We arrive to the final strains of Dripback , but their bullfrog –esque sounds don’t seem to be setting the world alight, as they play to a half deserted Camden Underworld crowd – seems most in attendance to tonight’s show wanted one last warm beer from The World’s End above.
Silent Screams (3/5) have a tough hill to climb. The audience hang back tentatively as they kick into their first song and it’s clear that they’re not willing to interact with the band for the most part. There are sources of frustration, with the muddied sound impeding the guitars a bit from the back, falling flat on already uninterested ears. However, the drums are solid – the double kick is thundering away like an erratic pulse throughout. The contrast of bassist and singer Tom’s slick and almost sweet voice against Joel Heywood’s abrasive, thickly grunted vocals is really stark and works well. What Heywood has to offer is bags of energy; he’s leaping around the stage, throwing himself from one end to the other, but to no avail. The audience for the most part are resolutely unmoved, which is a shame because there’s nothing wrong with the performance, and it’s clear that it’s frustrating for the band themselves. Heads are nodding, though, and over the course of the set a few more faces start popping up down the front. By the time ‘Pacific Highway’ is beginning there’s an enthusiastic group starting the first circle pit of the night – however, it’s safe to say this is a night they’d probably rather forget.
What Silent Screams’ singer lacks, Heart of a Coward’s (3/5) vocalist Jamie Graham makes up for with his stage presence, from the moment he steps out, eyes are drawn. Though they’re not tonight’s top-billed act, there’s a definite shift in the crowd amassing, and the reaction to older track ‘Killing Fields’ is almost a different crowd altogether. ‘Shades’ brings bodies buzzing around the stage, and the strobes reveal limbs flailing and some “serious business” faces as the crowd lose their proverbial shit to this one . There’s a marked improvement in sound; Heart Of A Coward feature punchier guitars & bass and vocals holding little back with their hardcore rhetoric. “Are you happy with your life?” barks Graham; The Underworld’s seething masses are certainly happy with the showing they’ve witnessed from HOAC tonight.
Glasgow’s Bleed from Within (4/5) step out on stage to the strains of the new album ‘Uprising’’s opener ‘III’ and from the first note struck, it’s an all-out ride; enthusiasm runs through their entire performance, with hair swinging from guitarist and bassist that would give a L’Oreal advert a headache. Horns are raised to the skies everywhere throughout the front rows. Singer Scott Kennedy’s grin is permanently fixed to his face, between growls, yelps and getting right down into the front rows, and the audience are eating right from the palm of his hands. When Kennedy asks for a pit, a pit happens, and when he asks that everyone, “even the old folks up the back” get “pissed off” for ‘Leech’, there’s some righteous anger in the faces down below. Everything sounds cohesive; guitars play off each other easily without one in particular taking the spotlight, and the rhythm section thunders in and out of focus. These songs are polished, and even newer tracks get that positive reaction that older tracks reserve. The only thing I feel actually suffers are the vocals during singing, which sometimes get a little lost in the mix. The crowd in the pit however seem to be making an effort to try and reverse that, but if low vocals are my only complaint, I think that’s the least of this bands worries. Though it was not the groundbreaking stuff various sections of the music press have heralded it as, the Scots delivered their set with considerable skill and a fiery passion. An impressive show, all in all, and one that certainly wasn’t lacking in a huge dosage of fun to be had by all in attendance.