No matter how many times you’ve done it, there’s always a shiver of anticipation when you descend to The Underworld. As the beating heart of London’s alternative music scene, located beneath The World’s End pub in Camden, this subterranean institution has been a stop-off and springboard for every band that matters. Now, with a lineup that takes in all-conquering heroes and next big things, the only place to be in February is down the front.
Tuesday 8th February: The Bonnevilles + Mudlow
It’s a long way from the punk clubs of Northern Ireland to the hill country of Mississippi, but The Bonnevilles occupy both worlds, fusing the ragged stomp of US blues pioneers like R.L. Burnside with a savage attack that’s far bigger than the two-man lineup. Expect Andrew McGibbon and Chris McMullan to lean hard on acclaimed fourth album Dirty Photographs, and leave Camden shaking in their wake.
Saturday 12th February: The Rumjacks + Shanghai Treason + The Mistakes
All the way from Sydney, Australia, The Rumjacks are the blowout you’ve been waiting for. Splicing spittle-flecked punk with rabble-rousing Celtic folk, the band’s big tunes like An Irish Pub Song share a little DNA with legends like The Pogues, The Clash and Dropkick Murphys, while their riotous live shows demand mass singalongs, banging heads and rivers of beer.
Monday 14th February: Swallow The Sun + Avatarium
One of Finland’s finest exports, Swallow The Sun are heavyweights of the death-doom genre, conjuring vast soundscapes of beauty and despair that will take the Underworld crowd across the emotional gamut. Expect a deep dive into a celebrated two-decade catalogue that began with 2003’s The Morning Never Came, a focus on this year’s Moonflowers, and a long, dark night of the soul that you won’t want to miss.
Wednesday 16th February: Tony MacAlpine
You won’t believe what Tony MacAlpine can do with an electric guitar. Since 1986’s debut album Edge Of Insanity, the US maestro has raised the bar for instrumental rock to a level where other virtuosi fear to fret, while moving in the orbit of household names like UFO’s Vinnie Moore and über-shredder Steve Vai. Expect nods to classical, jazz, fusion and prog-metal during an evening that defines what the instrument is capable of.
Saturday 19th February: Saliva + Psycho Village + Devilsbridge + Fonzy & Company
All the giants play The Underworld on their way up – but many of the biggest hitters return, and in February we have a legend in our midst. Since 2001’s mega-selling Every Six Seconds album – home to mosh-ready singles Click Click Boom and Your Disease – Tennessee alt-metallers Saliva have eaten the planet, sharing stages with Aerosmith and going multi-platinum in their own right. This 20th anniversary show will salute all the fan favourites, from Always to their co-write with Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx, Rest In Pieces.
Thursday 24th February: Blood Youth + Cane Hill
The best of UK hardcore meets the cream of US metal at perhaps the most pulverising double-header The Underworld has ever hosted. Breaking out of the Yorkshire circuit in 2017 with debut album Beyond Repair, Blood Youth are a live gut-punch, armed with seismic drop-tuned anthems that have scored plaudits from Metal Hammer and Kerrang! You’ve already heard the assault and battery of latest single, Colony3, but there’s plenty more in their locker.
Following them is not for the faint-hearted, but co-headliners Cane Hill will have no fear. Led by the clean-slash-brutal vocals of frontman Elijah Witt, and channelling the malevolent influence of Slipknot and Alice In Chains, the New Orleans metallers planted their flag deep with 2016’s swaggering Smile and will come armed with new material. Needless to say: it might get loud.
For more on The Underworld’s upcoming shows, see https://www.theunderworldcamden.co.uk/