Tonight’s show came with a lesson on logistics and dire circumstances – it turns out the institute in Birmingham is now sponsored by O2 and a different venue from the Academy. In learning this lesson the distance between the venues turned out to be the exact same amount of time Apologies I Have None were on stage for, this was a pretty harsh punishment as they are one of the best punk bands in the UK right now and a killer live act.
Luckily this show had an incredible line up and entering the already packed venue into the post Apologies I Have None buzz meant it was time for Gnarwolves. In a set which historically mapped an already incredible catalogue of releases there was also a glimpse into the band’s future. If the two new tracks are a benchmark – the future of Gnarwolves is melodic grunge with a wonderful nod towards melodic hardcore. It is also engaging and full of hooks, in not very long these songs will be an important part of live sets.
After a few hints of what the future may hold the set burst into retrospective life with live classics which were rapidly fired at the audience with a wonderful intensity. As they left the stage there was a feeling that the show couldn’t possibly get any better.
After a considerable effort to dress the stage and prepare the sound, the Front Bottoms took the stage and the temperature and sounds made a cold November day feel like summer. There is more to the Fro Bo’s than pop punk alone and during an incredible and lengthy headline set this was repeatedly proved. From emotive acoustic lead numbers to hearty folk punk these New Jersey natives had compiled a set which had everything.
Everything but charisma between songs, this is where the show fell slightly flat. In a room of this size and watching an act of this size I would expect a stronger stage patter. However, discounting this minor issue the show was of incredible quality and energy. The crowd were on board on backup vocals for the entire show, every song was sung back at an incredible volume, showing a diehard support and creating a beautiful atmosphere. The instrumentation and tight harmonies were faultless, this is an example of a band who can step up on any stage and fill it with an incredibly accomplished sound.
All in all this was a great punk show and there is a possibility that Gnarwolves played one of 2016’s hype bands off the stage.