Knuckle Puck – The Exchange, Bristol – LIVE REVIEW

Knuckle Puck, The Exchange – Bristol, 03.10.2018 Photo Credit: Hayley Smith


Since pop-punk is one of the last genres that really know how to throw a party and Bristol is one of the last UK cities that know how to host one – Knuckle Puck at The Exchange was bound to be messy.

Originally announced for the start of 2018, this rescheduled run of shows has been heralded as one of THE tours of the year since Knuckle Puck were bringing pals Movements and Tiny Moving Parts along for the fun.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that tonight’s line up is exclusively American – something that’s almost rare to see these days since our own shores are teeming with talented musicians who come with the added bonus of no air-fare.

But arm pumping, ceiling touching, crowd surfing madness was rife by the time California’s Movements was done with this huge pop-punk loving crowd. This amount of energy for an opening band is remarkable and all the more so since it wasn’t exactly matched on stage.

That’s not to say the stage didn’t see it’s fair share of oomph because Illinois quintet, Tiny Moving Parts more than had that covered.

Vocalist Dylan Mattheisen ripped around so hard he looked as if he’d been dunked in a pool by the end of their set. Get that guy a Britney mic and he’ll be physically unstoppable.

Tiny Moving Parts, The Exchange – Bristol, 03.10.2018 Photo Credit: Hayley Smith

Tiny Moving Parts have become a mainstay in a new wave of Emo, singing songs about heartache and the reality of being human – but arguably have the most fun on stage. The only thing more joyous than the intricately finicky guitar licks is Matthesion’s face when he plays them.

Movements, Tiny Moving Parts and Knuckle Puck are all part of a huge community of bands who prop each other up and who can regularly been seeing working alongside one another. It could be argued that they rely on each to exist.

These bands get their names from each other’s lyrics and merch, put out split EPs together and go out on the road together – and their fans utterly adore what is essentially one giant cross-over-episode.

For Knuckle Pucks party they took their name from a Stick To Your Guns t-shirt and, much like the best, started out as a cover band.

If that doesn’t seem a bit foreseeable then consider that this Chicago pop-punk quartet since a lot of songs about being proud of where they come from, even when it’s almost impossible to be.

It’s understandable why that topic might be in the forefront of any American artists mind right now but these songs lack a sense of structure and are entirely designed around snappy one-liners that the crowd can scream and, more than anything else, are bulldozed through at the speed of light.

Knuckle Puck should have the easiest job in the world stirring up crowd interaction with their fans since tonight’s crowd are feverishly active – spending a lot of the set up on the stage with them. Instead the band avoid it, opting to fly through their set list instead.

There’s plenty of time until the venues curfew is up and tonight’s set list is not exactly trim at 14 tracks long – but the gigs up by 10:30.

Regardless the fever pitch is there and tonight’s relentless crowd love every second of this. Pop-punk might not be to everybody’s tastes but there’s a huge demographic of die-hard fans and nowadays there’s really no comparison once they’re squeezed into a building together.

But all in all there’s nothing that sets Knuckle Puck apart from the huge cooperative of pop-punk bands of which they are a part.

Knuckle Puck, The Exchange – Bristol, 03.10.2018 Photo Credit: Hayley Smith