Negative Approach are a vicious boot-boy snarling, bulldog-snapping, spittle-spraying REAL hardcore band. First generation, from a time when this hardcore shit was still fresh, hungry and vital. Things are always better the first time and Negative Approach were right on the front-line in the early eighties alongside the likes of Minor Threat, SSD, Black Flag, Necros etc when this shit was actually dangerous.
And like many classic (some deserving the ‘classic’ tag more than others) bands from the glory days, Negative Approach have reformed for one more chance to let out their rage and grab us roughly by the throats to show us exactly how HARDCORE should be done. Last year they played an incredible show at The Dome in North London but the venue was a little too big to really feel the full impact of their music.
The Underworld, however, is perfect and from the moment they hit the stage, sheer bedlam breaks out across the venue as frontman John Brannon spits out every vicious word with a face screwed up like a Pitbull Terrier, barking out the words like a rabid dog with a voice like sand and glue. Every song is short, violent and anthemic. The likes of ‘Nothing’, ‘Pressure’, ‘Can’t Tell No One‘ and ‘Tied Down‘ have the whole crowd punching the air, punching each other and singing along. It doesn’t matter that these guys are well into their forties, they have more attitude and energy than most of the skinny jeaned stupid haired fuckers that constitute some hardcore today.
Showing their pure punk roots, they end the set with a rousing version of Sham 69’s ‘Borstal Breakout‘ as the crowd run around in circles like headless chickens. Sadly, that’s it as tonight is Madball’s show.Yes, you heard right. Negative Approach supported Madball. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Follow that guys.
Words and photos by James Sherry