photo by Laure Noverraz 

The Exchange | 16th April

On PWR BTTM‘s recent single ‘Big Beautiful Day’ Ben Hopkins speaks of combatting shitty people by “being your damn self” – it’s a simple and seemingly straight-forward message but one that feels imperative to their impassioned young fans. These young fans gather at the front of the stage almost an hour before the support are even due on, covered in glitter and rainbow flags, with their hands flailing in anticipation.

Tour support comes from Orchards, who produce math rock with a peppy-pop edge. The Brighton-based four-piece are effortlessly seamless – gliding between intricate, melodic guitar lines and brooding bass, as dynamically-charged percussion shimmies and soars with a focused precision. However, it’s vocalist Lucy Evers who’s most striking – her energy ensures the room swells to capacity as she performs with a fervent gusto. Cracking jokes between bangers ‘Peggy’ and ‘Honey’, the reaction Orchards receive could easily rival their headliners.

PWR BTTM are quick to thank their support, with Orchards’ bassist Dan Fane filling in the third spot for them tonight. Ahead of their first song, Ben Hopkins also ensures the crowd remember to keep the space safe ahead of their first song. “Dance like you’re on a pogo stick,” they joke. It’s a refreshing affirmation for those of us who are perhaps a little smaller or with less enthusiastic limbs.

Recent tracks ‘Big Beautiful Day’ and ‘LOL’ and are received with just as much love as “golden-oldies” ‘I Wanna Boi’ and ‘Dairy Queen’, as the room escalates to a collective euphoria. ‘Ugly Cherries’ – the title track from their 2015 album – is performed with an animated sincerity, as Hopkins flits through the now-iconic guitar lines with ease, before placing their leg in the standard guitar-solo pose. It’s testament to PWR BTTM’s ability in never taking themselves too seriously and it’s brilliantly endearing.

The quieter moment of ‘C U Around’ sees an emotive delivery from Liv Bruce, before she blasts through a brashy rendition of anti-fuckboi anthem ‘Answer My Text’. And of course, it wouldn’t be a PWR BTTM show without their pasta-loving, taco-worshipping track ‘Carbs’.

The jovial, inclusive nature of the band results in a night that feels warm and welcoming. It’s a sole, glittering bubble in a world that continues to crumble; hours after their set finishes, with fans still eager to talk to their idols, it’s clear that no one wants to leave this bubble just yet.

Check out ‘Big Beautiful Day’ below.