Neck Deep at Alexandra Palace, 28/03/24

The Wrexham pop-punk heroes take on their biggest headline show to date

“This moment has been a long time in the making,” Ben Barlow smiles, surveying a sold-out Alexandra Palace.

“I’m the most nervous person in this room, but I know full f*cking well that we deserve to be here.”

Humble as ever, tonight the Neck Deep vocalist’s confidence certainly isn’t misplaced. Rising from homegrown heroes to global stars over the last decade, there’s no doubt that a moment like this has been a long time coming for the Wrexham pop-punk quintet. Taking place shortly before the four-day weekend, spirits are high for their biggest headline show to date, and as vibrant cartoon visuals stretch across the screens on-stage – Ally Pally is ready to party.

From the opening notes of joy-ridden anthemic cut ‘Dumbstruck Dumbf**k’, it’s clear that Neck Deep were meant for rooms like this. Circle pits breaking out for moody no-nonsense track ‘Sort Yourself Out’ before Barlow calls for the “most crowdsurfers Ally Pally has ever seen” during 2015 hit ‘Gold Steps’, by the time the frontman demands a girls-only mosh pit to “show the guys how it’s done” – the five musicians have got the room in the palm of their hand. 

The vocalist expressing his desire for an extra-terrestrial invasion as inflatable aliens are waved from the crowd during ‘Take Me With You’ and joking about how it only takes “two actors to buy your football club” to put a place like Wrexham on the map, there’s an integral silliness to Neck Deep’s live show, but the night isn’t without it’s serious moments. Flexing their political punk side as jets of fire burst out during ‘Don’t Wait’ and ‘We Need More Bricks’, Barlow takes a jab at the money-centric motivations of those in power, highlighting the situation in Palestine as “one of the great f*cking crimes of our age”. 

A band determined to use their voice for good, whilst cuts from their recently released self-titled album dominate the night – Barlow himself acknowledging that right now they’re “the best they’ve ever been” – there are frequent reminders of the journey that brought them to this point. From 10,000 voices singing along to ‘What Did You Expect?’ – the first song the band wrote together – to a performance of fan-favourite sickly sweet acoustic ballad ‘A Part Of Me’ that sees fans hoisted onto their friends’ shoulders as Barlow blows kisses to the room – a sense of hard-earned euphoria surges through Ally Pally. 

Leading the room in a raucous singalong of recently gold-certified hit ‘December’ – affectionally dubbed the “Neck Deep Christmas song” by Barlow – before barrelling into small town anthem ‘Can’t Kick Up The Roots’, the frontman takes a final chance to address the 10,000 faces before him.

“If we can f*cking do it… any of you can do it,” he nods.

“Go start a f*cking band in your bedroom and see where it takes you.” A pop-punk band for the ages and an Ally Pally show for the history books, there’s little doubt that tonight is Neck Deep’s crowning moment.

Neck Deep return to the UK in August to play Reading and Leeds festival. Find tickets here.

Read our interview with Ben Barlow here.