The task of getting the party started on this Friday night goes to introspective indie-punks Shit Present. They make friends with their largely unfamiliar crowd by peeling out a series of songs that drive slowly towards huge, cathartic choruses. Vocalist Iona Cairns warms the crowd with her powerfully vulnerable melodies whilst the punk rock Duracell bunny that is Thom Weeks lays down some crunchy riffs behind her. A wave of approval washes over them as they exit stage, no doubt ready for a well-deserved can of Red Stripe.
Next up it’s the New Jersey indie outfit Prawn, hot off the heels from releasing their third album Run, one might expect a larger crowd than the one that greets these indie-rockers. Undeterred, they unleash a barrage of math-rock inflected emo that threatens the hearing of everyone in the room. This sonic stampede is occasionally punctuated by Tony Clark’s spine-tingling vocals, connecting emotionally with the crowd before another audible slap round the face. It’s a perfectly paced set that never loses the energy required to warm up for a band like The Flatliners, whilst maintaining an abrasive sense of atmosphere.
It’s a hero’s welcome that greets tonight’s headliners, these Canadian punks have been hammering out shows almost non-stop for a decade and a legion of fans seems to follow them wherever they go. What is immediately noticeable is how much their audience has warmed to the new material in the six months since they last visited this city. Radio friendly choruses are belted back to them on cuts like Hang My Head and Nicotine Lips, but they can’t match the sheer energy of select tracks off second album The Great Awake, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. There’s a tightness to this quartet tonight that only comes with ceaseless touring and a hard-working ethos. The punk-rock locomotive that is The Flatliners shows no sign of slowing down, and if it rolls through your town don’t miss out.