There are few bands that are more synonymous with the early 2010s pop-punk resurgence than Knuckle Puck. The Chicago natives are mainstays within that community in the UK, the USA and beyond, with their blend of cathartic and aggressive music.
Off the back of a cancelled tour at the tail end of last year due to lead singer Joe Taylor‘s struggles with mental health, the band’s musical stature has only grown, which leads us to the sold out opening date of their UK tour in Bristol’s The Fleece.
Kicking off proceedings are California based quartet Movements  whose blend of melodic post-hardcore causes raucous crowd surfing and huge sing-alongs that are almost unheard of from an opener. Straight from the get go the room is full to the rafters, which is testament to the group’s growing stature.
The set is short and sweet, but the band rip through their back-catalogue to an extremely animated crowd. They say “Always leave your audience wanting more,” and that’s exactly what Movements have done tonight.
With their raging success, the task for Tiny Moving Parts  becomes a lot more daunting and, unfortunately, they don’t quite hit the heights of the evening’s predecessors. The band’s distinct brand of soft but frantic and disjointed emo is musically incredible and hugely impressive. However, what they boast in musicianship they lack in stage presence and set cohesion.
Closing their set with ‘Always Focused’ quickly followed by ‘Caution’ was, however, a masterstroke in an otherwise dull set. The two stand out tracks caused some form of crowd reaction and were by far the most exciting part of their time onstage.
Following a rather anti-climactic support act, Knuckle Puck  deliver a performance that epitomises why they’re such an important band for today’s pop-punk scene, and will continue to be a staple for years to come. Smashing through 15 of their most adored tracks, the band deliver a career defining performance.
Opening with ‘Gone’, the first single from the their latest record ‘Shapeshifter’, a plethora of crowd surfers, mosh pits, and stage divers sets the tone for the evening. You name it, Knuckle Puck brought it. On the odd occasion where there’s a moment that isn’t fast paced, such as the melodic ‘Conduit’, the crowd are more than happy to oblige with a sing-along that would’ve been fitting of any arena in the UK.
Perhaps there’s an argument that a lack of earlier material could’ve been a detriment to the show, especially when the biggest crowd participation of the evening comes in the form of the deafeningly loud ‘No Good’. Having been taken off the band’s set on their tours across the US earlier this year, tonight is living proof that it can never leave again.
Ending on ‘Untitled’, it’s clear that the band have had just as much, if not more, than the audience this time round. One year after a cancelled tour and a particularly difficult time for the band, Knuckle Puck have returned stronger than ever with a live show that rivals anyone else in their scene right now.
News Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Part-time drinker. | Pop-punk and Manchester United | Been trying to make fetch happen since 2004.