Featuring three former members of Hot Water Music, Florida's The Draft are out on tour with Bouncing Souls on the back of their debut album 'In a Million Pieces'. Perhaps making a conscious effort to move away from the sound of Hot Water Music, The Draft throw a little bit of everything into the mix and whilst melodic and punk edged for the main part, there's a good slice of straight rock, which gives the overall sound a feel of Husker Du meeting the Foo Fighters.
They suffer from some mic problems early on but that aside the sound is good and they come over well. The music is energetic and upbeat and they have a real raw edge to them that works well and it's unfortunate that the visual performance doesn't match the sound. There isn't much movement going on (although front man Chris Wollard gives a decent showing) and whilst the crowd are receptive they are far from ecstatic. The Draft aren't perturbed however and deliver a solid set that mixes in a good variety of styles and dynamics coupled with a healthy dose of grit throughout even in the slower tracks.
They are happy to throw in non album tracks like 'Stop Wasting My Time' alongside crowd pleasers such as 'Long Shot' but the song structures are fairly straight forward and after a while they do seem to be lacking the sucker punch. The set is solid without ever threatening to really excite and I have to say they don't blow me away. Certainly more accessible than Hot Water Music and whilst they are a bit different from the tried and tested melodic punk formula I'm not sure they have enough edge to make them really stand out. Put in the middle of a festival bill you'd probably find more to shout about on either side of them and if you were a huge Hot Water Music fan you'll probably be a little disappointed by comparison.