On a winter's eve in Southampton, UK a capacity crowd has gathered to witness the band that should represent Blink 182's worst nightmare. Arriving on the back of a successful arena support slot with pop punk princes Green Day, New Found Glory are tonight playing to a far more modest 2,000 at the Southampton Guildhall, but the inference is clear: Whilst the Blink boys pick out nursery patterns and become ever more directionless, NFG are ready to step up and sweep aside the relics and the wannabes.
On stage, New Found Glory is an enticing prospect. Front-man Jordan Pundik commands the attention of every fan with an infectious enthusiasm and jovial energy, leading the band through such crowd pleasers as "Dressed To Kill", "Catalyst" and overlooked classic "My Friend's Over You". Tonight is the first show of the headline tour and we caught up with guitarist Chad Gilbert and drummer Cyrus Bolooki to find out about life in the New Found Glory camp.
Despite having risen only fifteen minutes previously, the guys are amazingly alert÷ more so than me worryingly, and I'm not the one out on a gruelling tour. "We played the last two nights running in London with Green Day," says Bolooki, obviously still on a high from the experience, " We're pretty tired but it's always fun to be in the UK. The shows we played with Green Day were amazing, any show with them is huge, but it's cool to be able to play a headline show here÷it's good to be back." After a previous visit that involved an aborted show and power failure, you might expect a certain amount of trepidation about returning to our shores but it doesn't seem to be in the NFG dictionary.
"The power at the Forum show last year just went; everything but the lights. People could see what was going on but nobody really knew what was happening. "What made it even worse was that we were filming the show for a DVD and so we didn't plan for something like that at all," Bolooki told Soul Shine. As it turned out, the ever opportunists turned the kerfuffle to their advantage, actually including elements of the power outage on the DVD as a contrast to how it should have been. "The crowd at the Forum was so cool," interjects Gilbert, "they were really understanding and the fans mean everything to us, so we thought we would include footage of when we got a bit of power back to give the fans the concert how it was and then also how it should have been."
Music fans often seem secondary to many bands but that is evidently not the case with NFG, who openly admit to writing a large proportion of their songs with the fans directly in mind. Such a devotion is just one of the facets that should see New Found Glory in the higher leagues of success, but how do they feel about the bands that they seem constantly in the shadow of? "We went out on tour with Blink 182 a while back" commented Bolooki, "It was just massive, the biggest tour we had ever done at that time with 15,000 to 20,000 people a night. It really opened us up to that world of playing big shows and made us step it up with our set. It was amazing for us and taught us a lot."
"We play for ourselves and the fans and certainly don't feel like we're in competition with bands like Blink," adds Gilbert. "They are definitely changing as a band but so are we gradually. Obviously we want to be successful and for people to hear our music, but certainly not at the expense of our friends." These are the words of a band comfortable with themselves. Having released latest their opus "Catalyst" to an impatient public last year, New Found Glory found themselves tentatively exploring more varied territory and sounding more at ease than ever. The product of an extended break for the band, the diversification has seen their legion of fans increase drastically. They may not be looking to topple any contemporaries but this is a group on the verge of something special. "There are so many things I never thought would be attainable that we've now surpassed" muses Bolooki, "I think the goal for us is to make this last as long as possible. We have dreams like headlining the main stage at the Reading Festival but if it happens it happens, if it doesn't then it's no big deal as we have already come so far." They may be modest about it, but are the bands they are tailing the same way? The hierarchy may be set to change.
Writer: Dave Hardwick