@ Newcastle o2 Academy, May 3 2010

The Give It A Name tour has always been a showcase of what the pop punk industry has to offer.

In the past it has given birth to bands that would go onto mainstream success and has seen the likes of My Chemical Romance, Paramore and Lostprophets grace its stage. However, 2010 sees the mini festival being confined to an ‘introducing’ tour promoting the bands of the future.

This tour saw Michigan’s own The Swellers top a bill that consisted of four other bands vying to be the next Paramore.  The class of 2010 pop punks has a lot to live up to when judged alongside the calibre of bands which once entertained thousands on the first Give It A Name tour.

Opening act The Dangerous Summer seemed to be the best of an unspectacular bunch and created a reminiscent blend of The Starting Line and The Early November.  Sadly they were playing to a maximum of 15 people and went largely unappreciated.

Other acts Anarbor, The Wild and Rio did little to capture the imagination with all acts sounding very similar to what went before.  The monotony that has plagued pop punk for a long time was there for everyone to see; there is no originality with bands of this ilk anymore.

In contrast headliners The Swellers provided light at the end of pop punk tunnel.  As the Academy filled to half capacity they waltzed out on stage and kicked straight into 2009 and Fire Away taken from their new album Ups And Downsizing.

The Swellers gave the audience something that the other four bands hadn’t managed and that was pop punk akin to that which was loved in the late 1990s.  With a style similar to punk legends No Use For A Name and Millencolin it’s clear to see why The Swellers have been getting so much publicity of late.

This is a band that has been raised on the music of the classic American punk bands of that era and is mirrored in their live performances.  Cheered on by a small group of very passionate followers The Swellers treated them to some “old tunes” including the excellent They All Float Down Here and Tunnel Vision.  The latter seeing a mass sing-a-long.

An accomplished performance from the Michigan four-piece ended with band members getting down to shake hands with their loyal followers.  The Swellers were the true highlight of the tour and, bearing in mind that is their first UK tour, it would seem the boys have a bright future in front of them.

Tom Walsh