OFF! - The Haunt, Brighton
Gnarwolves may have opened with a yell of “Hello nobody!”, belying the eventuality of a night of unruly punk, but it was unfortunately true - at least intially. Despite the scarcity of bodies, the Brighton trio set a filthy storm a brewing with their gruff pop punk. Bassist Charlie and guitarist Thom belted gnarly dual vocals to a backdrop of crusty skater punk with might, whilst Max hit the drums with potency - a lively performance overall and one deserving of much greater attention.
With new studio album 119 on the horizon, Sacramento foursome Trash Talk were out tonight to prove themselves to fans old and new. And the venue began to fill just in time. Playing tracks such as ‘Blind Evolution’, ‘Dig’, and ‘Sacramento is Dead’, along with new songs to tease, their performance was one of raucous proportions. From guitarist Garrett Stevenson climbing racks of amps, to vocalist Lee Spielman crowd surfacing and conducting circle pits, there was a real feel of camaraderie in the room - which only grew as fans seized the microphone and took the lyrics out of Lee’s mouth. With their combination of grindcore speeds and sludge interludes, the quartet’s show was fiercely filthy and unquestionable – an absolutely mind-bending, sense-crushing performance.
“And we’re OFF!” shrieked vocalist Keith Morris moments before the L.A quartet bust into action. Comprising members from legendary punk bands such a Black Flag and Redd Kross, OFF!’s performance was one about the music rather than rancid levels of chaotic energy. The venue was chock full by this time, and with all band members bar bassist Steven Shane McDonald fighting flu, fans were treated to an often politically focused, musically fierce set. Unsurprisingly, tracks such as ‘I Got News for You’ from the band’s recently released self-titled debut album were played, along with the striking eulogy ‘Jeffery Lee Pierce’. This eulogy came with a touching story about friendship and a recommendation for all who haven’t heard it to go home and listen to The Gun Club’s debut Fire of Love – a short speech that was well received by most in the now sweltering venue.
Tonight’s bands and their fans disclosed a raw, unadulterated passion for hardcore punk, proving that it’s still a genre that’s alive and more than breathing.