Gnarwolves are always on tour. And that’s a good thing.City: Bristol
Date: 2nd December 2014
With no disrespect to their excellent trio of EPs and debut long-player, it’s the band’s relentless touring that has brought them to where they stand at the end of 2014. Where they stand is main stage at Reading Festival, support slots with Blink 182 and a largely sold out UK and European tour of the biggest venues they’ve headlined.
For this extensive UK/EU run, the band have brought along one of Topshelf Records’ standout acts, Prawn. Fresh from releasing their second full-length Kingfisher in August, this current tour is their second run in Europe, after a 2012 tour with Ape Up! to showcase their then-new EP Ships.
“Tracks from Kingfisher and Ships make up the set”
In those two years, the New Jersey natives have been through multiple line-up changes, each one bringing a new dynamic to the band, adding to the distinctive tones of frontman Tony Clark and biblical drums of Jamie Houghton. The half an hour Prawn are given to play on this tour doesn’t nearly provide enough space for the band’s power to really show, but a mix of tracks from Kingfisher and Ships make up the set which manages to keep the attention of the strikingly young crowd Gnarwolves bring, who favour the pop-punk side of the band’s repertoire over their emo-leanings that bring Prawn to the show. ‘Grass and Bones’ and closer ‘Donald Domesky’ sound as huge and touching as when Ships first came out, and it’s that EP’s songs that connect most with the sizeable crowd.
Gnarwolves are officially given an hour to play on the timesheet for the night, but, as always, their frenetic punk arrives, dominates and leaves within half an hour, leaving no-one feeling short changed. Despite the success of this year’s full-length release, it’s tracks from the CRU and Funemployed EPs that get the biggest reactions. Although they must get it every night now, singer Thom Weeks still seemed visibly stunned at the frightening volume at which CRU track ‘Community, Stability, Identity’ was howled back at him.
“Their frenetic punk arrives, dominates and leaves within half an hour”
An encore (however planned or unplanned) of two further tracks from CRU is played out, with teenagers making full, mischievous use of The Fleece’s ceiling-to-floor poles situated right in front of the stage to perform all manner of stagedive acrobatics, and Gnarwolves are gone, in the fleeting, crushing style that’s got them to this level. A second full-length might be coming soon, or might take two years. Either way, Gnarwolves will never stop touring, and the ever-growing attendees will never stop adoring it.
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Words by Will Richards