With the sound of Apologies, I Have None warming up the crowd as I walked in, it was evident The Front Bottoms had chosen energetic support acts with a complimentary post-punk vibe to match their own.
The sense of community amongst the indie-clad fans was undeniable, with many cradling a pint to distract from the fact that they’d come alone to see a beloved band from across the sea, unable to convince anyone to join them once they’d heard the, um, euphemistic name. Gradually the mismatch of Leeds’ indie community filed in to catch Gnarwolves’ set. The Brighton based band, although humbled to be the support, may as well have been the headliners themselves; the front half of the crowd sang every word back, gloriously out of tune.
Finally, the lights dimmed and everyone packed in to hear what was coming. The beauty of this band is any song would have sufficed; there are quite literally none that disappoint. Graced with the punchy guitar intro of ‘Skeleton’, a sea of nodding heads and wailing voices began and didn’t end for the next hour. Under crowd pleasers like ‘2YL’, ‘HELP’ and ‘Funny You Should Ask’, the energy in the room was intoxicating, so much so that I didn’t even care handfuls of my hair were being ripped out by Casio watches left, right and centre. Though still not over the embarrassment of Brexit, I can’t deny the pang of national pride I felt when frontman Brian dedicated ‘Twin Size Mattress’ to “the first person who ever took us to Wetherspoons”. If the British aren’t all mascots of ‘Spoons, what are we?
Replacing calls for an encore with an intermission involving a reading about a deer I’m still confused about, the band reappeared to end things off with ‘Jim Bogart’, letting the audience duet in place of Natalie Newbold. After announcing they were heading to “the cool big boat bar” we lovingly know as Dry Dock, the band played ‘Maps’ and said farewell.
Although your mum will raise her eyebrows when you tell her their name, don’t let it deter you from grabbing a ticket whilst they’re still on British soil. Let’s be honest, when else will you get to see a band who bang out a trumpet in the midst of their punk-rock set?