The Deaf Institute is essentially a matchbox decorated in your grandma’s wallpaper with industrial fixtures running throughout – and the odd red curtain hanging here or there. The venue attempts to earn street-cred by dangling a giant disco ball from its shaky infrastructure; mounting a bunch of speakers to a wall, as well as optimising a roof terrace.
Bodies dot themselves around the venue – choosing from the unstable black hardwood floor, cushions on steps, or a glass balcony which looms over the small merchandise table situated to the side. A beaten drumkick sits on the small step of a stage, and no barrier seperates band from crowd. Although an unique venue, it works – and Knuckle Puck make it home for the night alongside Wallflower.
Despite their name, the South London’s Wallflower are full of confidence. They make the stage their own, and present drowsy Lower Than Atlantic-style rock. Catchy hocks and steady beats – present in Mas Eu Quero Mais – mixed with slow songs that speak of love and loss – fourthirtyone. Wallflower bring what’s expected at a pop punk gig: liveliness, energy, and passion at best. Their short, sweet, and powerful set ends on their newest release Splintered which is signed off by screamed vocals from the lead singer. They’ve made their mark.
Knuckle Puck soon take to the stage adorning their own merchandise, and offering an energy-packed set whilst attempting to keep their amplifiers safe from keen crowd-surfers.
The set is kicked off with Disdain, followed up by But Why Would You Care?, and No Good. This fast-pasted set is increased as Gold Rush, Wall to Wall (Depreciation), Bedford Falls, and Oak Street are added to the mix. It’s questionable how the tempo of both the band members and fans is suistained to such a high level from the very beginning. However, that’s the buzz you get from good music being performed so passionately raw.
The five-piece from Illinois bring the perfect balance of unforgiving pop punk and sentimental songs. Mid-way through the set, the latter comes into play giving moshers and crowd-surfers a time to rest before the band end on the high of Prestense.
There’s no doubt that Knuckle Puck brought a breath of fresh air to the scene when they first emerged – and their fire-fuelled live performances have since kept fans hocked.