Code Orange, live in London

Support: Soul Crusade, Every Stranger Looks Like You

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Hype band or the next big thing? There’s a lot of buzz around Code Orange at the minute so we went to check out their sold-out show at London’s famed Old Blue Last. This is what we learned…

Nobody Cares About The Supports

Faced with a crowd that is sparse and deathly quiet, the support bands’ performances don’t really warrant any more enthusiasm than they’re given. Both Soul Crusade and Every Stranger Looks Like You are your bog-standard rent-a-hardcore bands roped in for shows of this nature. The most memorable thing about the latter is the singer wearing that sick ‘ain’t nuthin’ but a goth thing’ Marilyn Manson t-shirt from back in the day. While the most memorable thing about the former is, well, nothing really. It’s these sort of bands that can make the hardcore scene feel so stale at times.

This Show Is Genuinely Frightening

When it comes to Code Orange they’re a world apart. There’s a looming menace as the band take to the stage, which is in part down to the abrasive nature of the crowd. It takes very little time to boot off, as people swiftly start to tear each other limb from limb in what has to be one of the most violent displays this little room has seen all year. If you don’t make a concerted effort to keep distance you could be digesting your own teeth in no time.

Something So Nasty Has Never Sounded So Good

The frantic crowd reaction perfectly matches the noise being pumped out on stage. It’s rooted in hardcore, with an explosive punk rock energy that is ever-present. Their sound ducks and weaves through all sorts of avenues with hints at the more punishing side of industrial, while one of the stand-out moments of the set undoubtedly comes from Dreams In Inertia and it’s trippy grunge vibes. Even with three vocalists at their disposal, there is very little room for pleasantries, all three operating at different levels of guttural rage. The drums are primal, and the harsh cymbals cut like chewing on broken glass, while the raw guitars are steeped in grimey distortion. It’s the sort of thing you expect to soundtrack the wet dreams of serial killers.

Even In Their Short Lifespan As A Band, Code Orange Have Evolved A Lot

They’re still incredibly young, and as such it’s understandable that Code Orange still figuring out what they’re about. However tonight suggests that since dropping the ‘Kids’ from their name and the release of second album I Am King, they have a much firmer grasp on what they do. With a set that lifts heavily from their latest, gone are the band who used to turn away from the crowd and play facing each other, they’ve been replaced by four beacons of confidence and charisma. There’s no clear focal point as all four members seem equally important, be it guitarist Reba Meyers thrashing around with her long hair mysteriously covering her face, or bassist Joe Goldman looking nothing short of terrifying as he looms over the crowd with the sort of snarl that makes The Incredible Hulk look like Mr Happy.

Code Orange Are Making Art

Pretty much all bands will tell you what they do is ‘art’, however it’s hard not to guffaw in the face of a bearded tattooed fella whose generic beatdown band act more as a conversation starter on Tinder. What the Pittsburgh four-piece create is art though, from their sound, to the striking visuals in their videos and album art – this captivating live show is just another facet of that. Code Orange prove that there is hope for the hardcore scene, yet they do it by being so much more than what you’d expect.