibilities with some heavier bite. In more recent years, Neck Deep have remained a fixture of the pop punk scene, breaking out to an even broader audience with 2015 sophomore LP Life’s Not Out to Get You, and flexing their range with 2017’s grittier The Peace and the Panic, all the while touring with artists like A Day to Remember, State Champs, Piece the Veil, All Time Low, Bring Me the Horizon, and countless others, also nabbing awards from Alternative Press, Rock Sound, and Kerrang!, appearing at various scene specific fests, and becoming an ever-growing punk fixture. Though they make it to Music City at a pretty regular clip, and will likely be back in the near future with a new album to promote, this off-cycle one-off is a nice treat for fans who’ve been eager for their return, and after a summer full of huge dates with Blink and Wayne, their live show is bound to be more polished than ever.
Though their roots trace back to Philadelphia in 2o16, after guitarist and founder Matthew Kleinman opted to make the move to Music City in 2017, he relaunched his band Best Intentions with an all-new lineup in Nashville last year. Their debut full-length, The Loser’s Club, arrived back in May, and taps into much of the same pop punk ethos that informs Neck Deep’s sound, clearly raised on the genre’s mid-’00s heyday, combining anthemic and unabashedly poppy riffs with a penchant for some heavier, hard rocking crunch. We’ve seen their name around town for shows more frequently throughout this year, but if, like us, you haven’t yet had a chance to see one of Nashville’s buzziest new pop punk bands in action, their pairing on this lineup couldn’t be a more perfect opportunity.
As regular readers know, we’ve been obsessing over local duo Sad Baxter for years now, who, with their grungy riffs, pop accessibility, and personal and melancholy themes craft typically sad, sarcastic songs which are delightfully juxtaposed with singalong worthy hooks, making them an essential rising act in Nashville’s flourishing underground rock scene. Their debut LP, Weirdy, arrived in 2016, and since then the group have only managed to generate more and more buzz, touring the country honing their fun, engaging live show, and crafting one of our favorite records of last year with their fantastic followup EP, So Happy. A couple of recent singles indicate exciting things to come, and while they’re not as pop punk as the other acts, they’re a killer reason to show up on time!
Neck Deep, Best Intentions, and Sad Baxter will perform tonight, Sept. 23 at The Cowan at Topgolf. The show is all ages, doors open at 6 p.m., and tickets are available to purchase for $28.