Live Review: Gnarwolves , Bodega (15/12/2015)

“I’m not normally one for this sort of thing, but this has definitely been the best show of the tour, maybe ever” proclaims bassist Charlie Piper as he looks out over a bustling Bodega crowd. Gnarwolves have been growing their cult following exponentially since 2011, this show is a great example of this. Having gone from playing to less than 30 people a night in dingy clubs, the band are now filling different, slightly less dingy, clubs. Regardless of where they are playing Gnarwolves always bring one hell of a show.

Openers Such Gold provided a slightly heavier form of contemporary punk to a great reception. The Bodega was full before the band had finished their set, which is a rarity for opening bands, from their performance it was evident that they deserved the crowd. The New York based quartet raced through a relatively short set which saw an impressive mosh pit tearing across the venue.

Spraynard received rupturous applause, blasting straight into their refined mix of pop-punk goodness. “I am every person you have ever ignored, I am the flaming bag of dog shit on your porch” seemed to be the line to bring the crowd on board with what Spraynard were. Anyone that didn’t know the band previously, realised that the band were going to be providing some fun punk/emo songs that would be fun to dance to. Organising for two American punk groups to be the support bands for a UK club tour must have required a lot of logistical work, but the fans seemed very grateful for it and so they should be. One thing is for certain, Spraynard were no flaming bag of dog shit tonight. A stand out band with some good songs and a whole heap of potential.

Both support bands seemed to suffer from the mixing at this show. Guitars often overpowering vocals, leaving the sound messy and at times almost incoherent. Then again, I don’t remember Punk ever claiming to be anything other than messy. Gnarwolves didn’t suffer this problem, simply for the fact that the vocal line was being sung by 250 people. Remember what I said before about a cult following? This show wasn’t sold out to people that knew one or two songs and thought the band were alright. 250 die hard fans of Gnarwolves pushed and shoved to get the best view of a fantastic punk band singing snotty songs they can relate to. The band found themselves in awe of the reaction. Each song was not only brought to life, but improved in the live atmosphere. Gnarwolves found themselves thriving in their first Nottingham show that wasn’t separated by an invasive barrier.

“Each song was not only brought to life, but improved in the live atmosphere”

After storming through a set of hits, a miscommunication with stage banter left Gnarwolves challenging anyone in the audience to come up and do their job. This confrontation was met with a smile by a kid that claimed to know the guitar line for ‘Bottle to Bottle’. After initially failing to show singer Thom Weeks that he could play it, he was informed that the song was in Dropped D as opposed to standard tuning. Weeks retuned his guitar and told the kid he had one last chance to show them that he could play the song. When he began to play it the crowd, and band, exploded. “You’ve got four hi-hat hits then you’re in kid”. The band played through the entirety of the song with their special guest. None of the band members could seem to believe that someone had sat at home learning to play their songs.

Just one more song took the band to the venue’s official curfew. It was assumed that the band would perform an encore after walking offstage, but the curfew had been reached and it looked as though the show would have to be ended there. The lights were raised. The audience, heartbroken that they had been denied an encore, continued to chant to express their dissatisfaction. Suddenly the band reappeared onstage. “The security bloke just said: you had probably go and play another song. How nice was that?! Let’s hear it for the man letting us break the rules”. After playing two more, the show was truly over. Jumping straight offstage to talk to fans, the band were once again revered. This was a very fun show indeed.

Liam Fleming

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