Prior to A Wilhelm Scream’s pulsating set, sprightly UK punks Gnarwolves delivered an energetic if largely uninspired batch of throaty punk very much in the vein of the recently reunited Basement. It’s been hard to avoid the hype the Brighton outfit have been on the receiving end of over the past 12 months, but there’s little on show to convince they they've got the songs in their arsenal to rise above this level. Their unpolished pop punk is functional enough, but there’s just not enough big tunes on display to get this jaded old hack hot under the collar.
In an age of instant gratification and dwindling attention spans, it says something for the enduring popularity of Massachusetts punk outfit A Wilhelm Scream that they’re capable of positively cramming the second room at the Cockpit just a few months after releasing their first album in six years. The role of a frontman has been a talking point amongst pop critics over the past few weeks following Future Island’s beguiling, spellbinding and career defining performance on Letterman, fuelled by a frontman with a carefully honed stage presence that helped elevate the band’s minimal electro pop to stratospheres it couldn't reach with the music alone. Now, A Wilhelm Scream’s brand of melodic hardcore is infinitely more pummelling, dynamic and tuneful than Future Islands’ flaccid electro which makes them unlikely bedfellows in boasting frontmen who help mark them out above their contemporaries. Nuno Pereira genuinely looks like he’s won a competition to front his favourite band for the night, which is no mean feat when you've got nearly 20 years of hard touring under your belt. His charismatic presence is magnetic and acts as the perfect focal point for the band’s energetic, melodic and technically proficient hardcore/pop punk hybrid, which will hopefully result in a more prolific output over the coming years than we've been used to over the past half decade.
Words - Guy Atkinson