LIVE: Knuckle Puck / Seaway @ Camden Underworld, London

By Rob Barbour

There’s something endearing about the way Seaway frontman, Ryan Locke, looks so utterly out of place in a pop-punk band. In a sea of beanie hats and long-sleeved t-shirts, his vibe is rather more ‘Leonardo DiCaprio playing an accountant’, which makes the power of his voice that much more surprising. Leading the Canadian quintet by example, his energy and enthusiasm is infectious and injects a sense of showmanship into an otherwise fairly pedestrian collection of songs.

There’s nothing wrong with Seaway, but beyond Locke’s engaging personality there’s not much to recommend them above the sea (arf arf) of bands doing much the same thing, either. The crowd in the rapidly-filling Underworld, though, would surely disagree with us. Seaway are greeted like old friends, and the goodwill emanating from the stage is reflected back tenfold.

If Seaway were greeted like old friends, then Knuckle Puck are family. The room is full by the time they take to the stage and despite this being their first European headline tour, there’s an assured confidence to the band’s performance becoming of the far more experienced.

That’s not to say that Joe Taylor and co ever cross the line into arrogance – they’re clearly delighted to be here, and the room’s delighted to have them. The room’s full of committed fans and epic singalongs, and older material gets an airing tonight too but there’s a noticeable step-up – both in quality and energy – when the band are playing cuts from 2015’s remarkably accomplished ‘Copacetic’ LP. Knuckle Puck are clearly a band very much on their way up, and on tonight’s evidence it’s going to take a lot to slow them down.