Venue: The Graduate
What started out as a quiet Saturday night, ended with a nice tuneful ending because Punchline did pretty good for their headline show. Punchline are a Stoke on Trent pop punk band, they haven't been going for that long but they already bagged themselves a smaller headliner. The band consists of Shannon Whetnall on vocals, Matt Wade and Rob Hoofe on guitar, Alec Wheildon on bass, and Chloe Griffiths on drums.
It was at a small pub called The Graduate, with an attendance mainly by students studying at Staffordshire University. The drinks are cheap and they were flowing as well, which adds more to the temptation of seeing the acts. Tonight it was nice seeing some variety of people from older generations attending this gig. It may not have been a fully packed out venue but it was still good enough for a free entry on a Saturday night, it's a shame I didn't have any peanuts.
There was only one support act tonight, that came from young acoustic musician Holly Pender. She was pretty decent, with nice soft tunes which, due to some lyrical content, have personal meaning to her. She was delightful to watch, giving a warning about saying the word “fuck” in a song, I barely see bands or musicians do this at gigs so it was a polite gesture and stopped me from buying peanuts I was that intrigued. After swapping guitars throughout her set she then whacked out a harmonica and played it with a charmful and soft instrumental flow, which caught attention from the crowd. Sadly a lot of people were talking during most of the set, she may have been support (which I know some people are half arsed about) but she deserved more attention.
On come Punchline a few moments after that, already set up and using the PA system themselves as there wasn't a sound engineer present. The sounds of the instruments were near enough spot on, one of the guitars was only a little bit louder than the other one but it wasn't a prominent bother during the set. The sound of the drums were sharp and the snare was punchy, which is pretty perfect considering the pop punk genre of the band. One slightly major thing that was wrong with the levels was the vocal microphone, it was sometimes a struggle to hear the vocalist, Shannon Whetnall, sing the lyrics to some of the songs. However, this matter was dealt with roughly through half of the set as it was good to hear the singer's voice to its finest. Popping in some originals was a good move; they were all catchy and quite cheery and easy to sing along to considering the audience of the genre. One of them was called "Why So Serious" that seemed to be an attention grabber and showed the loyal fans out of the attendance as they were bouncing around enjoying themselves. Even though the vocalist's performance during the song was brilliant, when a song ended she didn't supply much entertainment as to speaking to the crowd until the second half of their set.
The bassist, Alec Wheildon, supplied the entertainment half of the time by playing an amusing yet recognisable tune to which the crowd would smirk or laugh at when a song ends and the rest of the members prepare for the next song. Half of the set were covers of songs; the ones that brought the most attention were cover songs of commercial songs. Fusing the punk sound with the commercial music element was a perfect match, both genres are easy to sing along to (I only sing to commercial music when I'm drunk as when I'm sober I think it's fucking shit.) The one that stood out was the cover of Taio Cruz's “Dynamite” that was pretty decent, most importantly it was sang nicely with added audience encouragement. They had two Paramore covers, which is quite typical from a band of this genre, but despite on “Still Into You” the vocal mic was a bit quiet they pulled off the covers well and pleased the crowd, a few of the people even sang along to the songs. Even though it's quite difficult to pull apart the connection of Punchline and Paramore due to the similarities, they don't intend to try and be like Paramore when it comes to performance, they are their own little unit.
Aside from technical difficulties due to a lack of a sound engineer, that didn't weigh down the fact that it was a good performance and Punchline seem encouraging. Their next show they will be supporting In The Cards at The Box in Crewe, maybe they could flourish further, and perhaps put more original material into their set, it sounds promising.