A hardcore all dayer, featuring, if I remember everything correctly, Intention, Set Against, Assert, Medulla Nocte, Knuckledust, Astream, King Prawn, Goober Patrol and Agnostic Front. Phew. Now I've just got to remember enough about them all to write a review. Here goes.
Intention were already going by the time I got in there. Playing to pretty much no-one, and with a stand-in bassist, cos the proper one was on holiday, they still give it a shot. According to the demo which I picked up afterwards, this is no-school hardcore. I like that. Ranging from Sabbath, to Fugazi to Dead Kennedys. Wouldn't say I'd go anything like that far on first listen, but it was still pretty good all the same. Even if they fucked up the intro to one song about 3 times. That's what it's all about innit.
Set Against were next, and again, a bunch of unknowns to these ears. But others seemed to have heard of them, as the managed to entice a few people down into the pit. Sounded pretty much old school hardcore to these ears. This is our new guitarist Stu. He's only had 4 practises with us and been in the band a week. He's doing a fucking great job quote the frontman who could've scared the shit out of me. And he did do a pretty good job. Was it them that ended with the Black Flag cover? I can't remember. One band did. May have been them. Not bad.
Assert. This was the first time I'd seen them in spite of the length of time they've been around. I've heard tales of their gigs. Slightly wild is a term that gets over used but has been applied. Not normal maybe. Well, when the bassist and drummer take to the stage to play the entire set naked, that's an accusation that may well be levelled at them.
You could say that sort of thing is designed for attention, but as Britt pointed out, there was only one lady in the pit, so, um, they'd be after the wrong attention maybe. And it could distract from the music, which is excellent old school ish political hardcore. I've only had the album a week, but it's a bloody good one, and a sizeable chunk of it is aired in the 30 minutes they have, including the title track More Than A Witness, Wolf, Assert Yourself, and the wonderful Collective Force. I'd like to thank all those down in the front, and all those that are thinking who great I'm looking. The bass player looks fit someone shouts. Nah, my wife just had a girl this week, and the bassist's kid is due soon. See, Assert Yourself. Not your standard gig. Great fun.
The Nocte. One of those bands that I'm kicking myself about, because they've been around for 4 years and it took me until this year to actually see them. One of the very best hardcore bands around, and a complete blast live. Today Paul seems even more explosive than normal. Maybe it's the early start that did it. The set is the same that they've delivered every time I've seen them now, that's pretty much the entire album, and it gets more brutal every time. All Our Friends are Dead and All I Ask finish the set from a band who'll blow pretty much anyone away. Love to see them given the chance on say a Fear Factory, Sepultura, Soulfly tour. Let them show them how it's really done. Wonder how many kids would get it.
God, gonna be a long day. 9 hours of hardcore is quite a feat.
Knuckledust are next. Another first for me. I have the split album, but that's it. Again, it's down to what I've heard or read. But they're supposed to be good. And fuck me they are. Pierre the vocalist is on stage only for the begining of the set. He jumps straight into the pit and spends the duration of the set there. And going as far as the mike lead will allow. Who paid thirteen quid to get in? And you want to just stand there. You want to come down to London to see how it's done. Maybe. It's a fine spectacle, but you could say that it does intimidate people, and there'd be more of a pit if he was onstage. If you think you paid too much, put on a gig yourself. It's easy and fun. Ask us, we spread all this sort of shit for you. If you don't like it, then make a difference.. Sorry, don't know any song titles, apart from what's next which preluded everyone.
Astream are from Sweden, and were never going to follow the last trio. Dealing in a NOFX like melodic punk it seemed, they also boast a female lead guitarist. There weren't many people going off to the music, but a few were heard to exclaim cor, she's fit And as it wasn't about me as I'm not female or fit, then I assume she had a few admirers. Pleasant enough stuff, the best of which seemed to have the title, or at least the chorus, of "I'm Sick of Seattle, and plenty of references to the bands that have emerged from there over the last decade.
Were the Prawn going to be on the right bill. They're hardcore esque, but not heavyweight. But, they have such great songs, and wonderful stage presence. And Babar has had a shave. Initially it seems they're going to baffle people to much, as they play to relative silence. We respect you all, quotes Babar, but some a little more, and some a little less, because we're Not Your Punk. And that seems to win people over. It's not a frenzied response, but you can see people warming to them. Role Model, the very wonderful Racist Copper, Poison in the Air. Great stuff, if not heavyweight. Alien Spawn as ever sees the change of instruments for everyone, with Babar proving to be a great frontman as well as bassist, and when they eventually leave the stage, I could've sworn I heard people crying for more. As well they should. A large helping of Prawns next time.
Which leads us onto Goober Patrol. Another band I've not got round to seeing before, but that'll be remedied. Uk comic punk I guess, ala NOFX and Bad Religion sort of thing. Damn good fun. Featuring a guitarist who talks like that Krusher blokey that DJ'd Ozzfest. They did name some of the songs, but I can't remember now. Apart from Spiderman. You can have it regular or Noo Yawk hardcore style. Despite cries for the Noo Yawk style, we're treated to the regular version. And the bassisist, I'm sure he looks like Fat Mike. Good drunken band fun.
Dropkick Murpheys were advertised for this gig, but they didn't play, which was a bit of a shame
And so it was left to Agnostic Front to finish things off. Replete with Roger Mirret and Vinnie Stigma back in the fold, they concentrate on the new album. 9 songs off it I think. I'm familiar with the AF legend but not the music. So no song titles again. If I heard them correctly they said their drummer had been shot, so there was a temporary drummer who knew some old stuff and some new, which accounted for why there was so much new. Besides, I'm sick of playing the old, I want to play the new stuff. I like it..
Hardcore lives and If it ain't hardcore, it ain't fucking anything from Vinnie, as well as a solo rendition of something. All pretty goo d stuff, but maybe 8 hours had taken it's toll, and it's not quite as captivating and legendary as I was anticipating. Still, a pretty good day all round really.