Anyone who hangs around the nations favourite small venues would have seen Brighton’s Gnarwolves as a support act, or at least seen the name of the pop-punk three piece scrawled on the toilet walls. Consequentially, their following has amassed purely through being shoved in everyone’s face at all times. Its business as usual at this monstrously packed out Joiners support show for A Whilhelm Scream.
As soon as Gnarwolves take to the stage, they proceed to show everyone what all the fuss is about. Their music is essentially pre-Enema of the State Blink-182, channelled through Californian hardcore’s non-stop energy. What separates them from the pack, and causes the young audience to connect with them on nights like this, is the uniquely British cynicism packed into their lyrics. The sound of hundreds of people relating when the lines “there’s something wrong with kids in my hometown/they fumble through the ash of the in-crowd” is echoed back to them can be heard from outside the venue. As Gnarwolves exit, it’s clear that several fans have had the time of their life.
As Massachusetts’s A Wilhelm Scream take to the stage, it seems that half of the audience has vanished, after what could have been perceived as an unbeatable performance by Gnarwolves. These people are, of course, morons, as A Wilhelm Scream are clearly the band of the night, and put on a contender for “gig of the year (so far)”. While both bands both deliver a mixture of pop-punk catchiness and hardcore aggression, Gnarwolves stick rigidly to the structural confines of the genres, whereas A Wilhelm Scream throw numerous elements into the pot. They still have the catchy choruses fans demand, but they also throw in some metal virtuosity in their solos, and some borderline alt-metal insanity in songs such as ‘5 to 9’. Consequentially, the audience resembles a hardcore show rather than a pop-punk show, with moshing, stage-diving and mic-grabbing remaining a staple of the evening.
As they return to stage after the audience demand “one more song!”, they announce that they will in fact be performing 2 more songs, which causes the audience to break out into a “3 more songs” chant. It seems that they don’t want this performance to end, and why would they? There’s no one else who can do what A Wilhelm Scream do, and it leaves 99% of other bands in the same genre in the dust.