Knuckle Puck is a pop-punk band from the suburbs of Illinois who have been making a splash in the scene for a good few years now and although I’ve personally never seen them play, I thought it was time to rectify that. Last week I headed down to the Electric Ballroom in Camden, London to catch the Knuckle Puck set and was filled with anticipation at what they would be like, certainly all reviews of their live shows I heard were good but you never know until you see and hear for yourself.
I arrived in time to see Movements play the last half of their set, they were on fire and the crowd was lapping up every second of it. It had been nearly five months since I caught the London show of their first ever headlining international tour in a much smaller venue at the Camden Assembly and it was good to see them again in a much bigger setting. They pulled it off quite nicely filling the bigger stage well and playing with the same intense energy I had seen in them before.
Tiny Moving Parts were next up, unlike Movements I have never seen them play before so I was curious to see what their live act was like. They opened with ‘Common Cold’ and rattled off a few other songs, in quick succession. The thing that really stood out was that the frontman Dylan Mattheisen really goes at it a bit like a maniac, a talented energetic maniac and what he lacks in charisma he makes up for in enthusiasm. The crowd was not as responsive as they were for Movements, fewer people dancing, fewer people singing along, less of a buzz in general.
About 20 minutes in it started to hot up a little and the hoards of Knuckle Puck fans began to be more responsive. Whichever song they played at that exact moment got people off their feet and jumping. The energy stayed up after that point and although it was a shame it didn’t happen earlier it was nice to see for the last 10 minutes of the set ending on a high with ‘Caution’.
Knuckle Puck walked out dead on time, all be it an early time of 8:30 pm, which is always a good sign that we will get the maximum set possible filled with as many songs as they can squeeze in. They opened with ‘Gone’ followed by ‘Fences’ and ‘Disdain’, and the audience was immediately captured and went crazy. There was jumping, there was dancing, there was that awful scream singing we do when we’re at shows and great fun was being had by all.
We had a quick pause from all of us dancing so Joe Taylor could address the crowd, thanking everyone for being there and letting us know that, “everything we do we try to make it personal,” announcing that the next song was truly personal, kicking into ‘Poison Pen Letter’ and doing a bit of dancing himself!
It was at this point that Taylor explained he had been “tweaking out backstage” worried at how “fucked up” his voice was and actually it was true that the vocals had not been amazing, but it didn’t seem to make a difference to the fans. It is a great testament to the band that they put on an amazing show despite the vocal problems. There was no lack of amateur singing along either and we were more than happy to lend our voices to ‘Evergreen’ and help the guy out as he asked.
After just another four songs the bands time was up and they left the stage. After the house lights momentarily came up and about a third of the audience left, I was almost convinced there would be no encore, but I was wrong. They came out promising two more songs and explained that the first song had been originally in the set but they cut it, before launching into ‘Everyone Lies To Me’. They closed out their set with ‘Your Back Porch’ and then it really was time to leave, sadly so. Needless to say, my first Knuckle Puck experience was a good one and I will certainly be going back for more in the future!