Reviews

Show Review: PVMNTS and WSTR prove that pop punk’s not dead

Loud, messy pop punk may have fallen by the wayside, but some up-and-coming bands are leading the revival. True to form, PVMNTS took over The Nile Theater’s Underground venue with WSTR, Hold Close and PCL for a wall-shaking Wednesday.

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Hopeless Records’ string of stellar discoveries continues with Hold Close. In what was the strongest set of the night, Hold Close put their full talent on display to prove that they’re more than just another pop punk group. Braxton Smiley pulled double duty with vocals and keys while the rest of the band hyped the crowd and held the set down.

Even though Hold Close won’t have a full album out until January 2019, the band treated fans to a plethora of new songs, including “Breath” and “Cloud Nine”. The crowd, in turn, ebbed and flowed with the band’s change from melodic melancholia to heavier breakdowns. The band threw everything they had into their performance and had the front row crowding even closer as the set went on. Hold Close is a captivating group and it was almost a shock when their set came to an end.

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UK quartet WSTR paid their first visit to the United States on this tour, bringing their heavier pop punk to the States. The excitement was palpable and the middle of the room morphed into a flurry of continuous movement. The band is touring in support of their latest album, Identity Crisis.

Let it be known that these British boys can rock it out. The transition from “Bad to the Bone” to “Featherweight” kept the moshing going and even slowing things down for a pseudo-acoustic moment meant that the fans’ voices were almost louder than the band’s. The clear winner, though, was “Eastbound and Down”, one of the catchiest songs of the night. WSTR had a crowd eager to meet them immediately after their set ended, hoping for news of the next time they make the journey back to Arizona.

Under normal circumstances, a band like PVMNTS might fade into AltPress obscurity. The secret ingredient is former Teen Wolf actor Tyler Posey. A longtime pop punk fanboy, Posey decided to start his own project after the show wrapped. PVMNTS is loud, raucous and funny- like Posey himself. Holding down the bassline, Posey is joined by lead vocalist Freddy Ramirez and drummer Nick Guzman, a trio that goofed around onstage like brothers.

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Between the dirty humor and innuendo, PVMNTS played some surprisingly earnest music. The subject of mental health has been more widely addressed in music recently and PVMNTS put their own spin on the conversation.

“It’s okay to be fucked up sometimes, right?” Posey ruminated to the approval of his rapt audience. The band played their new EP in full and even brought out a few new songs- most memorably “Blue Lights”.

While Posey’s celebrity status may have been the initial draw, the lineup on this tour pushed that to the side. The bands were loud and exciting and perfect for a basement mosh pit on a Wednesday night. Sure, the girls all screamed when the shirts came off, but everyone sang along proving that the music was the real reason to crowd into the Underground.

 

Story and photos by Olivia Khiel

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