“Every venue should have its own dog”: Neck Deep’s U.S. tour, in pictures

Go inside Neck Deep’s life on the road as Ben Barlow talks us through their U.S. tour photo album…

“Every venue should have its own dog”: Neck Deep’s U.S. tour, in pictures
Ben Barlow
Nat Wood

Neck Deep's feet have barely touched the floor since they released their banging self-titled album in January. They've been all over America, right now they're in Japan, and then next week they're coming back to the UK for their biggest headline show to date at London's massive Alexandra Palace.

In a special dispatch from the road, where they're currently smashing it with Leeds hardcore mob Higher Power, singer Ben Barlow talks us through a collection of snapshots from their U.S. jaunt. There's cake, dogs, record shops, and some very big crowds. Which is exactly what you want, innit?

Ben: This was in Orlando, Florida, the first sold-out night of the tour, and a sort of homecoming for us. The first place we ever touched down and played shows in the U.S. was Orlando, so it’s always been special when we go back. In the back you can see Cody Muraro from Real Friends who had swung by while they’re recording their new record. We chatted right up until stage time, but who needs warm-ups, right?

Ben: I’m not 100 per cent sure what’s going on here, but I would guess that it’s a post-show exhausted Seb [Barlow, bass]. After we get offstage there’s a half-hour where we all gradually come down. Seb has usually exerted himself pretty hard and can often be found red-faced, staring into space, resetting and making sense of a good show. This one must’ve been particularly good/exhausting!

Ben: This was in Kansas City, right before heading to see one of the craziest private vintage collections we’ve ever seen. We’re talking merch from before merch was merch! Either way, an afternoon coffee is sacrosanct within Neck Deep, as is caffeine in general, so, first things first! Shout-out Wyco Vintage!

Ben: Some crew love! All our crew are close as hell – with each other and to us. Sometimes crew can be a little distant from the band, but we don’t work like that. A lot of our guys have grown with us, some are childhood friends, sometimes they're from other bands, early days driving jobs, random one-offs, or just by being a good hang.

A good crew is 100 per cent correlated with a good tour. We pretty much never have to worry about any technical or logistical aspects of our show or the tour because these guys are so on it. Not only are they good at their jobs, but they keep the vibes strong and make sure everything’s sweet on – and off – stage.

Ben: The infamous Smash tournament! Being the degenerates we are, we have devised a way to gamble on a computer controlled Super Smash Brothers tournament. Think virtual horses, but with violence and your favourite Nintendo characters. We started playing/betting in 2019 on the blink-182 tour, with some people winning constantly since (Sam Bowden x9), and others (me) not winning a single game for five years. It’s a slippy slope, a heartbreaker, a money maker, but ultimately a good laugh on an off-day.

Ben: This is in the stock room of Zia Records [in Tempe, Arizona] before an instore signing. We love independent record stores, not only for what they represent to the scene and community, but because of the bags and bags of pop culture trinkets and hidden gems. Here, West has found himself a keyblade from Kingdom Hearts and is debating how to ship a replica sword back to the UK… he didn’t.

Ben: A celebratory cake from our label, Hopeless Records. This mfer was heavy and colourful. It was the same on the way out. Sorry…

Ben: Roscoe the venue dog, from Boise, Idaho. We all miss our pets when we’re on tour and we rarely get uninterrupted time with a dog, so we fully made the most of it this time. He’d been adopted eight different times and finally landed on his paws, how anyone would give up a sweet boy like Roscoe I don’t know. I’d say every venue should have its own Roscoe.

Ben: The last show in Chicago was just a taste of what to expect in Ally Pally, only it'll be three-times the size. If the Windy City was anything to go by, we’re in for an all-timer of a show!

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