The pre-festival season flurry of gigs is well and truly underway, with April bringing us some of the best shows of the year so far.
Here, Blog Editor Jessica Bridgeman turns our attention to five standout shows – largely of the rock variety – that have kept her dancing all through the first half of April.
1. Knuckle Puck (with support from Seaway and Boston Manor)
I caught Knuckle Puck’s 2016 UK tour when it stopped at Camden’s Underworld on 1 April, and with it being the first Friday of the month, everyone was in full party mode from the moment the Chicago pop-punkers opened with Wall to Wall (Depreciation). In fact, 2015’s Copacetic totally blew me away, with the crowd hanging on the Rise Records mob’s every hook.
2. Great Cynics (supporting Jeff Rosenstock)
Great Cynics are one of those bands that I always seem to miss live, but finally catching them on tour with the mighty Jeff Rosenstock this month made the wait well worthwhile. Even on support duty, the London trio dished out all my favourites at the Dalston gig on 2 April. Want You Around (Chunky), I Went Swimming and Lost In You are still ringing in my head some weeks later. Spirited, passionate and talented enough to probably tip the mainstream if they wanted to, Great Cynics are well worth your time.
It’s been five years since these Los Angeles rockers played the UK, and as they cut straight to the point at O2 Academy Brixton (5 April), they’re arguably the most determined I’ve ever seen them. There’s no Wheatus cover, little jesting between songs and, unlike the last time they played this iconic venue, frontman Rivers Cuomo isn’t straddling the amps in a cowboy hat. Instead they’re spoilt for hits; My Name Is Jonas, Hash Pipe and El Scorcho come in quick succession, while California Girls and L.A. Girlz are the first tracks to represent 2016’s White Album.
Say It Ain’t So, Island In The Sun, Buddy Holly and Undone – The Sweater Song see Weezer recover from a mid-set lull – which can largely be put down to the bustle of punters moving not-so-stealthily back to the bar. But if Weezer will insist on maintaining their return to form that came with 2015’s Everything Will Be Alright In The End, then their fanbase will keep returning to see them live (and sacrificing personal space in the process).
4. Black Peaks (with support from Palm Reader)
It almost feels like everything Black Peaks have been working towards has culminated with this sold-out show at London’s Borderline. And with their debut album, Statues, some 48 hours from being released at the time (6 April), it’s a night for celebration. The venue is packed to the brink with press, agents and many of the Brighton quartet’s most dedicated fans. Will Gardner’s vocals are slick enough to send shivers down your spine as the band deliver Glass Built Houses and Saviour like old favourites. I can’t wait to hear more of their new record live this summer.
There’s always been something special about PVRIS, and I’m not alone in being captivated by the Massachusetts musicians. A year on from making their UK debut at Camden’s Barfly, Lynn Gunn and co have only gone and sold out the O2 Forum Kentish Town (7 April). Every single person in the venue is entranced as the band deliver the best of their first album, White Noise. The strobes alone suggest PVRIS are ready to headline even bigger stages in the not-too-distant future.
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