On a night the American stars were supposed to take the plaudits it was the local support who really impressed. There is no shame in this at all Such Gold and Koji both put on an accomplished engaging performance it just happened to be the night Floorboards chose to completely slay an audience.
There is an instant sense of excited anticipation in the packed Frog and Fiddle barn as Floorboards prepare to start their set, as far as the Gloucestershire live music scene is concerned there are few bands generating this amount of hype. With a singer in the crowd and a stage full of charisma they begin what instantly feels like a break through moment, the sense of purpose and the energy are infectious and within moments the audience are on board and in full voice.
With every song (including a new one) the band develop in intensity and the audience become more entwined in the set. The unique combination of Midwest emo, indie and at times the complexity of math rock create layer upon layer of interest. Once paired with presence and charisma all over the stage Floorboards have an engaging live style. As the set ends with the singer once more in the audience this time lying flat in the centre of the floor there is a real sense that this room have witnessed something special.
Following on from local heroes is never ideal, but with a calming presence Koji plays through a set of emotional, political acoustic songs. His voice is both calming and emotive and his stage patter is purposeful. This felt like very clever booking and a much needed moment of calmness and reflection. From track to track this is a set that engages and provokes though, ultimately though as it ends the whole room just looks like they want to give Koji a hug.
In the last few years Ducking Punches have been absolute stalwarts of the DIY scene, elements of the band flow through various scenes. Previously their politically heavy folk inspired punk was critically acclaimed. With their recent change in musical direction guitars have been set to electric but emotion and political ideas continue as the focus. With a voice filled with individuality DP could play any style of music and be instantly recognisable.
The postrock/grunge influence in the musicianship carries this set throughout, with building moments crassly torn down with feedback. There are moments comparative to the revival of noughties influenced punk balanced with choruses that could light up the saddest solo project.
With the room feeling strangely empty Such Gold begin to tackle their back catalogue at a furious pace, with tracks following tracks and discussion kept to a minimum. Their passion and ferocity is infectious, within a few songs the audience are joining in and within a few more they are singing word for word. This is a set full of variety which spans their decade of recording there are a lot of crowd pleasers and this is essentially a greatest hits set list.
With greatest hits of this standard it is no surprise to see Such Gold exit the stage to a combination of applause and a hunger for more from the audience.