Pop-punk troupe WSTR have had a pretty great year by all accounts. After relentless touring and the small matter of dropping their sophomore release ‘Identity Crisis’, it’s fair to say that they can count 2018 a success. So, as they aim to end the year on an almighty high, what better way to build up to Christmas than with a great bill of pop-punk goodness.
First up on the teeny floor stage are London’s Hey Charlie . They might not have the biggest crowd, but my word, do they make their set count. The directness of their fuzzy opener ‘She Looks Like A Dreamer’ drives relentlessly through the room, while the rest of their set combines glossy three-piece harmonies with stomping grunge-punk riffage that just absolutely rips.
Even their stage presence is impressive as all three don the same outfit, and they seem to have their choreography down to a tee too. Granted, they suffer a few technical hitches, but their sound is so distinctively punchy and grunge-fuelled that it undoubtedly makes up for any errors. In short, Hey Charlie put on a truly fantastic set.
To top the first support act would be some challenge, but, thankfully, a dose of delightfully pop-punk energy from up-and-comers Between You & Me  is exactly the right medicine to keep us moving, bursting out to the sweet sounds of neatly-performed single ‘Overthinking’. The Aussie lot bring a sun-soaked swagger from down under that ensures the atmosphere in this tiny venue continues to feel electric.
There’s hardly a body not jumping at the sound of ‘Friends Of 96’ or the ever-catchy ‘Dakota’, which arguably get the largest roars from the crowd. Yet, it’s frontman Jake Wilson who steals the show, with his effortlessly smooth vocals and ability to morph into a Spiderman-like figure as he hangs from the ceiling before diving head first into the crowd, capping off a perfect set.
Liverpool rabble WSTR  have deservedly built their own hype to a great peak over the last couple of years, with two solid albums that have seen their fanbase expand to a much larger audience. As they come out on stage to the sound of Jigsaw’s voice (who says something about playing a game, of course), the floor pounces forward to shout the words of ‘Tell Me More’ right back in the band’s faces.
They waste no time hitting their stride either, dishing out a shed-load of driving melodies and more swooping bass drops than Skrillex could dream of. Well, maybe not that many. On record, the difference between WSTR‘s releases is noticeable, with their latest offering ‘Identity Crisis’ feeling a bit less gritty than its predecessor ‘Red, Green And Inbetween’ and their ‘SKRWD’ EP, but in this live setting you’d never tell.
Earlier tracks like ‘Footprints’ and ‘Eastbound And Down’ ease seamlessly into newer cuts like ‘The Latest’ and ‘Promiscuous’. Yet, even frontman Sammy Clifford has a joke about how some fans reacted to their new material, particularly the mixed reception of ‘Bad To The Bone’ before demonstrating why it is such a great track.
After a short bout of time off the stage, only to be ended by Jigsaw once again summoning the band back out, a quick-fire trio of ‘Crisis’, ‘Silly Me’, and the infectious hit that is ‘Lonely Smiles’ draws their lively set to a furious finale. This tour sums up WSTR‘s success over the past year; great tracks and electric energy, all packed into a tiny little venue.
Writer for DEAD PRESS! | Literature undergrad with a love for all things punk | Often found sipping on coffee or craft beer, whilst attempting to write some words.