Punk Party @ Gullivers
Venues across the country will try to convince you that the more the ticket costs, the better the gig will be. On a Sunday night a collection of Australian and British punks banded together to prove that not only can a decent gig be pulled off for less than £30, but that a great gig can be pulled off. For only £6 Gulliver’s filled their tiny stage with five punk bands of varying styles, and the night simply getting hotter and sweatier.
First up is Great Cynics bass players new band, Shit Present. The band should probably be classed as super group, containing ex members of The Smith Street Band who headline, as well as Gnarwolves, OK Pilot and The Computers. Now stepping into the limelight as a frontwoman Iona Cairns makes her genuinely impressive voice known to the reasonably large crowd that’s amassed for a bottom of the bill placement. Tracks are a perfectly woven combination of indie and punk and like almost every band on the line-up, offer just as much poetry as punk in their lyrics. https://soundcloud.com/specialistsubject/shit-present-anxious-type
Next up are Leagues Apart, a band that know their audience so literally they often stop for a back and forth with members of the front row they know by name. This element of community seems to run through the entire building all night as it seems as if every audience and band member knows each other from another tiny punk gig they’ve both attended or played. Leagues Apart are the personification of this welcoming, comfortable feeling, admitting they’ve not played live since the Manchester Punk Festival, and seeming completely fine about it. Their singer Adam Morrow’s Flatliners-esque vocals are strong and flourish through a set that’s clearly just as fun for the band as it is for the crowd. They act as if they have nothing to prove and their home turf crowd love it.
Ducking Punches employ the age old blend of folk and punk for their set, yet the first half of their performance seems a little overcrowded, perhaps due to issues with the sound tech side of things. Their songs have a perfect blend of hard hitting riffs and soft subtle lyrics and violin, yet when it comes to displaying it live, some songs have some trouble transferring. However they finish strong when singer Dan Allen, gives a hard hitting background to the track “Six” and finishes off with the brilliant “Big Brown Pills From Lynn”, a punk single well worth the listen.
The Exeter three piece have gone through a number of changes since they formed, both in line-up and overall sound. Only recently however have the band really managed to find their signature sound and its sounding better with every performance. Last playing the city at the Manchester Punk Festival, singer Lande Hekt seems genuinely surprised at the sold out concert she and her band get to play for. Laying down track after track of beautifully played and sung music however should remind them exactly why at least part of this audience came to see them over The Smith Street Band who headline.
The addition of a couple of new tracks would normally slow down a bands momentum, however Muncie Girls fans hungrily await fresh music from the three piece, and continue to brace themselves for the long awaited debut album. If you haven’t had the chance to listen to some of the Muncie Girls recent tracks, move it to the top of your to do list, and join the rest of us in an excitable countdown to their next release.
Smith St Band
By the time the headlining Smith Street Band take the stage the tiny upstairs room, has begun to feel more like a sauna than a venue. Singer Wil Wagner jokes throughout the set that this is probably the hottest room that he’s ever played, coming from a Melbourne punk band frontman, that’s saying something. Sweat was dripping off the foreheads of the middle-aged punks taking it easy at the back of the room, so you don’t need me to paint the vivid picture of what the front couple of rows looked like.
Nether the less, it’s testament to both The Smith Street Bands following, and their performance, that despite these hellish heats, the room seems to bounce and sing from the moment the first note is played, until the last goodnight before they leave. The crowd seem to know every word and the band seem to enjoy conducting their crowd, just as much as playing to them.
There’s no chance of the band being able to leave for an encore now that the room is packed wall to wall and there’s only one exit. Instead they finish off the night by handing the three microphones from the stage to the crowd, before “Young Drunk” is chanted and screamed by practically every member of the tiny, sweaty room.
It’s the kind of perfect night of music that you rarely get to enjoy. The crowd were treated to not just the beloved tracks they expect from their headliners, but a whole host of new music that continues to prove that punk isn’t dead so long as communities of fans such as these continue to get together every once in a while.
Where you there yourself or just wish you could’ve been? Let us know what you enjoyed and maybe what you didn’t at @holmesblogs or @45magazine.