The Deaf Institute, Manchester
11 April 2017
On the cusp of releasing their second album American punk duo PWR BTTM are currently on their UK Tour, Louder Than War’s Katie Clare went along to the band’s first show in Manchester.
Experiencing a dazzling emergence that is only exceeded by their own personalities, Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce are PWR BTTM. Acute lyricists and musicians, they deliver a bold, self-narrative full of candour and everyday crises. Engagement, humour and a disarmingly affability built around their exposed punk rock guitars and breakneck rhythms create a delightful ebb and flow of emotions.
PWR BTTM’s set begins with an explanation; Orchards bassist Dan Fane will be joining tonight and a round of applause is fast provided after we’re told he’s learnt all the songs in a day. Ugly Cherries, from the bands 2015 debut album of the same name; a throbbing track crammed with ache and grungy hooks kicks things off.
There is an immediate connection between the room and Hopkins and Bruce: the humour and charm both flowing naturally. While we are spoiled with some spectacular shredding, power chords and carefree beats – the tracks overflowing with intelligence, self-awareness and millennial angst. No more so than on Answer My Text it’s sunny tinged whinge is wickedly anthemic and has the crowd singing along.
The band’s sophomore album Pageant is due next month on 12 May and we are treated to several tracks. The first of which was the initial single from the album Big Beautiful Day and is enthusiastically received, its fierce vivacity robustly delivering a confident statement so needed in current times. LOL see Orchard singer Lucy Evers joins the band, the song glides around the senses with a waltz-like breeziness. The encore includes Styrofoam which, features a more reflect tone while it isn’t so easy to grasp its lyrical substance in one listen, it does feel significantly rawer and certainly heightens anticipation for Pageant’s release.
There’s a mid-set a switch-a-roo as Hopkins and Bruce swap guitar and drums as well as lead vocals and with just a single chord we slide into I Wanna Boi Bruce’s coquettishness is direct with everyday wants and desire along with C U Around, its bitter sweetness of encountering past loves is magical in the relative intimacy of The Deaf Institute.
While the set is relatively brief the evening encompasses so much that’ll come back at an unexpected moment in the days and weeks to some from ‘mooshy peas’, raucous seagulls to Ed Sheeran and drag queens. As Hopkin’s shares “Thank you for being respectful of each other’s space and having a great night. It’s easy to think sometimes that punk shows are a place to go and beat the shit out of each other and whatever – obtain physical supremacy – when the reality is it is about sharing the space and resisting oppression through weird art and shit” high five and a snap to that.
There is so much to be found in PWR BTTM’s glitter cloud. Perception, compassion and acceptance as well as enchanting punk rock and imaginative creativity within which there is something that’ll speak to everyone.
PWR BTTM’s UK Tour continues:
- 15 April 17 – Stereo, Glasgow
- 16 April 17 – Exchange, Bristol
- 17 April 17 – The Haunt, Brighton
- 18 April 17 – The Garage, London
Tickets can be purchased via a number or retailers including See Tickets for further ticket infomation check PWR BTTM social media or contact the venues directly.