Just to get it out the way – I miss Botch. In an era of almost constant reunions, part of me wishes the creators of one of the most influential hardcore records of all time, ‘We Are The Romans’, would give it one last go. Having witnessed former Botch guitarist Dave Knudson’s outfit Minus The Bear last week, tonight was the turn of singer Dave Verellen’s Narrows, who take the stage on a glorious May evening in a darkened Shoreditch basement.
However, first up are Londoners Pariso, who boast ex-Cutting Pink With Knives guitarist and Holy Roar Records founder Alex Fitzpatrick among their number. Following last year’s full-length ‘Nothing Beyond Everything After’, and the return of vocalist Mazz Gambardella, Pariso played a string of astonishing live sets, including a stunning turn at Kerouac’s sign-off at the Old Blue Last. However, this momentum seems to have been lost and Pariso are stunningly underwhelming tonight. Sure, poor sound quality and a lukewarm reception from a sparse early crowd do not aid them, but their normally ferocious material seems tame and sloppy this evening. ‘Nothing Beyond Everything After’was a fantastic piece of work, blending a miasma of styles and drawing in influence from the darkest recesses of anything “-core”, but the new songs they showcase tonight are characterless and generic – they may improve after honing, but require serious work to reach the standards they’ve previously set themselves. A disappointing showing from a band that I’ve come to expect much better from. (1.5/5)
Next up are Holy Roar’s newest addition to its formidable stable, Kentucky trio Coliseum. Fortunately, the Louisville post-punkers fare a lot better than the preceding band, ripping through a stunning set encompassing cuts predominantly taken from 2010’s ‘House With A Curse’, and latest record ‘Sister Faith’. Their presence is constantly foreboding, and although frontman Ryan Patterson can sometimes go a little overboard with his sermon-esque speeches, Coliseum retain an intense focus throughout. The band return to these shores in August for Hevy Festival – make sure you don’t miss out. (4/5)
This is the last night of Narrows’ UK/EU tour alongside Coliseum, and right from the start, the quintet seek to make the most of this final opportunity to make an unholy racket for the gathered crowd. A collection of talents, boasting members of Tropics, Unbroken & These Arms Are Snakes amongst their number alongside the aforementioned Verellen, Narrows are here to present material from last year’s fantastic ‘Painted’ LP. The newer songs sound incredible tonight, their pace and crunch shining through in comparison to older material, which is a little more derivative of members’ former projects. Narrows are on ferocious form for the entirety of this set, and as a barnstorming ‘Newly Restored’ from ‘New Distances’ closes out tonight’s set, if Narrows continue in this vein, they may just put paid to some of the pangs expressed above. (4.25/5)
Words by Ollie Connors