18th April | Exchange
Debut album, The GOAT by Puppy has deservedly caught attention. The riff-laden album has captured the ears of the alt industry for its refreshing take on metal with a tongue-in-cheek attitude. They have been gaining attraction across festival circuits and even have graced the covers of magazines. For a band who are considered in their ‘early stages’, they are certainly gaining huge momentum.
With this sense of excitement, Exchange was busy from the outset, ready to welcome the first support in the form of Bristol-based Dirt. This grunge outfit held nothing back, with their brutal rhythm section, which was shook you to the core. Next up was the South London quintet, Green Lung. They stormed though pieces from their recent release, Woodland Rites. Accompanied by the especially vigorous use of a tambourine, Green Lung clearly revelled in bringing the energy as they thoroughly filled the Exchange stage.
Their material resided within the core structures of metal. The performance itself had tendencies to adhere to, at times, stereotypical metal showmanship. Whilst saying this, it was easy to see the appeal of Green Lung, as they embodied the traditional roots of heavy metal nicely.
With two very diverse supports, they were brilliant elements of the line-up in preparing us for Puppy’s versatility. Springing off with the whirring chugs of ‘Entombed’, the sea of nods in the heated main room began.
Swiftly moving into ‘Just Like You’, Puppy proved (even in just the first five minutes) that they have created a middle-ground where ferocity meets pop. This aspect became so prominent when fan favourite ‘Black Hole’ injected lively chanting into the venue. Amongst the vigorous progression into brutal breakdowns, lyrically, Puppy delved into affecting territory as heard in ‘Poor Me’. They so seamlessly navigated through catchy pieces, while their tracks which were more poignant in empathy created a reflective atmosphere soundtracked by profound basslines.
As the album has been received so glowingly, to hear the tightness live was a treat. The trio breathed exciting life the into the set with a refined sound which boasted intricacy. A noticeable powerhouse of Puppy lies in drummer Billy Howard Price. He’s a monstrous force who propelled them all into staggering thrashing. It was pretty enthralling to witness a room completely erupt in response to the captivating backbone of the band.
It must also be noted that Jock Norton’s signature pop-punk sound added an interesting element of light to their guttural works. The blend of belting out a synonymous sound of a genre, whilst retaining a unique approach is the gripping layer which makes Puppy’s sound so accomplished.
Rounding off with the timebomb of a song, ‘Demons’, Exchange booted into its final flurry of mosh pits. The boys lapped up the movement.
Puppy have rightfully stamped themselves in as not only ones to watch, but a band whose musical vision is unique in the scene. The crowd response in Bristol was nothing but sheer thrill. I personally can’t wait to see where Puppy’s fearless work takes them.
See the video for ‘World Stands Still’ here: