You won’t see pyro or a fancy light shows tonight. There won’t be the costume changes you might expect at a Taylor Swift show. Tonight will not involve Alice Cooper style theatrics, because that isn’t what a Gnarwolves’ show is about. Gnarwolves shows consist of two things: meaningful passionate punk music and fun, and tonight certainly delivered these expectations. The second I opened the door to Rescue Rooms, the atmosphere hit me. It was a buzzing gig in a packed out club on a Sunday night, and I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the crowd. Having seen Gnarwolves play smaller venues twice before, it was obvious that the reception was well deserved, but nonetheless remained surprising given the context.
I arrived as Austrian Skate Punks Public Domain were beginning their set. They blasted through a few heavy numbers, and the crowd took to them kindly, seeing the first pits of the night opening up. Remaining an entertaining watch for the entirety of their set, they put on a nice show and went some way to getting the crowd warm for the headliners.
The wait between each band lasted as long as the time each of the support bands were allowed, so the electricity calmed down drastically by the time main support, Prawn walked on stage. Welcomed politely, the now full venue waited quietly as three of the four members carried out a very brief sound check: one member did not however. This plan of course backfired almost immediately when thirty seconds into the first song the whole band stop due to having no bass. The crowd laughed and awkwardly waited while the bassist found a new lead for his DI box; it wasn’t long however until the band was playing again. They jumped straight back in where they left off, as professionals would. The ability to do this is impressive and also necessary as almost straight away they had to stop again, this time due to a guitar falling out of tune. Certainly an interesting start to a gig.
Prawn stood out on this bill, classing themselves as an indie/emo band from New Jersey, but there are clear differences in musical style from both the openers and the main act. Regardless they marched through and after ten minutes or so they found their rhythm so to speak. The crowd begin to appreciate them more, as they showed us exactly who they are. They played songs that are reminiscent of a slightly more atmospheric and energetic Jimmy Eat World-esq vibe, and that wasn’t a bad thing as shown by the crowd’s reaction. Once they reached this point they became an incredibly tight live band; complex harmonies were successfully pulled off and the reason they were picked for the tour becomes very clear. The impressive performance appeared to win over a large majority of the crowd, though whether they warmed everyone up or not is perhaps questioned by the group previously involved in the mosh pit who spent the entire set sat on the floor.
Warm or not, everyone in the building was ready for Gnarwolves. The band walked out on stage to a hero’s welcome and plug in. Before the words even left singer Thom Weeks’ mouth, the entire crowd was singing along to new single ‘Bottle to Bottle’. The very first moment of music was overwhelmed by the vocals of 400 fans, and the explosion of energy within the crowd. Weeks lets out a cheeky smile and looked to his bandmates as if to check this is actually happening. Gnarwolves fans have always been dedicated but tonight 400 people sang every word while the venue was consumed by a room-wide mosh pit, and was flooded with crowd surfers. This seemed to calm everyone’s nerves over whether it would still be as intimate now that the band were playing on a tall stage behind a barricade.
Even Weeks expressed concern about this saying as soon as he arrived on stage ‘We’re really sorry about this barrier, we thought it wouldn’t be up tonight, but we can still have fun right?’ Fun was definitely had, and after forty five minutes of singing, dancing and screaming ,the band, the crowd and the security team (put in place by the venue to stop crowd surfers getting hurt) were left sweaty, bruised and exhausted; yet chants of one more song still roared through the venue. These chants were answered by the return of the band to rip through ‘We Want the Whip!’ and ‘A Gram is Better Than a Damn’ before walking straight off stage into the venue to hang out with fans. Tonight was a celebration of the success of Gnarwolves and a reminder of why they deserve it.
By Liam Fleming