LIVE: Gnarwolves / Woahnows / Creeper @ The Black Heart, Camden

By Tom Beck

Gnarwolves celebrated the release of their debut self-titled album by throwing a last minute launch party at the tiny Black Heart in Camden. Punktastic were genuinely fortunate enough to win a spot at the free show as one of the lucky crowd picked from the band’s mailing list. Trust us on that one. This isn’t one of those ‘you get to go to every gig’ deals here. We headed down to the three band bill to size up some of the UK’s most exciting young bands.

Creeper opened the show to a healthy crowd. The South Coast band are riding a wave of enthusiasm right now, thanks largely to their excellent self titled EP, and the set features all five tracks. The stand out moments are ‘Gloom’ and ‘VCR’ – both have huge vocal melodies and they come across surprisingly well in a notoriously difficult venue for sound quality. Creeper throw in an AFI cover into their set too. It’s well executed and sung with gusto by the crowd. This is only their third outing to date but frontman Will, previously found in Our Time Down Here, has a real star quality which captivates the crowd. His rendition of final track ‘Novena’ is dramatic and leaves a mark. If tonight is anything to go by then Creeper are set for bigger stages in no times.

Next up were Devon’s Woahnows, whose brand of poppy indie rock has a great edge to it tonight. The band, recently signed to tastemakers BSM Records, have heavy hints of Hot Club de Paris in their melodies and their tracks have a great pace. They go down well and seem just as excited about the headline band as anyone.

As Gnarwolves hit the small stage it takes roughly twelve seconds before the first crowd surfer takes the air. That’s ten seconds later than we were expecting in truth. The Brighton based trio, who recently opened the main stage at Reading and Leeds Festivals, fly into their set as it’s met with huge enthusiasm from the lucky crowd. The set is a great mix of their new album, released the same day, and crowd favourites from ‘Cru’, ‘Fun Club’, and ‘Chronicles of Gnaria’ (depending on which release you want to attribute the repeated tracks to). The highlight for us is ‘Community, Stability, Identity’. Its poignant intro is really electric live and sets up the huge sing-a-long outro.

Throughout the punchy set there are kids losing their minds all over the venue, led by a loyal handful of Gnarwolves cru down the front. Many will wake up bruised and battered but with a real sense of community. There are Neck Deep, Moose Blood, and Nai Harvest shirts on view too, with UK shirts far outnumbering their North American alternatives for a change.

Gnarwolves have had an incredible year and it would be easy for them to fall into a superior mind set as a result. Fortunately there’s none of that tonight and they seem grounded and appreciative of everyone in the venue. Whether they can keep this momentum up remains to be seen, but their forthcoming US tour with The Wonder Years, The Story So Far, and Modern Baseball is unlikely to put the brakes on the trio.