Live Reviews

Gallows – Live

Kingston Peel

Local hardcore shows can often double as endurance tests, thanks to the presence of a tiny minority of meatheads who hurl themselves around with little regard for their fellow punters’ safety.

That said, Nervous Wreck don’t help the situation tonight; their generic, uninspiring hardcore attack offering little incentive for mass crowd participation. In contrast, Sheffield crew The Legacy are smarter, tighter and sounding more impressive with every show they play; and with the release of their debut full-length ‘Solitude’ imminent, 2007 could well be their year.

Gallows, of course, could probably tell you a thing or two about the weight of expectations; but being dubbed ‘the best UK punk band since 1977′ doesn’t seem to have fazed Frank Carter and co any. “Thanks for coming out to see five scruffy kids from Watford,’ he declares, before the blast of sonic warfare that is ‘In The Belly Of A Shark’ incites utter pandemonium in the crowd.

However, the fact is that Gallows are so much more than just the sum of their parts. On one level, they’re a deeply sinister and unsettling band; evident in Frank’s deranged howl, darkly metaphorical lyrics, and the sheer chaos of the Gallows live experience. On another level, they’re triumphant underdogs; having attained the aforementioned recognition with no major label support, and flying in the face of current musical trends with a truly incendiary hybrid of hardcore fury and dissonant rock n’ roll swagger.

Whichever way you look at it, there’s a sense of danger and unpredictability surrounding this band that has been sorely lacking in punk rock of late. By the time ‘Orchestra Of Wolves’ is brought to its feedback-drenched finale, the front-of-stage area is a tangled mess of cables and flailing bodies, with Frank almost buried under the masses attempting to share his microphone. It’s sonic and physical wreckage united as one, and you get the impression that Gallows wouldn’t have it any other way. Whatever lies ahead for these guys, you’d be well advised to join them for the ride.

Alex Gosman
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