Today (5/6/14) the punk rock world had some bad news. BBC Radio 1 announced that they were cancelling the long running show hosted by Mike Davies – The Lock Up.
This news sucks for many reasons. Firstly because he plays some fantastic music from both sides of the Atlantic, secondly because that probably spells the end of the Lock Up stage at Reading and Leeds Festival. That stage has consistently been the strongest stage at those festivals for years. The final and most important reason the news sucks is because Mike was always championing new up and coming UK punk bands. Some of the most successful UK underground acts such as Random Hand, The Skints and probably the most successful The King Blues all got lots of air time because of this radio show. It worries me where all the new up and coming punk bands will get some mainstream exposure. The scene itself is the strongest it’s been for a long time so it would be incredibly disappointing if some of the exposure they have received goes away. I’m going to start championing some of the best and brightest of this next generation of UK bands. The first will be the band that is currently shining brightest in the scene, Brighton punks – Gnarwolves.
The trio known as Gnarwolves formed in 2011. In that time they have released three EPs (Fun Club, Cru and Funemployed) which have also been combined to make The Chronicles of Gnaria album. This name alone should be reason enough to love this band.
I first became aware of Gnarwolves in 2012 after watching them support Joyce Manor, Apologies I Have None and Bangers at a pub in London named The Old Blue Last. They were far from terrible that night but they didn’t quite click with me that night. A few days later however I did pick up their (at the time) latest EP Cru. I thought it was good but again didn’t really get it.
In 2013 I was going to a Broadway Calls gig at the Camden Underworld. They were being supported by Great Cynics, Moose Blood and Gnarwolves. I can honestly say this night Gnarwolves stole the show. Every single song clicked with me and I finally understood why they are so loved. The songs were played with such passion and energy and were incredibly well written. Gnarwolves themselves really connect with the crowd, always encouraging them to join them on stage and dive off back into the crowd.
I have now seen them five times and they have established themselves as not just one of the brightest punk bands but one of the brightest and most exciting bands in the UK. This year they have received their biggest break yet after being announced as opening the main stage at Reading Festival and later in the year they will be heading over to Florida to play The Fest, probably the biggest punk festival in the world. It’s been an absolute pleasure watching them progress and I really look forward in the very not too distant future when I can say I saw them playing at tiny pubs in London.