“We could be the next band to blow, why not? They made it.” Screams TRC’s (8) Anthony Carroll on #TEAMUK. Their self proclaimed prophecy of world domination may not quite have happened yet, but it’s hard to explain why they’re not bigger when they deliver sets like today’s. It’s a tirade of non-stop bangers, in particular We Bring War from last year’s Nation album which sounds devastating today. Fellow frontman Chris Robson remains a true character in a world of hardcore frontmen screaming to sell products from their t-shirt brand. His unique London MC style vocals wouldn’t see him out of place on a Wiley or Tempa T mixtape, and he has an edge of realness that most rap rock bands could only dream of. (GL)
A thin and somewhat timid crowd aren’t left with much choice in the matter of whether they’re going to have fun or not by the time Kvelertak (8) hit the main stage. As soon as frontman Erlend Hjelvik arrives on stage with the now obligatory owl on his head, he and his fellow Norwegians waste little time in grabbing the audience round the neck and forcing them into having a good time. Looking like the rock stars this stage has been desperately craving, guitars are flung around while Hjelvik perches centre stage every bit the rock ‘n’ roll Viking, gobbing on security and waving a huge flag around. (GL)
Heading over to the second stage, Feed The Rhino (9) proceed to cause chaos in the way only they know how. They have built themselves up quite a reputation for their live show and at Hevy it’s clear to see why. With hulk-sized riffs flying everywhere, the band make the packed out tent their playground. Front man Lee Tobin puts himself in constant danger, climbing up to the top of the speaker stacks and screaming his heart out despite a faulty microphone. Tides is a particular highlight, the audience singing every word along with Tobin. Full of groove, headbanging moments and party vibes, the set is triumphant and there is definitely a bright future ahead of this band (CG).
When Tesseract (8) finally begin playing on the third stage, people are already leaving due to the 25-minute delay. That being said, the diehards stay true and they are rewarded with some of the best prog-metal songs England has to offer. Returning to the fray, vocalist Dan Tompkins’ voice is incredible, soaring high over the monumental riffage. The band are tight as hell as they chug their way through choice cuts from Concealing Fate, as if there was any chance of them being anything less than note-perfect. Although there were only a handful of people around to see it, the set was another affirming step towards the next chapter of Tesseract’s life (CG).
Back over on the second stage, it’s apparently party time as Australian ‘ladcore’ mob Deez Nutz (2) take to the stage. What the band lack in musical merit, they more than make up for in the fact that they definitely know how to drink. The crowd are clearly of the same mindset and Deez Nutz’ frat boy ‘hardcore’ gets the circle pits going, but any musical credibility is entirely thrown out of the window the second they start playing. (CG)
Show Your Teeth (3) bounce around the stage with plenty of youthful exuberance, but they have about as much originality as a pack of ready salted crisps. Throw a dart randomly at the line-up poster and you’re likely to find another band doing exactly the same thing – but better. Their hardcore is so forced and predictable, that when the drummer cuts off their vocalist mid speech and the band launch into a song you get the feeling that even they want it to be over as quick as possible.
On the other hand Palm Reader (8) prove why they are head and shoulders above the majority of their peers as one of the best bands in the current hardcore scene. A set that is battering ram business as usual, their passion is raw and tangible. The intensity delivered by all five members means it’s hard to pick a sole focal point. It’s like the special psychopath edition of Where’s Wally as wild-eyed guitarist Andy Gillan relentlessly punches his guitar and bassist Josh Redrup climbs into the crowd to raise hell and get in everybody’s faces. (GL)
It’s hard not to feel a bit sorry for Empress AD (5) who have one of the poorest turn-outs of the day. Despite the lack of people watching them, it doesn’t seem to phase them, yet their progressive rock only has one pace and it’s a slow, plodding pace that sees few stick around. The punters come and go choosing to buy more beer to spill down their beards rather than standing here stroking them. (GL)
The days of Heights (7) may be coming to an end as the band have announced they are to split following a farewell tour in the autumn, and hopefully then frontman Alex Monty can have a nice relaxing bubble bath and a cup of camomile tea – but for the time being at least he remains a very angry young man. Closing with a vicious rendition of The Lost And Alone provokes a huge circle pit that just goes to show how much people will miss them when they are gone.
68 (6) front man Josh Scogin is undoubtedly a legend within the world of post-hardcore. As the original vocalist for Norma Jean, and more notably mouthpiece for notorious troublemakers The Chariot, he is a cult icon. However the set today was something of a hit and miss affair. It was always going to be different to what he’d done in the past, and when he cranks up the distortion and starts the screaming it’s evident why so many of the band’s playing this weekend owe him so much, many of which are on stage watching him. However the don’t-give-a-fuck attitude that saw him all over the place with his former band has turned into faffing about with overly indulgent jam sessions which really kills any momentum. (GL)
Taking to the stage basked in smoke and blue lights, while seemingly having a who can spread their legs the furthest apart competition between themselves, The Ocean (4) go on to play one of the most boring sets of the weekend. While their brand of metal is clearly meant to pack an emotional punch it is so clichéd and dull that it doesn’t provoke any stronger feelings than when you lose a pair of pants. (GL)
Following an eight year split it would be easy to think that Stampin’ Ground (7) belong in the hardcore retirement home, yet they spare little time in proving they’ve still got it. Between bassist Ben Frost looking like a bulldog chewing wasps and front man Adam Frakes-Sime orchestrating circle pits and walls of death, the entire set sees the London five piece play with a steely determination that shows may of hardcore’s younger whippersnappers exactly how it is done. They sound huge, and above all are a lot of fun. (GL)
Although many bands have struggled with playing to crowds that have been quite tame and well behaved, there’s no such problem for Structures (7). Being one part tech-metal but still being full of the sort of groove and bounce you’d expect from Stray From The Path, it goes down a storm with those here hitting their second wind. Frontman Brendon Padjasek is a caustic ball of energy running around stage like a toddler who has managed to get his hands on a few cans of Monster. It gives the crowd a much needed shot in the arm as bodies bounce around and cause bedlam in the mosh pit. (GL)