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HO99O9/ Kate Mo$$/Puppy at Electric Ballroom, London - live review

New Jersey’s rap/punk harbingers electrify London

Cover art for HO99O9/ Kate Mo$$/Puppy live at Electric Ballroom, London

It might be their incongruity with the rest of tonight’s bill, but PUPPY’s [5] politeness suggests that if they’re going to make any serious headway, it’s going to be in the same middling context as Royal Blood. At best, their melodies are a distant relative to Husker Dü, at worst, a half-remembered Ghost tune, but when they do attempt a metal riff, the cleanness of their tone fails to add any necessary ballast to Jock Norton’s unruffled vocals. Still, the guy headbanging down the front with the Dissection backpatch is digging them. “We heard some of you had an issue with KATE MO$$ [0]” says the OGM before defending the judiciously booed support band as “art”. That’s a view probably confined to two blocks of New Jersey. More half-baked desperation than ‘edgy’, if a talentless rapper, dancer stripping to a thong and throwing up, and wannabe gang member glaring at the audience are a harbinger of the apocalypse, it would be sweet relief. Their defence also doesn’t take into account the huge gulf of quality between Kate Mo$$ and their benefactors, HO99O9 [8] fully understanding that chaos is only effective when welded to a sense of purpose. Tonight, they’re an explosive, spirit-of-punk epicentre, a widely mixed crowd (scenewise at least) totally losing their shit as theOGM and Eaddy career between gravity-dense dancehall grooves and spasming punk rock whose hyper-alert, sprawling jamboree feels fully plugged into the unearthed current of our present times.

Having freelanced regularly for the Melody Maker and Kerrang!, and edited the extreme metal monthly, Terrorizer, for seven years, Jonathan is now the overseer of all the album and live reviews in Metal Hammer. Bemoans his obsolete superpower of being invisible to Routemaster bus conductors, finds men without sideburns slightly circumspect, and thinks songs that aren’t about Satan, swords or witches are a bit silly.