Live at Cockpit on Saturday, 29th January 2005
It should be said tonight's performance resembles more of a metal gig than a watered down emo effort. Circle pits, kamikaze flipping off speaker stacks, the whole shebang. Leave your acoustic guitars and tissues at home my friend, this is hardcore.
A problem occurs to me tonight. Back in the day when bands like The Beatles and Rolling Stones ruled the world it was not uncommon for a certain person to devote their whole life to that band and forget about the rest. But these days with these several million [insert inane-prefix]-emo bands populating the earths surface & increasingly invading our shores like a venomous plague of black clad locust it must be hard for these bands to adopt a proper fanbase. After all for music fans there are only a limited amount of hours in a day in which to hear and get to know these bands and I inevitably fell foul to this. I don't know a single song by the supports and have only partially listened to the headliners but tonight isn't about the singing, tonight is all about the rock and nodding back and forth in a slightly demented manner.
So, this problem is indeed most apparent tonight. There is nothing, and I mean nothing that separates the undercard from anything else being thrown about the market right now. Which is a shame because they're good are what they do. Abrasive hardcore screamed emo. Roses Are Red (very good showmanship, sparse with the huge hooks, guitarist with a fetish for licking his axe, bassist on crutches) and Silverstein (vocalist could work as a Henry Rollins look-a-like, a definite progression from RAR in song arrangement and writing skill) both lack anything to grab you and make you listen.
The returning The Hurt Process are third on the bill but manage to fail in mixing up any great movement among the 3/5 full Cockpit (especially in comparison to what was to come). The lead 'screamy' vocalist unbelievably seems to have put on even more weight since last time I saw them last May supporting Biffy Clyro. He also appears to have eaten his counterpart melodic vocalist. (well how else could you explain his absence?) Luckily his bodymass doesn't affect his performance as he gamely screams himself into a frenzy and the jangling of his man boobs become almost hypnotic. 'Opinion' is the highlight of the set with its 'quiet'/loud dynamic and huge chorus. The new material from forthcoming May release 'A Heartbeat Behind' sounds better than ever if a tad harder and could signal a step into more mainstream territory, but I wouldn't bet my house, or even my garage, on that. Good luck nevertheless.
Nothing can prepare you for how good Underoath are tonight though. Signs didn't look good during THP's set but the 'oath blow them out of the water and the crowd are uber up for it. This is an incendiary performance from a band that could go on to huge things. Thanks to driving beats, hardcore chugging and, if they want, a knack for enormous anthemic juggernauts of songs. Case in point 'Re-inventing Your Exit' the best modern post-hardcore song of last year. Its live performance does not let it down, would have been a good idea to close with it though perhaps. The occasional song glides past with less class (generally the older material which shows what a great step they made with last album 'They're Only Chasing Safety') but all in all the atmosphere is perfect and the deliverance spot on.
So, yes 7 of your English pounds for 4 similar yet explosive bands is insanely good value and you couldn't really ask for more. The Hurt Process were a little off colour and the 2 supports will get bogged down in the emo quicksand of doom but Underoath are going places, a set uncannily similar to the brilliant Thursday but in a more intimate venue. Underoath were awesome tonight catch them while they're hot.