Date: May 1st, 2013
Venue: The Croft, Bristol
Support: Gnarwolves / The American Scene
The Croft will be shutting down in a couple of weeks time, and one of the biggest shows left is The Story So Far‘s visit to Bristol town. Everyone’s favourite pop-punkers are here campaigning to make standing still a crime in what is a unique opportunity to see the band before they inevitably start playing far bigger venues.
A packed out Croft sees Gnarwolves (***) open festivities, looking a little bare with only three members but still providing some whimsy and wonder with their fast/slow pop-punk frivolity. Guitarist/vocalist Thom‘s eyes widen with every note he belts out and scruffy haired Charlie screams along with him to belie the lack of depth in the band. Max on drums is also well awake and hammering away as Gnarwolves warm up the crowd nicely. There’s even space for a ‘Basket Case’ cover thrown in.
A curious booking are The American Scene (**) who bring with them as much action as your nan watching Flog It. At a pop-punk show, you’re looking for something to get the crowd moving, but TAS end up gently breathing all over the audience with their inoffensive indie rock. Without looking at the band, you might expect them to look something like Keane or Travis, but centre stage Matt Vincent in fact looks like an acorn trying to do squats as he hunches, holding his bass up high. It’s hard to ignore the steady stream of people leaving the room. A top band on record, but out of place on this line-up.
What’s left to be said about The Story So Far (*****)? As soon as the first notes of ‘Roam’ sound out, a sea of crowdsurfers bombard the audience from all directions. Every last word is hurled back at Parker Cannon and his uber-powerful voice is almost drowned out. Punch after punch, The Story So Far catapult killer tunes all over the room with new songs from ‘What You Don’t See’, like ‘Right Here’ and ‘Stifled’ fitting in side by side with the older ones, like ‘High Regard’ and ‘Daughters’. A set that doesn’t drag is always a good marker of an impressive performance, and a quick encore of ‘Closure’ puts the icing on the cake.
Despite the lack of smiles from Parker, you’d hope that TSSF as a whole are having fun taking the world by storm. But that’s the thing, are they actually? Clearly tonight is an anomaly thanks to The Croft’s situation, but they really should be playing bigger venues by now. Tonight’s show sold out months in advance and the amount of support around proves that they’ve got what it takes to be this generation’s Blink-182.
A final word for The Croft then – over the years there have been some top gigs performed there, and many more will continue at the new home of The Exchange, albeit not in the Stokes Croft area. A fine venue that has given more than its worth and will be greatly appreciated long after its demise.
Written by MG Savage