Gig Review by Kirsty Hillyer with Photography by Lee Allen

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Tonight’s show is sponsored by the local vintage shop; dress code options are Noel Edmonds old shirts, statement knitwear or Emo rucksacks. Love it!!

Opener Apologies, I have None may be a bit dark for this crowd and tour. Opening with ‘Vicky’ their most upbeat and poppy track (in loosely inverted commas) they lull the crowd into a false sense of security before hitting them with ‘Raging’ to set the tone for the darkness to come.

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Hailing from London they are unapologetically British, a fact I love about them. Too many bands Americanize their vocals and with Apologies we get the underbelly of proper British contempt and scorn.

The delivery of their set seems to have been tempered to reflect their poppier, carefree tour mates. The resulting banter falls a little flat. This is definitely not the vitriolic delivery of despair I witnessed on ‘The Movielife’ tour. Apologies, however, deliver the guts of it tonight but I fear it was a little lost on the heavy petting zoo that surrounded me.

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Gnarwolves enter to a chorus of cheers and rousing sing-a-longs as they open with ‘Boneyard’. These classically pop punk boys sound the most polished I’ve ever seen them but feel low on the energy for such a stage.

Their earnest crowd interaction makes it easy to see how they’ve built such a buoyant fan base, shining a spotlight on the crowd to look at their lovely faces.

Fan favourite ‘Community, Stability, Identity’ is the highlight of a set filled with crowd surfing anthems. Meanwhile new tracks of their forthcoming album fall a little flat and not as complex as their most successful offerings.

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The Front Bottoms have barely left the UK over the last couple of years, which shows how they’ve gone from playing the Temple to the Main room here tonight.

The stage is dressed to feel like a cozy living room, filled win standard lamps and a sofa complete with jaded girl glued to phone. ‘Scream’ plays on an old TV and only the double mirror ball fun denotes the occasion.

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Opening with ‘Skeleton’ the room ignites into a feel good sea of movement. The only people not dancing are the Dads propping up the sides of the room. They rattle through a rip-roaring set perfectly balanced between track off their breakthrough album ‘Talon of the Hawk’ and their last album ‘Back on Top’.

They bought the evening’s precedings to a close with their most popular, and permanently in rotation track ‘Twin Size Mattress’. The Front Bottoms fall into the same polarizing boat as Modern Baseball, Listener and The Hold Steady, their interesting, clever lyricists with vocals that can err on the side of spoken word but they certainly know how to give their fans what they want and in return they receive a fierce loyalty and a room full of love and warmth. Weird, I know.

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