PRAWN. Bowery District, Reading. 25.06.15

There’s just no clue in that name. It’s so damn unassuming. And the boys in the band look like they’d rather have a friendly chat about the Kinsella family back catalogue than ever really raise their voice. Ok, perhaps it should’ve been a clue when bassist Ryan McKenna asked for “more bass, everywhere” during his sound check but it just didn’t click. A minute into their first song though, names and faces don’t matter and everyone inside the Bowery District is absolutely clear on one thing, Prawn are loud. Like, really loud.

The New Jersey quintet come alive on stage, attacking their set like it might get away if they didn’t, and causing what feels like permanent damage to whatever connects your eyeballs to your head. It’s not an ugly, blunt kind of volume either, it’s a layered weight, the sound of a band in sync and never really stepping out of it. ‘Scud Running’, shorn of its delicate embellishments on record, becomes a runaway rolling rock of a song, ‘First As Tragedy…’ is tons of fun, like Brand New with balls, and a brilliant ‘Thalassa’ gets right up there on the decibel count too but keeps all its art and anguish intact.

And then it’s over. A passionate gut punch gone right through to your spine. A proper smash and grab. The feedback stops and Prawn are normal again, mere mortals. You’d never ever guess by looking at them, so damn unassuming, that they just played one of the best gigs of the year.

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