Review: PWR BTTM @ Hare & Hounds, Birmingham

It can be hard to convey the elation that certain bands bring, but not tonight. Tonight it’s painted on the faces of people queueing up outside the door. It’s quite literally written on the homemade t-shirts fans are wearing. With a glimmer of enthusiasm and a sprinkling of glitter, PWR BTTM transform Birmingham’s Hare & Hounds into a haven of positivity.

It’s a natural energy the group embody. Giving voice to confusion that’s universally felt and empowerment that’s universally sought, for the time they spend playing it’s as if nothing else matters. Joined by Orchards’ bassist Dan Fane for their set, this is a band at their boldest and brightest. It’s rock and roll with a sassed up attitude and a theatrical bent. With storming riffs a-plenty and comic banter galore, the duo arrives destined to dazzle.

With the success of their debut album still fresh and the buzz around their imminent second record alight with possibility, the excitement that fills the venue is practically tangible. Pausing to request their audience don’t mosh (for everyone’s comfort and safety), before complaints of a sore throat see a packet of throat lozenges being thrown on stage, who said punk rock wasn’t gracious?

Glitzed up to the nines in flowing dresses, Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce revel in their time in the spotlight. From the noodling riff of new album opener ‘Silly’, through already classic numbers like ‘Ugly Cherries’ and instant anthems like ‘Answer My Text’, to a resounding encore of ‘Oh, Boy’ and ‘Styrofoam’, these are songs designed to engage. Through humour, through confusion, and through staggering resolution, PWR BTTM present a whirlwind of experience that feels nothing short of unstoppable.

“I just instinctively slapped my own ass,” Liv laughs between songs, before adding that “It’s okay to feel yourself sometimes.” This is exactly what PWR BTTM are all about: playful, joking, yet still thought provoking, the duo take to the stage ready to enlighten and entertain, armed with a dose of optimism they’re determined to share. Leaving the stage to a crowd beaming and screaming appreciation in their wake, the air is flooded with a staggering sense of belief. Fostering such a sense of connection, PWR BTTM really are a band to believe in.


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