- 14 Oct 19
To all that didn't catch Hunkpapa at the Grand Social this weekend, you may very well have missed your last chance to catch them at such an intimate venue.
"We've had some great shows, some okay ones, and a few that were just horrible," said Hunkpapa frontman Weston Clendinning of the band's ongoing Ireland and UK tour before they took the stage in Dublin. I wasn't at the previous shows, but I'd definitely stash their Grand Social gig into the "great" category. And to all that weren't at the gig, you may very well have missed your last opportunity to catch Hunkpapa at such an intimate venue.
Running through the crowd and onto the stage one-by-one, the lads opened the show with their debut single, 'Lost in the Wild'. Upbeat, catchy, and danceable, the crowd reciprocated Hunkpapa's energy from the first beat – devoted fans chanting along to each word and casual listeners joining for the "heyo" part.
Towing the line between rock stars and giddy children, Hunkpapa know how to infect a room with their energy.
Illustrating both of those identities in one song, the band coordinated a dance-off between the two halves of the room during 'Obstructive', asking the left and right sides to go wild. Moments later, the melody faded to the back and Clendinning took the mic for the spoken-word bridge.
In full seriousness, he stared out into the crowd and awkwardly recited: "You have been taking the milk / We have the names on the milk for a reason, Stephen / So the party's over for you, to say the least / It's kaput / You're gonna have to buy your own milk now / Starting tomorrow". Immediately, the guitar melody roared back and the band went wild again. For the rest of the song, however, the crowd was too busy laughing to revive their killer dance moves they started the song with.
Fear not, 'Cappuccino' – the lads' most recent single – followed, and was surely the most danceable tune of the night. This song was meant to be heard live. The instrumental opening signaled a banger is ahead, but then the first verse brought the room back down, gradually building back up into the explosive chorus. With mad guitar solos and a show-stopping instrumental bridge, the song was by far the best of the night. "You gotta scream these words out!" commanded Clendinning before the last chorus, to which the crowd happily obliged.
As anticipated, the crowd also got a sneak peak of Hunkpapa's upcoming single, 'Rachel', set for release on Wednesday. The electric-guitar-heavy song has a slow build well worth the wait. The drums carried the song through the bridge, accompanied by a brilliant bass line. For a slower song, the lads still rock on as hard as any other song in their set, with bassist Patrick Cartwright eyes closed, tongue out, and wildly thrashing to the beat.
Hunkpapa closed out the night with 'Burlesque Warriors', the rockiest song of the night. With charged lyrics, the lads fully assumed their rock star roles, with guitarist Johno running as far into the crowd as his plug would allow and Matthew smashing the drum kit faster than light. Cue the one more tune chants.
After briefly leaving the stage, Clendinning sauntered back on. While adjusting his capo, he addressed the crowd. “Before I start the next song, I have to teach you all it because it looks good on Instagram," he joked. “It goes a little like this... In fact it goes exactly like this.” Demonstrating the melodious "heyos" of 'Hunkpapa Dakota', the rest of the band joined him on stage for one final tune. Perhaps it's a good song for an Instagram story, but the crowd seemed to be fully concerned with soaking up the final moments of the show. One last tune with impressive guitar solos, head-bopping beats, and spot-on vocals, and Hunkpapa left the stage for the final time that night.
Rest assured, if they keep putting on shows like that, they'll be back for bigger and better things soon enough.