The Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn is a cool little place, despite looking like something the guys behind Black Metal Interior Design might come up with. If anyone’s been to the Slaughtered Lamb Pub in Farringdon, it’s a similar vibe. After a couple of lovely Saint Vitus lagers, we settled in to watch first act, NYC locals Crushed. The band storm through an incendiary blend of classic D-beat and crust punk – imagine Trap Them meets Judge. Vocalist Fred is all ire and fury, stomping the boards like a man possessed, as the band broach lyrical subjects like depression and anxiety. A visit to the merch stand finds them boasting a t-shirt featuring New York icon Woody Allen re-imagined as a skinhead anarcho-punk – if that doesn’t make you want to check them out, I don’t know what will. (3.5/5)
Next up on the bill were Brooklyn’s own Descender, a band that mix the slow-burning, unconventionally-structured post-hardcore of bands like Planes Mistaken For Stars with the doomy stoner vibes of Torche and Baroness. Though an interesting fusion, the band unfortunately fail to keep levels of interest and engagement, despite featuring an older gentleman in the group that reminds one of Melvins’ Buzz Osborne (without the crazy Sideshow Bob hairdo). (3/5)
Brits Goodtime Boys were next on the bill, playing to a steadily gathering crowd. Having recently signed to celebrated Boston hardcore label Bridge Nine, the quintet have embarked on an exhaustive US tour alongside tonight’s headliners, and do a damn good job of attempting to steal the show. The two-fifths Welsh, three-fifths English collective rip through an impassioned and tempestuous set, exhausting material from EP’s; ’What’s Left To Let Go’ and ’Are We Now Or Have We Ever Been’. It’s quite clear the tour has taken its toll on vocalist Alex Pennie’s ravaged chords, a common complaint with this band, but the message behind their emotive post-hardcore rings with unfettered clarity and power nonetheless. (4/5)
Finally, Californians Loma Prieta close out tonight’s proceedings with a jawdropping mix of intense screamo and powerviolence. Off the back of last year’s astonishing ’IV’ full-length and a split release with Italian screamo legends Raein, the crowd are treated to a dense wall of noise and anguish, as shards of jagged guitar rain down from the speakers. The band have improved immeasurably since the last time these eyes witnessed them (back in 2011 alongside Punch and Birds In Row), and, despite some with a few too many Saint Vitus lagers in them trying their level best to ruin it for others (yes, that does happen Stateside too), tonight’s crowd are transfixed by the unholy racket unfolding before them. Who needs to sightsee on holiday when you can go see an amazing hardcore show? (4.5/5)
Words by Ollie Connors.