Knuckle Puck rounded off the UK leg of their tour with an accomplished performance that cemented them as one of the best pop punk bands around.
The Chicago outfit, having postponed the dates last year, brought their second album ‘Shapeshifter’ to the Manchester Academy for a performance that perfectly embodied the pop-punk spirit. It was a sweaty basement show with a crowd ready for getting rowdy following two blistering support acts in ‘Movements’ and ‘Tiny Moving Parts’.
Opening with the clenched fist emo fury of ‘Gone’, Knuckle Puck really came out swinging and quickly threw it back to the early hit ‘Fences’. With the hits coming thick and fast, the rough and ready feel to the show was helped by Ryan’s bass and backing vocals swamping the sound but it didn’t stop the pandemonium in the crowd.
Bringing ‘Shapeshifter’ in a live setting really put the album up in comparison to its predecessor. While the sophomore record has a more measured pace, bringing tunes like ‘Double Helix’ and ‘Want Me Around’ and chopping them up alongside ‘Evergreen’ and ‘Poison Pen Letter’ showed that both albums are able to stand shoulder to shoulder with one another.
Knuckle Puck rarely let up but after a heartfelt thank you and story about “we never thought we’d make it out of John’s bedroom”, Joe Taylor slid into a rendition of ‘Conduit’ that proved that they still have the ability to devastate when the slow down pace.
Cantering towards the end of their set with big hits like ‘Pretense’, older tunes like ‘No Good’ and heartbreak anthems like ‘Untitled’, Knuckle Puck closed out their performance with ‘Transparency’ after the shortest of short breaks leading to their encore.
It may have been almost a year since Knuckle Puck were due to bring their second album to Manchester but they were certainly with the wait. It was the exact type of show and setting that the band must have envisioned when they wrote ‘Shapeshifter’ – intimate, passionate and bursting with energy.
Words by Alexander Bradley