Typical isn’t it. Tours come and go all year and it’s only in the last month of the year that the best one rolls around. Bringing together the crème de la crème of what the hardcore scene has to offer in 2016, Counterparts are back on British soil and ready to riff till they fall. Iron those mosh shorts.
Knocked Loose open proceedings with their first ever UK show and make sure it goes of with a bang. The band’s unrelenting brand of old school hardcore sees the room became a warzone with fists and feet flying in all directions. Cuts from the band’s debut full length ‘Laugh Tracks’ gets the crowd’s vocal chords warmed up while older cut ‘All My Friends’ turns the heat up to past boiling. Over before there’s been chance to catch your breath, here’s hoping this is isn’t the last time the band reek havoc on British shores. (4/5)
The UK’s own Landscapes follow and coat a thick layer of darkness over proceedings. The most melancholic band on this evenings line up, they bring things back down to earth and provide half hour of much needed contemplation. Creating an air of deep set sadness with their lingeringly touching compositions, the band use their slot effectively and noticeably pick up a few new followers who may not have given them the time of day previously. (3.5/5)
Modern hardcore royalty of sorts, Expire are mere weeks away from calling it a day. So with that in mind they are making sure they go out with an almighty bang. Their vicious brand of sharp riffing sees the violence reach fever pitch in the pit while the rest of the congregation grab at the mic like it is the last thing they will ever do. Debuting tracks from their farewell release ‘With Regret’ while chucking in battering classics such as ‘Pretty Low’ and ‘Abyss’ for good measure, the band make sure they wont be forgotten in a long while. None more brutal. (4/5)
Over the past few years Counterparts have made a name for themselves in not just the underground but also the more wide spread hardcore scene and half of that comes down to their charm and openness. Coming on stage to the absolute banger that is ‘The Sound’ by The 1975 and tearing straight into a shirt tugging rendition of ‘Compass’ the band prove once more why they are one of the most popular and hot bands the genre has to offer. There’s a distinct honesty to the band as they play. They know that they are not everybody’s cup of tea but use that in their favour by being 100% themselves in their style and attitude.
From ‘Stranger’ to ‘The Disconnect’, ‘Witness’ to ‘Choke’, the band are despondent yet devastating and the avid fans before them share in their angst. Closing things with a utterly crushing ‘Drown’, Counterparts can chalk this up as a substantial victory. Proving they can dominate the small rooms, it will be interesting if they can take the same level of intensity, integrity and all round brutality to the bigger stage in the year to come. Either way, it’s going to be one hell of a ride. (4/5)
Words by Jack Rogers (@JackMRog)