While pop punk music may have taken a hit recently as top 40 radio has been filled with the the over-produced, auto-tuned club hits, Southern California pop punk fans found exactly what they were looking for this weekend as the “Pop Punk’s Not Dead” tour hit Los Angeles. The House of Blues was crammed with pop punk fans of all ages, and it was clear that for this crowd, the lineup was the stuff dreams are made of.

Presented by KROQ, the evening kicked off with This Time Next Year. Hailing from Northern California, the band played a short set and had little space to move around (a seemingly necessary requirement for bands performing high-energy, pop punk shows). It seemed like it was the first time many people had seen the group as the audience’s energy was lacking, but people were definitely paying attention as they played through their six-song set, closing with “Alex in Wonderland.”

New Jersey’s Man Overboard, whose name has become synonymous with their slogan “Defend Pop Punk,” took the stage to a loud applause. Opening with upbeat tracks “Favorite Girl,” “Spunn,” and “Fantasy Girl,” the band barely paused between songs.

Bassist and singer Nik Bruzzese announced Man Overboard’s recent self-titled release, saying, “We worked our fucking asses off, and it was produced by New Found Glory’s Steve Klein,” the first of many nods to New Found Glory. Fans already knew the words to songs off the new album, like “Dead End Dreams.” Man Overboard added a slur of additional obscenities during older songs like “Septemberism,” upping the emotional ante. The music cut out as the crowd sang back, “I hate you, you should’ve picked up the phone tonight!”

The Wonder Years has been exponentially gaining popularity in the pop punk scene with their incredibly high-energy shows, enthusiastic audience involvement, and positive message, and tonight’s performance was no exception. The Philadelphia band opened with the appropriate “Came Out Swinging” as lead singer Dan Campbell ran across the stage, swinging his arms and throwing his head back as he powerfully sang to the group’s devout fans. Their uplifting anthem, “Logan Circle,” created a roaring sing-a-long, during which Campbell demanded that the crowd jump along and instructed, “Let me see the biggest circle pit the House of Blues has ever seen!”

Campbell went on to admit he’d listened to New Found Glory since he was thirteen and was grateful to be on tour with a band that had influenced him so much. He then held the microphone stand over the crowd during “My Last Semester” so the fans could scream “I don’t fit in!” before standing against the barricade, arms outstretched as he continued the song. The Wonder Years ended with “Washington Square Park” as Campbell begged the audience, “If you have anything left to give, give it us! Everyone sing! Everyone!” and the crowd happily obliged.

Set Your Goals was welcomed with what was surely the roughest crowd of the evening. It seemed there was always a fan crowd surfing through their set as the somewhat oddly paired Matt Wilson and Jordan Brown utilized overlapping vocals and criss-crossed the stage. The band wasn’t as high energy as previous groups, but that didn’t stop fans from creating multiple mosh pits and flinging their arms and legs out during “Goonies Never Say Die!”

A perfect example of how much these fans loved the band occurred halfway through their set: one crowd surfer landed in front of the barricade, high-fived Brown, and pulled him down off the stage. The fan then pushed his forehead against Brown’s, put his hands on the singer’s shoulders, and sang the lyrics into the microphone before jumping onstage to dive into the crowd again. Crowd surfers throughout the night would reach out to the band once they neared the barricade, hoping for a high five or head pat of approval from the band members, which many received. Brown told the crowd tonight was the “best show we’ve played in LA this year, you guys are awesome!” and thanked New Found Glory, saying they “owed them so much.” The band ended with “Mutiny!” during which fans launched themselves on top of one another.

New Found Glory set the mold for pop punk, and by the time they took the stage, it was clear the pop punk band had influenced not only the audience but also the rest of the groups on tour. Arguably the most popular pop punk band of the last decade, New Found Glory opened with mega hit “Hit Or Miss,” “Never Give Up,” and the powerful anthem “Don’t Let Her Pull You Down,” welcoming everyone to the “Pop Punk’s Not Dead” tour. Every song was a sing-a-long, and the stage was wide open for lead singer Jordan Pundik to run from side to side and sing to the crowd (albeit with no physical interaction like earlier bands). During their set, circle pits formed without instruction and crowd surfers were almost nonexistent.

The twenty-four song set spanned all seven of New Found Glory’s studio albums, and the band maintained its high energy from beginning to end. Guitarist Chad Gilbert announced, “We released an album called Coming Home, and people tell us we never play enough songs off that one so here goes,” before launching into the record’s title track. They powered through hits like “Forget My Name,” “All Downhill from Here,” and “Listen To Your Friends.” Pundik then dedicated “Boy Crazy” to “all the girls in the house,” especially those in the rough pit who “kicked as much ass as the boys.”


New Found Glory was not only supporting pop punk but also promoting their new album Radiosurgery. Pundick thanked the audience for coming, telling fans that “you come to our show because everyone in your life are assholes and we’re family here.” For these devout pop punk fans, it was understood that these bands, these songs, and this crowd was made for sing-alongs.

Gilbert explained that the band was “doing this tour because pop punk is about community. We are a family and wanted to bring that back with the tour. Please support your favorite bands and keep pop punk alive.” Programs were available throughout the venue with more information about the bands on tour to aid in the support of the thriving music genre.

The five-piece emerged for their encore dressed in matching New Found Glory basketball jerseys. As the New Found Glory banner behind the stage fell to reveal the “Pop Punk’s Not Dead” tour logo, the band launched into covers of Green Day’s “Basketcase” and the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop.” After playing the title track off Radiosurgery, Pundik exclaimed, “I’m starting this one like this,” and sang, “Though you swear that you are true, I’d still pick my friends over you,” which sent the crowd into a frenzy.

Fans left the House of Blues sweaty, bruised, and on a dizzying high from the evening’s energetic performances from some of the most passionate and talented pop punk bands in today’s scene. The impressive lineup that included everyone from rising stars to well-established groups surely made fans feel every dollar spent on the ticket was well worth the price. The “Pop Punk’s Not Dead Tour” proved that not only is pop punk not dead, but thanks to these bands, it’s alive and well.