The Grosvenor, London
Help Us, we’re melting! We’re in the middle of a freak British heatwave and standing around in packed punk gigs gushing in sweat is probably not most people’s idea of a good time. But like the saying goes, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Except we’re not in a kitchen, we’re sweating our bollocks right off in the back room of a stale smelling Brixton pub and four lunatics from Brighton are rampaging around the venue with red mist in front of their eyes, completely and utterly immersed in the rapid-fire hardcore noise they pummel from their amps.
Abandon Ship hail from Brighton and have been popping up on DIY hardcore bills with alarming regularity for the last two and a bit years and they just get better and better each time. Tonight though, something inside them collectively clicks and they go utterly apeshit. It’s like watching a band play when you fast forward your DVD player. They are so fucking fast and fun they almost make up for the disappointment of missing female hardcore band Bitchslap who were on first. Almost.
Dutch quartet Restless Youth have been through a lot of changes recently. Their debut 2004 EP was a perfect distillation of the primal punk rage of Bad Brains and Black Flag and their first tour of the UK a couple of years back were high-energy, wild hardcore affairs. The new material, however, has seen the band mixing their love of classic seventies rock and garage punk in with their original hardcore sound to admittedly mixed results. When it works, it’s a brilliant crossover of styles and when it doesn’t, well, it’s a bit of mess. Unfortunately, the audience doesn’t take too well to the band’s new style and the slowing down of their older tracks and the hesitant reaction from the audience faced with the unfamiliar material sucks the atmosphere that Abandon Ship created right out of the venue like an industrial hoover.
Back to the drawing board then boys.