Gorilla Biscuits live at Dome, London

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“Fuck Live Nation!” states frontman Civ, following charging live versions of New Direction and Stand Still that blew the pit of the Dome apart within seconds. It was a rallying call from a band that come from a no barrier rule, and unlike their show at the Electric Ballroom the night before, tonight is a hardcore show with only one rule. A rule that allows their people not only to share blood, sweat and tears, but to become brothers and sisters in the same square of wet flooring too. Fun.

This togetherness, born from a vibrant 80s hardcore scene, is a mentality that has reached every generation since. Having fun is the only thing on your mind when going out to see a band and that’s what you get from this lot. Strong, positive energy with a key message from hard working people who have non-stop promoted fun since they formed, and tonight’s set is rife with the good stuff.

From the building riffs of High Hopes, to the punching stomp of No Reason Why, the NYC crew smashed the Dome with classics from start to finish, on par with the electric show we saw them play last summer at Ieper Fest, where a barrage of stage diving did not stop until the final riff. Crowd participation was on point throughout this gig. Civ’s mic was shared with the lemming catchers at the front throughout the show. One cheeky punk even sneaked up on stage for a drink of his water in between tunes. I guess that’s to be expected though when you tell everyone what’s mine is yours. All fair game when you have a Big Fucking Mouth.

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Do Something from CIV’s own Revelation classic pummeled the audience before Time Flies and Competition sped by like rockets. The former with a nod to old friend (and Turbonegro frontman) Tony Sylvester, who took the mic for a cover version of Judge’s New York Crew and smashed it. Their banging cover version of Minor Threat went down a storm too. There’s a lyric in that song that says something about “we’re all heading for that adult crash,” but those who managed to attend this show tonight never stacked it – they/we are the lucky ones, still wearing it on our sleeves, still getting away with it and it’s a damn good feeling.

As Walter’s harmonica wailed out the infamous solo to Start Today, I closed my eyes and thanked my lucky stars that hardcore came into my life. Thanks to everyone who played their part in it, especially Gorilla Biscuits.

Words: Zac
Photos: Natalie Wood / Wondergirl Photography

Enjoy the entire show if you missed it, courtesy of Max Horn.

GHOST live at Koko

Ghost
London Koko
21st Dec 2015

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We here at Crossfire love Ghost, we do. (The Nameless Ghoul who plays bass is our favourite, he’s so much sexier than the others). Clearly, we are not alone, as tonight the queue for the sold-out Koko has to double back on itself long before the doors actually open. The Swedish sextet’s mix of old-school metal, synthesized orchestration and gothic/horror imagery may seem very much at odds with the prevailing Sounds Of 2015, but it makes for a devilishly good night out, and a fine last chance to dance as the year draws to a close.

Dead Soul are armed with some decent melodic industrial rock tunes, but the trio’s minimalist set-up and relative lack of stage presence ultimately draw little more than polite applause from a crowd eager for quite the opposite. They’d probably be more fun in front of their own crowd in a more intimate club.

Ghost, on the other hand, seem completely at home amidst the Koko’s cavernous red-and-gold furnishings. Churches may be heaving at this time of year, but it’s doubtful that many boast as magnetic a figure as Papa Emeritus III to lead their congregations. His increasingly camp between-song banter runs somewhat contrary to his band’s image – with various Nameless Ghoul musicians stalking the stage in black clothes and silver masks – but who says alleged devotees of The Horned One can’t have a sense of humour?

If you’re still tempted to dismiss Ghost as a novelty act, then you really need to wrap your ears around new album ‘Meliora’, which dominates tonight’s set, and on which Ghost have never sounded better. ‘Spirit’ is as atmospheric an opener as you could hope for, whilst the slower ‘He Is’ is sung back religiously by a crowd that encompasses teenagers in Black Veil Brides shirts, a few geezers in 1980s Monsters Of Rock t-shirts, and all folks in between. Quite simply, the likes of ‘From The Pinnacle To The Pit’ and ‘Mummy Dust’ sound bigger, stronger and more memorable than past efforts, whilst still being unmistakably the work of Ghost.

By the time they treat us to an encore of sorts, Papa has long since discarded his papal hat and robes for a tuxedo, and the almost reverential vibe has somehow seamlessly evolved into one of fun and celebration. He compares his band’s traditional set-closer ‘Monstrance Clock’ to an orgasm, and indeed, tonight it proves a deeply satisfying end to a sweaty evening, with many a shit-eating grin amongst the hordes filing out of the Koko. Ghost – come again?

Alex Gosman

Fat White Family, Live @ The Continental, Preston

Fat White Family
The Continental, Preston
Sunday 13th December

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Living in Blackpool, I usually have to venture into Manchester to see any live music worth watching, however, recently the local city of Preston (or as others know it “Depreston”) has had an uproar of amazing live acts coming through. After seeing an advertisement for Fat White Family at a venue of which I have never heard of, I couldn’t turn up such an opportunity.

Fat White Family may sound like nothing new to this scene; we’ve seen these outrageous statements about discerning topics such as oral sex and pedophilia so frequently before, much like the shock factor of Sex Pistols firing swastikas to their clothing. However, what make Fat White’s so special is that they exist in a time where music is so scared of being offensive, forcing any statements into a small corner of political correctness, and supplying this degenerative sense of creativity, where everything is clean cut. These guys are fucked and have something to say; they’ll say it as loud as they can.

My nostrils began to sting, pre-empting their appearance, as the wandered through the croud flaunting clean skinheads. They intiated the storm by teasing the crowd of eclectic post teens with the intro of a new song called Tinfoil Deathstar before melting into one of their most recognised numbers Auto Neutron. I can almost taste the Lysergic Acid in the back of my throat, tainting my lips as his fingers lick the psychedelic tones of the guitar.

FWF play other classic songs from their debut album “Champagne Holocaust” such as “Is It Raining In Your Mouth” which gets the crowd moving delightfully as Lias erupts, his neck popping and his half naked body dowsed in all kinds of fluid. He coats the crowd in Stella before grinding over the surface of his own residue, bellowing the lyrics “c’mon baby shoot your load, c’mon baby I’m gonna explode”. The sexually suggestive lyrics from his tarnished, belligerent mouth, of which you can almost feel taunting its way up the back of your neck, leaves you feeling slightly violated and creates an essence of insecurity.

Whilst playing their newest single “Whitest boy on the beach”  the PA system failed mid-song. Stealing other mics from the stage, Lias makes a combined effort to howl over this somehow orchestrated clash of sounds. Electrifying his lips, the microphone sparks to his mouth; thinking on his feet Lias fires one of his shoes into the crowd before brandishing a stiff sock around the mic, dampening the shocks.

Ensuing this, the band try to discuss what they can actually play and “Fuck it, let’s just Bomb Disneyland and this place,” is heard as their drummer begins to play the beat, swiftly followed by everybody else. Lias drags the mass of microphones out into the crowd as he screams, “all your kids are dead kids” fighting over the words with the crowd as he becomes one of us. A deranged scattering of legs and screeches. The song closes as the band make a final attempt to rescue the set by being as loud as humanly possible, before hurling their instruments in an abrupt halt of sound and make for the back door.

The lights stay down and one reveler launches for a nearby working microphone, calling for more. Only to be met by the bands road manager. At this moment a return becomes unexpected, the lights flash on.

The set may have been cut short but they made the absolute most of what they could play. They saw the final embers of rock burning out and brought the fire back to an antagonizing eruption. They’re a band, which touch a deep part of you, a place in which can only exist within that room; you truly will believe all their kids to be dead kids and you will belong to the cream of the young, before returning to reality through the exit of a door.

Fat White Family far surpass any expectations and the only way to understand these sensations would be to see them live, they’re an entity in which nobody can currently rival.

Henry Calvert

Trespass – Oi Polloi On The Beach Of The Thames

Oi Polloi
Mark Thomas
Flowers of Flesh & Blood
Thames Beach (Gabriel’s Wharf)
London – 26/9/15

tresspassoi_polloi_thames_beachWhen last week rumours began circulating of a proposed gathering of punks somewhere along the Thames near the Southbank and Waterloo that was to be hosted by comedian, presenter and political satirist Mark Thomas and included live sets by Scottish Oi/Punk/anarcho legends Oi Polloi and London punx, Flowers Of Flesh And Blood, it was debatable whether this would be allowed to happen in one of the busiest tourist areas of South London.

Yet, sure enough, come the day the event had been revealed as ‘Trespass – Oi Polloi On The Beach Of The Thames’ and as we walked down to Gabriel’s Wharf, next to Oxo Tower, onto that small beach area where I had previously built sandcastles with my kids (up the punx), a huge hardcore punk roar was already rising from the beach area up onto the bank and Flowers Of Flesh And Blood were housed on a small stage in the sand, surrounded by two hundred or so punx as the band carved through a tight set of metallic anarcho thrash to bemused and amused looks from the tourists looking down on the beach.

We quickly headed down and joined the crowd, bumping into many friends equally bemused by the surreal situation as Flowers kicked into a Minor Threat medley of ‘Filler’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Hear It’ as the sand-mosh-pit exploded. There’s a small girl on the beach building a sandcastle, she flattens it with her shovel. Up on the bank two young kids with giant teddy bears make them pogo in time to the music. An old fella looks down onto the crowd of punks falling over in the sand, laughing and grinning from ear to ear. The atmosphere is great, pure fun. There are no police here yet, no trouble. The organisers had the foresight to hand out a few yellow ‘official’ looking security vests to give the appearance of some kind of official organisation, which amazingly, works.

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But there is a point to all of this. As Mark Thomas takes to the mic, among many jokes about gammon nonce David Cameron, he talks about how it’s people, not buildings and corporations that make cities and we have every right to reclaim public areas for protest and events to cheers from the crowd as Oi Polloi take to the sand and kick into ‘Resist The Atomic Menace’ from the first single back in 1986. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Oi Polloi (probably not since the early 90s), but they’re as good as they ever were. Frontman Deek is irrepressible, funny, charming, energetic yet still railing against the world.

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As ‘Punks Picnic’ bellows from the PA, there’s still no sign of any police to break up the party and as the sun starts to descend and the booze is flowing, Oi Polloi inspire bedlam in the sand as the pit reaches fever point and the crowd piles in, singing along to every word, punching the air as the tourists above take photos and film what they can to take back home to their friends and family…”you’ll never believe what we saw in London today”.

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Then later that evening, the so called ‘Fuck Parade’ organised by Class War, kicked off in Shoreditch. A supposed protest against the gentrification of London, it saw an angry mob of so-called anarchists target an independent business and scare, frighten and intimidate people. A total contrast to the positive, fun vibes felt earlier in the day by the river where the message was delivered in a good and uplifting way, educating the public and making them think. ‘Fuck Parade’ was an ugly event that achieved nothing but to terrify the public by acting like thugs. A sad end to a righteous day of protest and music but the fun memories will remain for those that rocked on the beach that day and the public that stumbled across it.

James Sherry

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Destruction Unit live at The Shacklewell Arms

Destruction Unit
The Shacklewell Arms, London
24th September

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Once the original hardcore punk scene that exploded across America in the early eighties had started to run out of energy and steam by the mid-eighties, some of the bands looked back further into history and fused psychedelic and classic rock influences with their punk roots. Minutemen, Husker Du, Meat Puppets, Black Flag, Butthole Surfers …all of these bands took the underground in new directions, paving the way for Arizonan quintet Destruction Unit to beautifully fuse soaring psychedelic rock with ferocious hardcore punk in a way that no one has quite done before.

Crammed onto the small stage, slightly confused expressions upon their faces, the band blatantly haven’t sound-checked and spend some time plugging and unplugging various leads and effect boxes as guitar squeals and squelches buzz from the amps and PA. An orchestra of guitar feedback begins to swell as they poise to detonate and sure enough, when opening song ‘Disinfect’ kicks in (also the opening track on their incredible new album ‘Negative Feedback Resistor’), it’s like a bomb going off. The sound takes a few minutes to adjust; the guitars are so loud that the drums and vocals are buried under the mix, but it soon settles and we’re confronted with a barrage of belligerent noise. It’s like Negative Approach or Void entombed under two tons of psychedelic rubble, smashing and bashing their way through and assaulting your senses.

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‘Salvation’ starts up next, guitarist Nick Nappa, hair up in a Gene Simmons topknot, gurning and convulsing as he carves out Stooges riffs as the band pile in behind him, drummer Andrew Flores stuck in the back of the Shacklewell cave, shades on, baseball cap low, as he hammers the skins, propelling the band forward like a jet engine.

By this point the sound is so loud it’s oppressive. Singer Ryan Rousseau, what you can hear of him over the noise, drawls and howls into the mic, a menacing figure in dark huddled to the far left of the stage with a nasty line in vocals, you can sense there’s darkness in this man. And large doses of lysergic acid diethylamide.

‘Chemical Reaction/Chemical Delight’, again from the new album, is another set highlight; kick started with pure hardcore adrenalin, it descends into an acid-drone nightmare that is full of terror and tense paranoia. And then it stops. Destruction Unit don’t fuck about. They might be psychedelic but they don’t amble. They are punks, they keep it short, direct and explosive.

Destruction Unit are the most exciting band I’ve heard and seen in quite some time.

James Sherry

NOFX & Alkaline Trio live at Brixton Academy

NOFX/Alkaline Trio
Brixton Academy
July 5th 2015

nofx_brixton“I’d have a go at the front row for being old and fat, but I think that’d be a bit pot-kettle-black these days!” Capdown frontman Jake Sims-Fielding may indeed be looking a bit silver around the temples, but his band’s supercharged ska-core attack still hits the mark after all these years, with the likes of ‘Cousin Cleotis’ and ‘Pound For The Sound’ filling the Academy like very few opening bands can. Never quite hitting the heights reached by so many of their US counterparts, the Milton Keynes quartet were much loved by those in the know, and tonight that love is justified once again.

Lagwagon, in contrast, have spent most of their 25 year existence in the shadow of their labelmates NOFX, and whilst you can’t fault the Californians for effort, they’re hampered by sub-par sound and a relative lack of genuinely great songs. The crowd seem slightly subdued after the in-your-face fury of Capdown, and only a late rendition of ‘Alienate’ truly gets things moving again.

Ding-ding, round one of the Classic Albums In Their Entirety face-off. In the red (and black) corner, Chicago’s finest, Alkaline Trio, who seem to have barely aged in the last decade, and come armed with ‘From Here To Infirmary’. Personally, I’d have preferred to hear its predecessor, ‘Maybe I’ll Catch Fire’, but ‘…Infirmary’ is a fine second best, and is notably the album that marked their first visit to UK shores. Matt Skiba & co. don’t waste words as they get stuck in, and even lesser-known cuts like ‘Take Lots With Alcohol’ and ‘Steamer Trunk’ are received like black-humored manna. It’s a set that’s largely bereft of surprises, but overflowing with tunes, and they get bonus points for an epic closing rendition of ‘Radio’.

Round two, and in the green corner it’s NOFX, with 1994’s ‘Punk In Drublic’ set for an airing. Three decades into the game and Fat Mike’s crew can still bamboozle us; why bother simply playing your magnum opus straight when you could mix it up with a bunch of other (mostly equally good) songs, numerous wisecracks, impersonations and general messing around? Lesser bands probably couldn’t get away with it, but these guys have a certain chemistry, and they also have ‘The Cause’, ‘Linoleum’ and ‘Don’t Call Me White’ to whip any self-respecting pit (including tonight’s) into a maelstrom. Irreverent to the end, yet arguably the only band here tonight who seem truly comfortable on the Academy’s huge stage, NOFX’s revisit of past glories sounds pretty damn fine in the here and now.

Review: Alex Gosman

Poison Idea live at the Borderline, London

Poison Idea
The Borderline, London
May 7th

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Poison Idea have history right in the centre of London. All of their 90s appearances in the capital exploded in the centre; from that first incendiary performance with the Hard Ons at ULU in ’91, to the legendary Marquee and Astoria gigs, tonight Poison Idea returned to hit the centre dead-on again at The Borderline. With pretty much all of the rock n’ roll now flattened and demolished in Central London, the heart ripped out of it, it’s fitting to have Jerry A and his kings of punk return to the ruins and re-charge it once again with their vital metallically-charged hardcore punk.

As we climb down the stairs into the pit of punks crammed in to The Borderline, the first thing that hits you is the stench of puke and sweat, the deathly aroma of punk. The room is buzzing (and gagging on the smell) with anticipation for the return of Portland’s legendary Poison Idea who are very much back. Their new album ‘Confuse & Conquer’ is the best they’ve recorded since 1992’s ‘Blank Blackout Vacant’ and Jerry finally has a line-up that is committed, settled and does the music justice. Currently three-quarters through the longest and most gruelling tour they’ve done in many years, Jerry’s punished voice may be raw and ripped but from the moment the band hit the stage, they are bone-tight and packed full of power. With ’87 era-guitarist Eric ‘The Vegetable’ Olsen back in the band and stick-thin drummer Nathan Richardson pounding the skins with more power than his appearance might suggest, Poison Idea kill it tonight.

Yes, it takes a few songs for Jerry’s voice to settle in but once it does, it’s as snarled and powerful as it ever was. “This one’s for Nigel Farage,” he says as the band steam into ‘Discontent’ (“listen Nazi, never again,”) and the entire room detonates into a flurry of limbs and sweat. And the hits just keep on coming. They play pretty much every essential song you could want to hear – ‘Just To Get Away’, ‘Getting The Fear’, ‘Punish Me’, ‘Taken By Surprise’ and ‘Give It Up’ , all of which square up well with the sprinkling of new ‘Confuse & Conquer’ tracks the band play tonight.

At the end a woman’s boot is thrown onstage. Jerry picks it up, empties half a bottle of cider into the bottom of it and swills the contents into his mouth. “Tastes like a size 6,” his says before the band wind the set up with a double stab of Johnny Thunders and Avengers covers. A perfect punk rock night. We’re so fucking glad Poison Idea are still here.

James Sherry

Social Distortion live at Shepherds Bush Empire

Social Distortion live at Shepherds Bush Empire, May 3rd 2015

socialdlive_Many Social Distortion fans out there will tell you that the band’s 1983 debut Mommy’s Little Monster is their best record to date. This baffles me. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a great punk rock record, but one almost entirely free of the country and other American roots music influences that, to these ears, define Social Distortion among their Californian punk brethren. These aforementioned influences were incorporated in fine style on 1988’s ‘Prison Bound’, but further refined on 1990s self-titled record; my personal favourite, and also home to some of their best-known songs (including ‘Story Of My Life’ and ‘Ball And Chain’). Arguably, it is this album that would give a Social D newcomer the best snapshot of what Mike Ness’ crew are all about, and the man himself clearly agrees with me; to the extent that his band are currently playing the album in its entirety every night, to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

These seasoned veterans certainly look and sound good as they rip through the opening ‘So Far Away’ and ‘Let It Be Me’; so it’s a shame that the crowd don’t seem half as up for it as they were when Social D last played here (about four years ago). It’s at times like these that I wish that I could empty the venue and re-fill it with a couple of thousand clones of myself. Ok, that would mean a whole crowd of slightly podgy 30-something caffeine-addicted misanthropists, but they’d give lesser-known cuts like ‘A Place In My Heart’ the sing-along and jump-around that they deserve, and THEY’D LEAVE THEIR FUCKING CAMERA PHONES AT HOME. Thankfully, though, Mike seems happy, and kindly takes the time to say hello, remind us that we don’t have to go to work tomorrow, and ramble like a star-struck kid about having met The Clash bassist Paul Simonon earlier that day.
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If that sounds a bit too cosy for comfort, it’s worth pointing out that the Social Distortion (and Mike Ness) of today are a far more stable and – dare I say it? – professional beast than they were 25 years ago, and at times tonight, a little Mommy’s Little Monster-style sense of danger wouldn’t have gone amiss. The songs have stood the test of time, though, and even recent cuts like ‘Gimme The Sweet And Lowdown’ are played with kind of vigour that suggests Mike still has a few axes to grind after all these years.

The one-two knockout punch of ‘Ring Of Fire’ and anti-racism anthem ‘Don’t Drag Me Down’ are pretty much as good an encore as you’ll hear from anyone, and whilst it’s been fun revisiting Social Distortion’s past tonight, they’ve also proved that – over three decades in – there’s still plenty of gas left in this rock n’ roll machine.

Review: Alex Gosman
Photo credit: Albert Saludes

Sleater-Kinney live at the Camden Roundhouse

Sleater-Kinney live at The Camden Roundhouse, March 23rd 2015

sleater-kinneyAn audience can make or break any performance. No matter how far up the chain of success and respect the headline act sits, if the masses aren’t on your side it’s going to be a rough journey, and tonight’s crowd hold Sleater-Kinney in the palm of their collective hand throughout.

The Camden Roundhouse is overrun with hard-core fans, and each one spurs the band just that little further to boiling point. Steaming bodies fly and throat’s are screamed raw as each worshiping fan hurls Corin Tucker’s lyrics right back at her. It’s an overwhelming sight to behold and clearly a special reunion that’s run long overdue as tonight mark’s both Sleater-Kinneys return to London, and music itself, following a hiatus called in 2006.

Since reforming, the bands comeback album No Cities To Love has received overwhelming critical acclaim from across the globe, and this evening sees the trio deliver smash after smash of their new material to a truly adoring audience. Songs like ‘Price Tag’, ‘Surface Envy’ and of course ‘No Cities to Love’ all bring the house down, with choice cuts from their sizeable back catalogue like ‘The End Of You’s scrappy call to arms, and set closer ‘Jumpers’ all going down a storm. But it’s not ‘till the encore that Sleater-Kinney play the ace card.

Again recalling the sheer command and power tonight’s audience hold over the band, there’s a sincere demand for encore in the room. Rapturous applause, deafening cheer and a stampede hailing from the circle tier create a tremendous racket, summoning the power trio back from the wings for a triumphant five-song close.

So many bands seem to jump the gun with their encores these days, as if it’s an expected part of every set, whether you’re at the Shacklewell Arms or the O2. Tonight, the encore is restored and reserved for the crème de la crème that it once was, with Corin Tucker occasionally handing the torch to Carrie Brownstein, whose poignant turns like ‘Modern Girl’ are overwhelming, and with the addition of Janet Weiss’s harmonica there’s a glimpse of precious Laurel Canyon-esque magic hanging in the air too.

With still handful of UK dates to go across Manchester, Glasgow and Dublin, Sleater-Kinney are setting themselves up for one of the most talked about reunions, and album’s outright, of this year.

Raketkanon and Brutus live at the Stillery

Raketkanon / Brutus live at the Stillery
Camden, London
9th March 2015

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It’s very easy to get jaded about music. To not bother with support bands, to not open your ears to new sounds, to sit in the pub with your mates before the main band rather than getting in a bit early to check out something new that you might not have seen or heard before. True lovers and believers in music always dream and thrive off the possibility that the next band you could see might just be the one to change your life, your new favourite band. It doesn’t happen often but when it does, it feels pretty damn good. Tonight it happened with Brutus.

They come from Leuven, the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region of Belgium. They feature Stefanie Mannaerts‬ on drums and vocals, Stijn on guitar and Peter on bass. Stefanie, with her supermodel features, leans back behind the drums and begins to lurch and roll around the kit, peeling off effortless blast beats and breakdowns, carving out technical rhythms, adding both ethereal and harsh vocals to the post-rock guitars swirling from the amps. It’s a massively impressive sound and look and you will be hearing a lot about Brutus over the coming months. “Trouble comes in threes. So does Brutus,” it says on their website. You have been warned.

As soon as Raketkanon hit the stage following a howling call from frontman Pieter-Paul Devos, a rhythmic explosion graces the venue with what seems like a charge from a lightning bolt. Precision beats from Pieter de Wilde keep the thumping bass lines moving only forward as they ascend into their set list. It’s the calling card for what’s to come as this lot are like a spring coil and nobody standing in this room has a clue what’s about to go down. All we do know though from the off is that it’s going to be amazing! It’s one of those nights.

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We are only two tracks into the set when drum bastard Pieter de Wilde stands up and launches his high hats into the crowd with force, breaking them instantly, only to find himself back at the kit with just his ride for company. It’s only a few minutes after his ‘breakables’ are replaced and de Wilde is at it again; uncontrollably leaving his kit to reveal superwoman-like, red satin pants. He pulls them down from behind his monk-like cape at speed before he runs through the crowd, his old man swinging in every direction, crashing through bearded onlookers who hit the floor startled!

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Some bands can try and have spontaneous moments in their sets and pull it off, where others fail and slow down the set, but this lot ooze class when they are in full swing; not missing a beat, riff, or a tweaked vocal harmony. Singer Pieter-Paul Devos has even invented his own language to accompany Raketkanon’s monstrously heavy musical arsenal, so he’s hardly able to fluff his lines as he screams and writhes on the floor upside down.

Those thinking this is all guitars and stabbing bass riffs though be warned. Jef Verbeeck’s sick guitar noodling on the mellow moments and his ability to make his rig sound like stone death when pushed to 11 is just one side of this band’s crown. Lode Vlaeminck’s bass synth steez is a technical display of keyboard infused butchery. He’s surrounded by pedals and knobs, flashing lights and volume controls, as his fingers tweak and deliver a soundscape of terrifying sounds, some reminiscent of hammer house of horrors. It’s a masterclass of sound production that all seems to mold together to create perfect cacophony with an eeriness that will have your teeth grinding into your gums.

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There’s no need to rattle on about what songs they played because discovering a band for the first time live is all about getting to know how it works, especially when there’s intrigue ahead of a band performance like this. A combination of new tracks from their forthcoming album RKTKN#2 were heard, including the much blogged ‘Florent’ alongside ‘Herman’ and ‘Anna’ from their first album, aptly titled RKTKN#1. The set flowed to perfection, people’s jaws were left on the floor and there was no need for an encore.

Devos left the stage with blood streaming down his face – nobody knew he actually had knocked himself out in the chaotic curtain closer! We all left with hearing problems and stoked grins.

Raketkanon are pulverising live – pushing the boundaries of punk rock and metal forwards with a nuclear armed Sherman tank and should be seen at your earliest convenience.

Ph: Brutus in full swing.

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