Live Reviews

Discharge – Live

Engine Rooms, Brighton

It’s early doors on Saturday night at The Engine Rooms, and I arrive just as Brighton’s own Constant State of Terror are plugging in and preparing to unleash a salvo of hard ‘n fast Hardcore Punk that draws its influence primarily from the Mid-Eighties UK Crust scene (read: Sacrilege, Amebix, Anti-Sect) and the explosive aggression of early Poison Idea.

It’s potent shit these guys peddle, and frontman Jules (formerly of Substandard) has a ferocious set of gravel gargling nicotine stained pipes. Good start to the evening. Then a bunch called Insane Society (from nearby Seaford) set up and do their thing. Which is, to these ears, totally redundant and ropey music that is stuck in a glue bag somewhere back in ’82. I retreat to an as-much-out-of-earshot recess to escape their dumb banter and lacklustre racket.

Next competitor…. H8BALL from Eastbourne… these guys have been in existence for some years now, and have had numerous line-up changes, with just the nucleus of bassist Steve and drummer Tezz in place from the old days. Tezz incidentally is definitely a veteran of the local scene, with a track record that goes all the way back to UK ’82 Punks Criminal Damage (from Polegate) and notorious Thrash Metal bruisers Virus. He also served time in Brighton’s MTA along with H8BALL bassist Steve, and CSOT guitarists Peter ‘n Neal… (who were roadies for Virus) jeez, this is all getting more incestuous than an episode of Amish Wife Swap. So yeah, this is H8BALL’s most solid line-up yet, and they’ve got plenty of gigging under their studded belts, which is evident in the slick delivery of their Social D inspired PunknRoll, with big choruses and loud cranking guitars. They’ve build up a decent following along the way too and there’s much action stage front during their set.

So, to close… Discharge. Last time the rejuvenated ‘legends‘ from Stoke played in Brighton they numbered 3 original members, but tonight only guitarist Bones remains. Apparently bassist Rainy is too ill to play on these dates, so his place is taken by former Conflict and Broken Bones man Oddy who proves to be a mighty able replacement. Upfront these days is Varukers singer Rat, who in many ways is like the guy that stepped up from a ‘Priest tribute band and joined his idols/mentors… and must be hoping Calv doesn’t do a Rob Halford (if you will) Funnily enough, although Rat looks nothing like original Discharge singer Calv, he does seem to have adopted some of his stage moves.

Thankfully Rat assures up there will be none of that “Grave New World” malarkey. Thank gawd for that! They kick in with “Never Again” and tear through 45minutes of battering ram Hardcore, and a sound that effectively defined a genre (D-Beat) – in my book some of these songs are legitimate classics… “Protest and Survive” “State Violence/State Control” “Ain’t No Feeble Bastard” and the closing metallic K.O take on “Decontrol” is outstanding. About 27 years ago I remember waiting for my mum and dad in a car park 20minutes walk from tonight’s gig, in my hands a freshly purchased copy of “Decontrol” – my first Discharge record – it looked fuckin’ crazy. And I couldn’t wait to get home and play it. This is important music to me. And tonight the guys on stage gave an authentic representation of said killer music.

Pete Craven