LIVE: Gnarwolves @ The Fleece, Bristol (23/04/2015)

Date: April 23rd, 2015
Venue: The Fleece, Bristol
Support: Drug Church / The Smith Street Band


Punk rock seems to live in Bristol in the year 2015 thanks to some excellent promoter work, and tonight’s it’s Deadpunk Promotions that have gathered together one of the UK’s brightest hopes along with an intriguing supporting cast.

A jetlagged Drug Church (****) are charged with entertaining an impressive amount of people for the opening act. As a band on the No Sleep Records roster, it seems only right that they’re dragging their weary limbs across the stage. In between songs, charismatic frontman Patrick Kindlon waxes about his interest for chavs as he commands the silence that inevitably greets him. As he sings, he looks a lot like a young Peter Capaldi, and he’s certainly as pissed off as the famous Scot as well. Drug Church play a lot of songs that sound the same, but they don’t drag at any point. In other pastures, they’d be the ones commanding the rounds of applause, but they play second fiddle today to the main act in a respectful way.

Aussie four-piece The Smith Street Band (***) play a type of music that is slightly different to the other two bands on show. It’s a more folky take on punk that at times sounds like it could be out of the 60s. It’s a shame that the vocals are too loud, because the on stage banter is lost amongst the airwaves most of the time. TSSB play tracks from latest release ‘Throw Me In The River’, including ‘Something I Can Hold In My Hands’ and the album’s title track. The older material comes across better though, with the enjoyable ‘Sigourney Weaver’ warranting a crowd singalong (or shoutalong). There’s also the amusing juxtaposition of ‘Young Drunk’ sounding out as lots of unwrinkled faces watch on, sipping their beverages.

Whenever watched live, there’s something about Gnarwolves (*****) that makes you think you’re witnessing a band that will sit atop the punk rock pyramid along with the likes of Green Day and The Offspring. The three amigos of Thom (vocals/guitar), Charlie (bass/guitar), and Max (drums), are so down to earth that it’s easy to forget that a gig is happening at times and that you’re not hanging out with your mates at the park. There’s a constant glut of energy that’s exemplified by the hundreds of stagedivers and crowdsurfers. Songs from the debut eponymous album ‘Bottle To Bottle’ and ‘Smoking Kills’ manage to be aggressive but melodic at the same time, causing lots of shouted return lyrics by the warm audience. Despite being the first ever penned track by the Kernow trio, ‘Party Jams’ still pulls a huge reaction too.

A circle pit breaks out near the end of a 45 minute set before the shortest wait for an encore in history and another two songs. Gnarwolves are on the track to superstardom, and if they keep showing like they did tonight then there’ll be nothing in their way to stop them reaching the top.

Written by MG Savage (@MGSavagewriter)

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