It’s a Tuesday night in Dundee, and the floor of The Beat Generator is fairly sparse, save for some kids practicing spin-kicks in the centre. Tonight is the fourth stop on a European tour for South Carolina’s Hundredth with Landscapes and Silent Planet in tow, and promoters have attempted to make it half-local showcase, half-touring bands.
In fairness, shows like this in the City of Discovery are few and far between, so when one does come around, everyone wants to be involved. And while regional acts Bereavement and Black Blood put on admirable efforts in front of the minimum crowd, the real fun begins when hometown heroes To Kill Achilles get going. Their modern metalcore sound packed with hooks, sharp and sudden breakdowns and flamboyant keyboard backdrops has been tried and tested since 2009, when the six-piece formed but it gives those kids a soundtrack to unleash their kicking to, as frontman Mark Steppie joins in with the frantic movement, using the floor as his stage while the rest of the group play behind him. Their crowd is dedicated, with one fan even grabbing the mic and handling vocals during ‘You Live On in Me’, reflecting that people still care about ‘our shitty metal scene.’ (3.5/5)
It may be a “shitty scene” to some, but it’s a scene that Californian quintet Silent Planet take pleasure in playing in front of. Last year’s LP, ‘Everything Was Sound’, was a delight to anyone seeking a more challenging form of post-hardcore music, and their set comprising largely of material from that record keeps the audience firmly on their toes. Frontman Garrett Russell’s dynamic presence is the centrepiece of this apprehensive performance, his scattergun vocals in the verses of ‘Native Blood’ and ‘Panic Room’ builds up towers of tension, backed by the rest of the bands’ atmospheric guitar arrangements which also reach a tense climax before collapsing into pounding breakdowns as Russell’s transitions into guttural screaming matches the urgency the rest of the band is communicating. And the crowd’s response matches the frenetic performance, as slam dancers begin swarming the venue like hornets. (4/5)
Silent Planet’s message is often one of hope, and changing for the better of society, making it a dramatic contrast from the existential melodic hardcore of Landscapes, a craft they perfected on last year’s ‘Modern Earth’. Their 2016 effort saw them increase the melody in their hardcore, and hearing the front row singing to tracks like ‘Neighbourhood’ and ‘Observer’ reflects their anthemic approach, but it’s cuts from 2013’s ‘Life Gone Wrong’ that much of the crowd resonates with, best seen as frontman Shaun Milton jumps into the audience during ‘No Love’ and becomes a magnet to a number of audience members that attach themselves to him and move around the floor to get close to the microphone and accompany Milton’s self-loathing requiem. They’re always a reliable live band, but it’s difficult for them to keep up with the impact Silent Planet have left tonight. (3.5/5)
But leaving an impact has never been an issue for Hundredth. Frontman Chadwick Johnson’s bounds onstage like a powerball of energy during ‘Unravel’ and ‘Live Today.’ This tour marks some of Hundredth’s first European appearances since welcoming founding guitarist Alex Blackwell back into the band, and their two new songs released since his reemergence ‘Dead Weight’ and ‘Victim’ make welcome appearances into the set, gaining as much traction from the audience as tracks like ‘Remain and Sustain’ and ‘Break Free’, in spite of their more alt rock direction from their traditionally concrete hardcore sound.
The band appear humble in front of the meagerly sized audience, thanking everyone for sticking around to watch them, despite it being their headline show, and the reality of tonight’s questionable booking sets in. A Tuesday night show is never an easy sell, and not even six bands could act as an incentive for a mass turnout at The Beat Generator. A great shame, because those who have remained to dominate the venue’s ground in a moshing pandemic and rush to Chadwick’s microphone during fan favourite ‘Weathered Town’ towards the end of the set. Shows like this are rare, and while Hundredth play their hearts out, tonight’s turnout makes it easy to see why this weathered city is left out of most bands’ touring schedules. (4/5)