Live Review: Puppy - Underworld, London 25/04/2019


Puppy are the kind of band that have a distinctive configuration which makes them difficult to be placed into a box. What starts off as alternative rock, erupts into metal breakdowns and reigns itself back in with melodic harmonies; you are thrown between these moments in a way that is hard to keep up with, though you never feel like you’re missing out.

If you follow Puppy on any kind of social media, you are well aware that the band have a great kind of energetic humour about them – this transcends to their stage presence which is all at once dominating and relaxed. This was the final date on their UK tour in support of their debut album The Goat, which was released in January via Spinefarm Records. Puppy entered the stage to the Metal Gear Solid 3 song ‘Snake Eater’ by Cynthia Harrell and the crowd erupted into a satisfied roar of familiarity. What strikes me most about seeing Puppy live, is that once all of the layers of the studio recordings are stripped away, Jock Norton’s vocals are a lot darker and grittier which is a very welcome change.

After rattling through ‘Just Like You’ and ‘The Great Beyond’, which is full of bluesy riffs and a funky bass solo, Jock addressed the crowd who turned up for their homecoming show – “what a time to be alive” he pondered before announcing that they were going to play some of their heavier songs from the debut album, ‘The Goat’. The album was incredibly well received when it was released, and I have to say that it comes across even better from a live aspect. ‘Black Hole’ being one of the lead singles was a clear favourite, and with the set being ramped up a notch, the crowd became a lot more receptive. ‘World Stands Still’ initiated a trend of people climbing up on stage and then jumping back into a sea of people, to crowd surf. This didn’t seem to phase puppy, which added to their relaxed, yet dominating performance.

The only downside to Puppy’s performance was that it wasn’t longer. With one album and two EP’s under their belt it was a shame that as a headline set, they only played nine songs. It also appeared that there was a lag in energy as the performance went on, which can be slightly excused given that it was the last night of their tour.  The emotive grunge solo in ‘Nightwalker’ allowed for a change in pace, but it seemed difficult to regain the pace whilst following up with ‘Bathe in Blood’ and ‘Arabella’. Before slipping away, they treated their “old true fans” with ‘Forever’ which is the final track from their self-titled 2015 EP. On announcement of the tour, Puppy dubbed it ‘The Greatest of All Tours’ and from their perspective, it did not seem to disappoint. 

Words by Tyler Damara Kelly