Story and Photos: Spencer Fleming
Pop punk legends New Found Glory are back on the road! They're out supporting their brand-new album Make The Most Of It and this time they're going acoustic. The 23 date run kicked off Saturday night in St. Louis so Omaha (1/29) was just the second stop on their cross country trek.
I got into New Found Glory around the time their first major label record came out. My brothers and I heard "Hit Or Miss" on a sub-par skateboard game soundtrack (this was pre-Tony Hawk's Pro Skater). I could fill a whole page digging into Tony Hawk but suffice it to say the songs were the best part of the game. After hearing that single we got the self-titled CD and went on to see New Found Glory at Warped Tour alongside one of our other favorites MxPx and classic bands like Rancid and Bad Religion.
A few years after the self-titled album pop punk really started hitting the main stream with bands like New Found Glory, Good Charlotte, Avril Lavigne, and Fall Out Boy playing center stage. New Found Glory's Sticks and Stones album dominated MTV and they would go on to play arenas on package tours with some of their Warped Tour alums.
Over the years the venues may have changed, but New Found Glory is still going strong releasing new music every couple years and consistently touring to a dedicated fanbase. On this particular snowy Omaha evening hundreds packed the Slowdown to a near sell-out to take in the band's latest release and hear some old favorites.
I arrived plenty early but I still had to park illegally (shhhh don't tell Marc Leibowitz). The Slowdown center was packed in every direction. I made my way inside from the frosty winds and was greeted by the smell of roasted coffee. New Found Glory recently launched a coffee line cleverly named "My Brew Over You". I made my way to the merch booth that was already snaked around past the bar and patiently waited for one of the autographed posters. I used to collect shirts but I've really enjoyed getting into posters since they won't get stained or ripped and can be preserved under glass. This evening's unique poster featured a Union Pacific design and was autographed by the band.
I made my way towards the stage only to see my photo buddy Mitch from Lincoln. It's always a good time seeing fellow photographers and getting to talk shop for a bit. Later on we met Shelly and her son Donovan "Donny" who will be performing in his first show in June. Mamma Shelly is raising him right, showing him New Found Glory (the good stuff)!
Before New Found Glory we were treated to the lovely sounds of Leanna Firestone. She was sweet and humble telling us how nervous she was and not to wince too much if she messes up. The bulk of her set was centered around a new E.P. that she just released. The well crafted songs tell a tale of heartbreak and the power of love's redeeming grace. One of the first songs relates "You didn't like me that much" which Leanna explains is ok. "Breakups can be a blessing in disguise". Her next couple songs focused on finding new love and how the right person is in her life after going through the breakup and coming out the other side. I'm not doing her justice so go and listen to the new E.P. HERE.
Between Leanna's set and New Found Glory I had several interesting chats with the folks around me, particularly about one fan's ambitions to record an all cat themed album titled "Mew Found Glory" CAT-alyst. It would be pressed on a fur vinyl. This is super inside baseball but also pure absurdity. Sorry guy if your "million dollar" idea gets stolen, but I had a blast talking about the secret project.
Shortly after 9:00 PM New Found Glory took the stage to thunderous applause. The guys had stools set up except for lead singer Jordan. Ian and Cyrus flanked stage right while Chad hunkered down on stage left. Surprisingly, the band kicked things off with a brand-new song "Get Me Home". The crowd swooned back and forth to the mellow vibes as Jordan slapped high fives and gave fist bumps to the fans who were within reach. With no barricade the band was as close as you can get! Compared to the last show at Slowdown this was a massive change of pace. There were no stage divers or crowd surfers to contend with. However, as I was about two songs in I got bumped from behind. I turned around and who should I see??????
It was the crazy girl from the last New Found Glory show at the Slowdown who spilled her drink on my camera!!! My mind was absolutely blown. I know Omaha is small, but the chances it would be the same exact problem child is just crazy. I told her "I remember you from last time" which she took as a compliment. I turned to her friend and with a straight face said "Not in a good way". She went on to scan through fuzzy memories only to say "I don't remember. I've been kicked out of New Found Glory, Less Than Jake, and Bowling For Soup". This is just my personal opinion, but sober shows are way better. You'll save money which you can spend on merch, you'll remember way more details, and you most likely won't get kicked out. Just sayin.
After a few songs up front I retired to the back for some wide shots. Throughout the set the band made sure to address the crowd and thank everyone for coming out. Chad said "A few months ago when the tour dates came out I asked our booking manager, on our way up from St. Louis how come we're not playing Omaha at the Slowdown?". This got a huge reaction from the crowd. I'm not sure what Chad said to their agent, but I'm glad they could squeeze us in on the route.
New Found Glory gave Omaha a nice mix of old and new songs making sure to not skip the classics like "My Friends Over You", "Sonny", "All Down Hill From Here", "Hit Or Miss", and "Understatement". They even pulled out a few covers including "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls and "I'll Be" by Edwin McCain. For myself and many in the crowd New Found Glory is the soundtrack of our lives, the essence of our misspent youth. Electric or acoustic, the band always delivers an amazing performance and brings me back to those crazy Warped Tour summers. Before mortgages and taxes, when the only thing you had to worry about was which Hot Topic studded belt and vans you were going to wear to the show.
For New Found Glory, the tour rolls on through the end of March. If you get the chance, hit up this show and let me know which studded belt you're going to wear!
A huge thanks to New Found Glory's team for photo access and shout out to the Slowdown for holding my poster for me!
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New Found Glory