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Chain of Survival from Liverpool were the first band on and warmed things up with a short and tightly played set of fast punk and thrash-influenced hardcore. They ended with an excellent cover of ‘Victim in Pain’ by Agnostic Front.

Up next were young local band, Going Off, who brought a slightly heavier brand of modern metallic hardcore to proceedings. By now the sold-out venue was sweat-filled and packed. The savage breakdowns and harsh vocal delivery by a charismatic and raging frontman got the pit moving nicely. Their second LP ‘Die Fast’ came out a few weeks ago – I’ll be checking it out and I recommend you do the same.

This was the first date of a UK tour for New York hardcore band Sick Of It All and this year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of their third album, ‘Scratch the Surface’. This is a landmark hardcore album of course, the one that really put them on the map, and it is still considered by many to be their best. The set heavily featured that album, so as well as the usual classics like ‘Step Down’ they played deeper cuts such as ‘Desperate Fool’, ‘Maladjusted’, and the pummelling ‘Insurrection’.

I was pleased to hear ‘Cease Fire’ which I’ve never heard live before; with the contrast between the slower melodic intro and the fast main part of the song, it’s a personal favourite of mine. The rest of the set included a blend of older classics such as ‘My Life’, ‘Us vs Them’ and ‘Injustice System’, as well as songs from more recent releases such as ‘DNC’ and ‘Inner Vision’. Sick Of It All have been going non-stop for over 38 years now, which is particularly impressive for a hardcore band. I’ve seen them numerous times over the years going back as far as 1997 and they are still as tight and energetic as ever; one of the best live acts out there. Singer, Lou, was his usual funny and friendly self, guitarist and brother, Pete, constantly ran and jumped around the stage whilst never missing a note.

The intensity never let up from both band and crowd, with stage-dives, singalongs, and dancing throughout the set, including a wall of death for ‘Scratch the Surface’. A great evening – I’m already looking forward to the next tour.

  1. No Cure
  2. Insurrection
  3. Clobberin’ Time
  4. Inner Vision
  5. Maladjusted
  6. Take The Night Off
  7. Goatless
  8. DNC
  9. My Life
  10. Consume
  11. Busted
  12. Cease Fire
  13. Machete
  14. Desperate Fool
  15. Us vs. Them
  16. Good Lookin’ Out
  17. Who Sets The Rules
  18. Injustice System!
  19. Uprising Nation
  20. Step Down

Review by James Meldrum

Photos by Rob Lindesay – Instagram @rock.the.lens