Last Thursday at beloved Nashville haunt The End, the dedicated crowd’s anticipation for emerging indie pop-punk favorite Knox electrified the room.
A warm night in one of Nashville’s most intimate dive bar venues, fans lined up well before doors opened. The first 25 fans to arrive were given “Monumental Mess” red trucker hats from the artist’s team. The red hats lined the stage at the completely sold out event, which acted as the release show for Knox’s new EP, How To Lose A Girl in 7 Songs.
Feeling more like a party than a performance, the crowd was getting to know each other and getting amped for what promised to be a rowdy night of good fun. The main event of the night, Knox found viral success with his 2022 single, “Sneakers,” that has now surpassed 17 million streams on Spotify, and has catapulted the artist to the top of everyone’s For You Page.
Opening for Knox were some of the artist’s close personal friends in the indie pop punk scene. Z. Smith and his band were a mix of leather jackets and snapbacks, melding elements of rap and rock, kicking things off with high energy and high performance value, setting the tone for the night.
John Harvie then entered the scene in a fitted suit and sunglasses with all the confidence and swagger of a boy band front man. With JT-like dance moves and powerhouse punk-pop vocals on par with Patrick Stump from Fallout Boy or Alex Gaskarth from All Time Low, Harvie got the crowd up and dancing while showing his impressive vocal range and dexterity.
Then it was time for the ender.
Knox’s entrance was an explosion of blue light and high fives accompanied by a personalized intro mashing up his newest songs, bringing the venue to life. His stage presence is a force all his own, as he exuded confidence and cool, playing for over 200 people in close quarters.
He an his band opened with the fan favorite, “I Don’t Wanna Know.” Equal parts catchy and honest, “I Don’t Wanna Know” is a danceable and vulnerable anthem that doesn’t mince any words. From the front row to the back, the crowd echoed every word.
The young, ambitious artist announced the show at The End was his first ever headlining show, though you wouldn’t know it. It’s clear Knox is no novice performer, as he delivered with great vocal stamina and focused energy the crowd fed off of. The “Sneakers” singer connects to his audience, using his raw cut and dry lyrics and wit, carving a place for himself in the pop-punk alt scene.
“Time Machine” – one of the new releases – pulls the heart strings in a mid-tempo emotive contemplation of past love. Keeping time with anxiety-inducing ticks of a clock, Knox makes heartache exciting with high stakes, drawing in the crowd into his world of retrospect.
Not long after, Knox pulled out an ombre orange electric guitar to finish his set as lead vocalist and instrumentalist.
Constantly cracking jokes with the crowd and his band mates, Knox never failed to show his appreciation to everyone in the room, noting that he’s “Mind blown to call this my job. I’ve dreamed of this since I was 15 years old.” He showed his love for opener, Z. Smith, who helped develop the concept behind the massive success of “Sneakers.”
Not long after, he ignited the stage with “Dumpster Fire,” one of the singer’s hardest rock songs, which is featured on the new EP. Growing in intensity, “Dumpster Fire” builds from an ember to a wildfire, and so did the crowd during this performance. This song has all the makings to be a pop-punk anthem.
Bringing opener John Harvie back to the stage for their duet, “Leg Day,” the two left nothing behind on the stage, reviving their witty duet for the ecstatic, eager crowd.
Finishing the show strong with his modern hit, “Sneakers,” Knox ended the party on a high note, making it clear why this song – and in turn himself – went viral.
Knox’s latest songs from How To Lose A Girl In 7 Songs are clever, mischievous, and leave no room for ambiguity. His brand of lyric-driven pop-punk music is in the leagues of heavy-hitting contemporaries like Machine Gun Kelly and The Kid Laroi. The new EP paints a fresh and insightful picture of young adult relationships through symbols of intimacy and belonging, and Thursday night proved why his star in the indie circuit is rising.