For several years, the Persistence Tour has combined some of the best of their genres into one tidy package. With acts from the hardcore, metal, punk and thrash worlds all coming together for a stacked bill. This year was no different with hardcore giants Sick of It All, grindcore behemoths Napalm Death and thrash kings Municipal Waste on the top end of the show.
However, starting things off was Chula Vista outfit Take Offense (2/5). Playing to a pretty modest crowd the four-piece showcased a lot of energy in their brand of melodic hardcore. But the size of the stage seemed to swallow them up at times, with the members being quite separated. For Moscow’s Siberian Meat Grinder (3/5) this was not an issue, as their masked vocalist walked out on to stage, there was an instant sense of presence in the Kentish Town Forum. With shredding guitar solos and growling vocals brought about the first audience participation of the evening, and it would most certainly not be the last.
In a throwback to punk days of old Booze & Glory (1.5/5) came on to ‘Mayer It’s Because I’m a Londoner’ bringing a rise from the home town crowd. The quarter rattled through their set, with their double mohawked bassist running around the stage like a dog trying to catch its tail.
As one of the juggernauts of the metalcore world, it was no surprise that Walls of Jericho‘s (4.5/5) set was like a haymaker to the gut. Having formed in 1998, the quintet was giving some of the younger bands on today’s live circuit a run for their money with their energy levels led by vocalist Candace Kucsulain. With each powerful roar from her mouth ,it was met by chugging riffs and beatdowns which made you hypothetically smash your head through a wall.
Orange County’s Ignite (3/5) delivered a short but sweet set. The band reeled off their hits from ‘Our Darkest Days’ and interweaving some of their older material, and after the harshness of Walls of Jericho, the melodic tones were a nice change of pace. With many a sing-along the band clearly know what their audience wants to hear, but where the Persistence Tour brings in people of all musical types, Ignite may have fallen by the wayside for some audience members. It seemed as soon as the band picked up some momentum it seemed like their set had come to a conclusion.
If the party hadn’t already started it most certainly did when Municipal Waste (5/5) got going. With chants of “Municipal Waste is going to fuck you up” before the band even stepped out of the shadows just built the anticipation of the hurricane which was about to hit the Kentish Town Forum. Formed in 2001, the band has a wide range to pick from and the strength of their material was showcased by playing ‘Sadistic Magician’ early in the set as vocalist Tony Foresta ran around exposing his beer gut to the crowd.
If one thing is for certain that is Municipal Waste know how to party and rather than calling for a wall of death, Foresta called for a wave of death to make the venue staff own their keep by catching all the crowd surfers. Closing out with ‘The Art of Partying’ and ‘Born to Party’, the thrash metalllers certainly left a feeling you won’t forget anytime soon.
For one night only, Birmingham’s own Napalm Death (4/5) joined the Persistence Tour, and what an addition they were. In a trademark manner as only he can Barney Greenway ran around the stage like a man possessed, as the screeching, blasting noise from his bandmates filled the room. Greenway proclaims that the four-piece are a simple yet complex band before the next onslaught of songs.
Launching into older material like ‘Scum’ saw many of the older members of tonight’s crowd slowly make their way closer to the stage as others looked on in amazement at the human energiser bunny that is Greenway. Playing the three-second ballad ‘You Suffer’ followed quickly by another track only ever so slightly longer in length is a show of how event more than 30 years on they are one of the best at their craft.
Closing out the show were one of the key players in New York Hardcore, Sick of It All (4/5). Within seconds of the band appearing on stage, guitarist Pete Koller had already run about six lengths of the stage, with vocalist Lou Koller not far behind. The band were playing at a breakneck speed and it was hard to keep up with them at times but in the best way possible.
By the time the quartet had reached ‘Take the Night Off’, not only was the crowd bouncing, but everyone spectating side stage as well. Tearing through songs like ‘That Crazy White Boy Shit’, ‘Wake the Sleeping Dragon’ and ‘Bull’s Anthem’ it a testament to how much good material the band has.
Koller had the Kentish Town Forum in the palm of his hand, and with every command from him, they happily obliged. As the night neared its conclusion, Sick of It All launched into ‘Scratch the Surface’ only to take a pause to create a wall of death, not only in the crowd, but with the whole Persistence crew on the stage.
Closing with ‘Step Down’, there was not a single person in the venue standing still, whether that be moshing, crowd surfing or just singing along.
At the end of the night, all the bands took to the stage in a stand of unity, proving once more that the Persistence Tour really does offer up something special.
Words and Photos by Tim Birkbeck (@tim_birkbeck / @timbirkbeckphotos)