Live Review: Negative Approach, Punch, Voorhees & SSS – The Star and Garter, Manchester, 16/10/2012

Walking upstairs in a pub to a crowded room that is just bursting and pouring over the edges with people, young and old, definitely means a good sign that tonight’s sold out show is very likely to be a great one especially if it’s a hardcore show.

Liverpool crossover group SSS are chocked full of endless thrashy riffs that give off a vibe that is both fast and furious. The band’s craft mixed in with their socio-political message has the potential to start off an endless wildfire riot starting from the location they’re playing tonight which could be the ground zero but unfortunately this isn’t to be. The one problem is that there’s just something lacking in the band’s delivery that just equates a missed opportunity especially with the amount of people present; maybe it could just be the audience conserving their energy for later on? (3/5)

Coming all the way from San Francisco, Punch sound like an adrenaline bullet going around the body’s vital organs and ripping every tissue in plain sight. The room definitely feels a lot more alive, not necessarily in a physical sense but more of a spiritual essence that is hanging in the air after a life time of dormancy. Everything from the harsh screaming to the absolute frantic ferocity propelled from the band’s instruments is a feast for bloodshot eyes and torn out ear canals. (3.5/5)

The recently reformed Voorhees return out of the shadows and show how it’s done with a solid performance of pissed off hardcore. Lead vocalist Ian Leck lurches forward with a menacing sneer that causes a divide in the middle of the crowd unleashing relentless carnage that is a thrilling sight to watch. Punch after punch, the band departs leaving bruised knuckles, spilt beer, and wide eyed approval. (4/5)

It’s been a very long time since tonight’s main band has been on our shores; therefore the reaction that Negative Approach receives as they open with ‘Can’t Tell No One’ is a justified one. The crowd literally launches itself towards the stage as they become hypnotised by the maniacal gnarly vocals of John Brannon; the whole band barely skip a beat as they absolutely annihilate The Star and Garter with the most ear deafening sounds that haven’t been heard since the early 80s. Classics such as ‘Tied Down’, ‘Ready to Fight’, and ‘Your Mistake’ sound like a violent silverback protecting his territory by ribbing off the ribcage of the clumsy intruder who has entered his domain. The slow stomping chants of ‘Evacuate’, catchy two punch chorus of ‘Dead Stop’ and a superb cover of Sham 69’s ‘Borstal Breakout’ create a wondrous hell that just keeps giving.

Negative Approach show no mercy in proving that after 30 years, no other band in hardcore punk comes close to their level; this is the original pissed off hardcore band. (4.5/5)

4.5/5

Words by Aaron Lohan (@ooran_loohan)

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