The atmosphere in the downstairs bar of Spanky Van Dykes was jubilant and excited when I walked in, and although we had still an hour to go before the first support bands were on, it was pretty much packed out. After a few drinks we all headed upstairs into the sizeable gig room above the bar, the primitive set up of which complementing the punk-orientated evening.
The first band I saw were Gnarwolves, a hectic three-piece who adorned the stage to a moderately-sized crowd. Their sound reminded me of a cross between old Blink 182 and Fugazi; rapid pop-punk tempos and strained vocal lines, and apart from the poor attempts at banter between songs which was a slow start, the band finished satisfyingly strongly.
Next up, hailing from Manchester, was The Minx. Somewhat of a change from the manic sound of Gnarwolves, The Minx offered a more controlled, alternative-rockesque sound. Soaring choruses and catchy pop guitar lines were backed by a pounding rhythm section in a style reminiscent to The Walkmen, or the Strokes. Their sound however didn’t match the fervor of Gnarwolves, and I personally thought they should have been swapped over in the supporting line-up.
Lower Than Atlantis came onstage to crown the night theirs. Not having heard the band before even on record, I was intrigued to find a depth within their broad, pop-punk sound. Crashing riffs were energetically thrashed out over swift drums among passionate lyrics from singer Mike Duce, whose live performance (I realized later) was impressively close to sounding like the recordings.
Their songs were unpredictable but nevertheless enjoyable; ‘If The World Was To End’ combined elements of djent groove-metal with Sex Pistols-like energy, whilst ‘Something Better Came Along’ was a more restrained number, proving the band were able to hold back for a more emotional effect. Another stand out track for me was ‘Beech Like A Tree’, which proved to be a huge fan favorite. Overall the evening seemed to close with a bang, and Lower Than Atlantis proved they could live up to the pressure of such a small and intimate gig.