Weekend Nachos, The Weeknd Gentlemen, Pariso, The Long Haul
Bristol, The Croft
1st July 2012.
Last weekend two arms of Bristols flourishing hardcore scene came together as separate promoters united to create an eagerly anticipated & ultimately astonishing night featuring 9 of the UK’s (& Bristols) best grindcore / swell / powerviolence / crush bands.
Although Bristol may not be known for producing hardcore punk bands, a few promoters are working hard to prove that the city can also produce some impressive, super-energetic & even destructive nights. This recent collaboration between Dead Chemists and Sabotage Promotions, firmly proves that a DIY Hardcore scene has established itself in Bristol in just a little over a year during which time it has grown enormously.
Dead Chemists have done a truly exciting job of seeking out bands from every nook and cranny from around the country and putting together some huge, killer line-ups, as well as tapping right into a cycle of fast and heavy music that is currently running wild all about the place, with new bands springing up everywhere. Sabotage, not to be outdone, have also carved a niche for themselves and done some great work bringing in bands from around Europe, and, with this gig, from the United States. Both these and many more promoters have done something excellent in the city and they’ve really kickstarted the scene, albeit at the expense of both cash and nerves. After a night like tonight they deserve all the credit they can get.
The Croft is split into two rooms, with the back being larger, smellier, and generally better sounding. With a bill like this, with an eventual total of 9 bands playing, the promoters made the smart move of booking both rooms and splitting the music between them, with quick turn-arounds, which created an interesting dynamic for the night as a whole. The massive line-up for this gig manifested as the coincidence of two split national tours coming together plus a heap of support bands pouring in for good measure. With the two-room setting of the Croft and the fact that the bands from each tour play distinctly different types of music the gig stood under threat of being split in two, & perhaps each room could have functioned as its own gig, independently of each other, but in practice it seemed more like everybody in the venue had come to see every single one of the bands, something which really instils a feeling of hope in me.
To put some context – in the front room, after some support bands, we saw the first date on the split tour between Southampton’s The Long Haul and Pariso, from London, who represent a side of Hardcore which is currently growing at a tumour-like speed, in all sorts of directions. These bands have taken influence from older, ”Ë90s screamo bands like Saetia or Orchid, with a touch more melody, and seem to be the number-one choice at the moment for skinny boys and girls with baggy white t-shirts. The tiny front room got completely packed out to hell for these bands, and once the pit got moving around things got very fun very quickly. One of the nice things about seeing trendy bands is that you get a degree of diversity in the room, and then following music like this leads to a space of real respect and friendliness.
The back room, by contrast, managed for most of the night to be way more hostile a space, with the bigger room full of great burly men in black smashing into each other. This can, of course, be good fun as well, but the marked difference between the rooms was exactly the threat I was mentioning earlier. In comparison to the sensitive, complex Crush and Swell bands in the front room, the back was occupied by grindcore and powerviolence, which are great ways to blow your ears in, if you like that kind of thing.
The first band to play in the back room were poweviolence act Let It Die, from Northhamptonshire. I’ve only been exposed to PV over the past year and I’m not quite sure what it is yet. Powerviolence bands play fast, but often slow. It’s heavy but often not, and aggressive but often with a very positive message. Let It Die really sum all that up and are a great band to run around to, while their frontman Red is really forceful and energetic on stage. Every so often I get confident that, through my leisure activities, I’ve killed my ears to the point where they wont ring any more, and every so often a band like Let it Die comes and proves me wrong on that count.
The main, and headline tour of the whole night was a joint venture between Weekend Nachos, a PV band from Chicago, Illinois, and The Afternoon Gentlemen who are a grind core act from up Leeds way. The Gents, as we may affectionately call them, seem to be so ludicrously heavy, insanely fast, and comically simple as a band that a million and one satirists could not have come up with them. As a fan of this kind of music, I really find this band very very funny, with their affectionate sense of humour making a joke out of the fact that that yes, grindcore is terrible and yes, they are well aware of that. The vocals exemplify this, ranging from grunts that sound like a miffed elephant to screaming highs that remind me of bath water swirling round the plug-hole.
If I had been keeping score, I would have said that, up to this point, the front room seemed to have in fact been the better night so far. I’d enjoyed every band I’d seen but the back room had felt a little less full, and I’d been kicked hard in the leg by some knob head whilst watching The Afternoon Gentlemen. As soon as Weekend Nachos went on stage, however, I lost that feeling completely. If you’ll excuse a little hyperbole, I must say that they play an absolutely blinding set, to a room full of fans, running from side to side at the end of an evening that really should have left everyone tired as hell already. The impressions I had formed regarding divisions across the night completely melted as well, when I saw hxc kids in Vans slam dancing next to crusties with dreads and beards. As usual there were a few dickheads, including the guy smashing around in the pit with a bottle in his hand (who threw a massive wobbly when asked to stop), and concerns have to go up a bit when there are people diving over you from the double-stacked speakers on the stage, but generally this kind of thing all adds to the ambiance and feeling of excitement.
If you like new, heavy, fast and exciting bands, then all of the bands that were on tonight were great. If you don’t think Bristol, as a city, has a scene for that kind of thing, then you’re utterly wrong. And if you’re in Bristol and you like these kinds of bands, then I had better see you at a gig some-time soon.
All words Jed Edwards. Jed blogs from his Next Time You See… blog which you can find here.