REVIEW: New Found Glory – ‘Kill It Live’

New Found Glory Kill It Live

Artist: New Found Glory
Album: Kill It Live
Genre: Pop Punk
Label: Violently Happy / Bridge Nine

New Found Glory have held a firm footing on the alternative music scene for the better part of 15+ years, and in that time, they haven’t released one live album prior to Kill It Live, and they went all out to do it all in the most fitting way possible with two back to back shows at Southern California’s Chain Reaction venue. Chad Gilbert, one of the band’s guitarists pretty much summed it up on the closing of “Don’t Let Her Pull You Down,” when he said, “We wanted it to be intimate. Because these shows are the reason why we wanted to be a band. You know, singing along, stage diving, and all that stuff; we’re going to try to capture that on this record.” Yes, this is the same Chad Gilbert who was electrocuted during the first day of recording and thankfully, made it out of the hospital in time to make it for his band’s second set. On top of the 17 live tracks, there was a fresh batch of three studio recorded songs thrown in for good measure, making Kill It Live one of the group’s most unique releases thus far.

Is there really a correct way to criticize a live album? In many ways, they’re nothing more than a greatest hits album, but with more of a budget to back it. I had the chance to catch New Found Glory play to the closest thing to a hometown crowd at Warped 2012 in West Palm Beach, FL, and it was a sight to see. Many of the theatrics, moments, and dynamics that the band has incorporated into their set are all here. Crowd participation is shown in full force, like the moments where vocalist Jordan Pundik exchanges lines with the crowd on the final chorus of “Hit Or Miss,” and even the gang-vocal intro to the band’s longtime encore and fan favorite, “My Friends Over You.” Kill It Live is the sound of a veteran pop-punk band playing through years upon years of material to a crowd that’s clearly bouncing off the walls.

Because this is a live album made up of some of the band’s material that we’ve all known and heard for so long now, this review’s going to lean heavily on the three new songs, and I’m going to say it right off the bat: these are among the best songs that this band have out. Serving as a bridge between their signature musicianship and the sonic approach that was brought out on their Mania covers album, “I Want To Believe” hits all of the marks of what one would expect from an NFG song. “Connect The Dots” is a definite hit in every sense of the word and is surely going to be on future set lists to come. This is all finished off at the end by “First Bite,” which seems to instrumentally resemble their heavier tracks, but also reminds me of the melodies that came off Coming Home, the album that helped the band gain exposure to the TRL crowd in 2006.

There are plenty of things to discuss when on the topic of New Found Glory, but the most talked about things that I’ve heard from others has almost always been how genuinely fun their shows are. They were among the first to the pop-punk/hardcore throwdown, and their discography shows a lot of that authenticity when held up next to other bands who are more obsessed over the experience of playing the music than actually creating the music, almost in the kind of way that diamonds can cut rocks. Kill It Live shows just why NFG are still killing it, both in the studio and at your local venue.

Rating: 8.5/10
Reviewed by: Adrian Garza (Follow him on Twitter)

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