Pop-punk nostalgia filled the air this past Saturday at the Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, CA. It was a day of carnival festivities and horse races, but to the far east of the racetrack, there was a grassy knoll that occupied a few thousand 20-somethings wearing Chuck Taylor’s, a $2 PBR in their hand and whiskey on their breath, waiting for their favorite band to take the stage – New Found Glory.
I’ve been listening to New Found Glory since I was in about 6th grade and I haven’t seen them live in over ten years. As guitarist Chad Gilbert started playing the beginning guitar riffs for “All Downhill From Here” I felt like I was in high school at Warped Tour again. Jordan Pundik’s vocals sounded youthful as ever.
The band played three sets between the horse races. They kicked off the second set with “Anthem For The Unwanted,” insisting that the attentive crowd sing along, which they had no problem in doing. As a sea of crowd-surfers made their way to the stage to dive off, the band played an all time favorite, “Truth of My Youth.” Before their final break, New Found Glory played the crowd pleasing single from their self-titled album, “Dressed To Kill.”
I’m not really into horse racing, so this break seemed to last an abnormal amount of time. Finally, NFG jumped back on the stage and got the crowd pumped back up with “Hit Or Miss.” Can I also mention how happy I (along with everyone else) was about them playing ALL of their old hits? What a great journey to the past this show was. “Head On Collision” was the highlight of the show for me, complete with thousands of pop-punk kids my age screaming along to the lyrics. New Found Glory topped off the show with, of course, “My Friends Over You.”
Unlike a lot of older pop-punk bands, to which I won’t name names, New Found Glory still has the charisma and energy that they started out with fifteen years ago. Seeing them live again made me appreciate NFG and pop-punk music in general even more. I definitely recommend checking out a show while they’re still around!
Review and photos by Rachel Martin