Back in February 2011, fresh faced punk rock newcomers Such Gold were yet to release a full-length record, but embarked on an extensive UK tour playing the best of small independent music venues, and even took their mate KoJi along for the ride to open up the shows.
Fast-forward to present day, and the New York band have enjoyed a career taking their fast paced pop-punk internationally, and have just headed back to the UK for a big crop of shows with their old buddy KoJi once again.
The problem with playing the independent circuit is that you’ll be in smaller towns on weekdays, and a show in Wolverton on the outskirts of Milton Keynes is not going to attract huge crowds for bands like Such Gold on a Monday night. Alas, the excellent The Craufurd Arms is a prime example of independent venues with an intimate setting, faultless sound, and a friendly atmosphere that the bands embrace all evening.
KoJi  takes to the stage first, and it must be colder here than in Pennsylvania as the singer is wrapped up in a huge jacket with scarf and beanie. He’s joined on stage by Such Gold members Ben Kotin and Matt Covey playing bass and drums respectively, but KoJi plays ‘Hemlock’ solo to perfection with all the quiet and fragile emotion being respected perfectly.
‘Stay’ and ‘Fury’ pick up the pace, but the vocals have a 90s rock/grunge feel to them – think Billy Corgan singing an Ash song. The Harrisburg singer has been out of the music game for three years running a bar in Brooklyn, but jumped at the opportunity to get back out and tour tracks like ‘Peacemaker’. ‘Chasing A Ghost’ is a melodic folk infused track that lures emotion and picks up the tempo at all the right times to form soft sing-alongs. Hopefully this tour triggers KoJi back into music for the foreseeable future.
Norwich’s Ducking Punches  are punchy, tight, and play a brand of punk rock that varies the tempo song to song, and are able to incite sing-alongs with thought-provoking lyrics. ‘Distant Shadows’ is one of a few tracks from 2018’s ‘Alamort’ with a calming, melodic chorus, whereas ‘Fun Fun Fun’ sounds like Lower Than Atlantis way back.
The folk twinge in ‘It’s Been A Bad Few Weeks’ is reminiscent of Frank Turner, but it’s the big gang vocal finish in ‘Big Brown Pills From Lynn’ that shows the band at their best this evening. It looks like Ducking Punches have made a few new fans during the set tonight, and the opening riff to closer ‘Smoking Spot’ all but confirms it with smiles firmly appearing on everyone watching.
Headliners Such Gold  dive head first into ‘Two Year Plan’, which seems twice as fast as every other song that we’ve heard so far tonight, but it’s also one of the best received. The New York band’s Set Your Goals style of hardcore influenced pop-punk is musically energetic and exciting, with ‘Locked Out Of The Magic Theater’ sounding particularly good, but the band seem awkwardly unimpressed with the night and don’t seem particularly into it which puts the crowd off from paying full attention; even to the extent that fans are calling for old favourite ‘Four Superbowls, No Rings’ despite the band already played it.
‘Ransom’ from 2017’s EP ‘Deep In A Hole’ has some great harmonies on the chorus amongst the relentless drums which make the 2 minute track pack a real punch, but it’s too much to follow for ‘Nauseating’ falls a bit flat in comparison. There are a few moments while Such Gold talk amongst themselves and announce different numbers of songs left before realising that they’ve run out of time, so they blast into ‘Gut Rot’ to end the somewhat strange show.
It’s not overly clear whether the band were enjoying their Wolverton trip tonight, but the music lovers who turned out on this cold Monday night certainly did. The crowd were treated to a variety of different styles of punk rock from this side of the Atlantic to the other, and that’s something that we all should celebrate and cherish.