There is always a level of excitement for most when it comes to the first gig of the year, and for me, this is one I've been looking forward to for sometime. Sick Of It All have a reputation for live shows that are full of energy as well as plenty of punk riffs and hardcore beats. Tonight was no exception. Returning to a venue that suites them down to the ground due to its intimate nature, the roof will be raised tonight. The night is all about great tunes, sweaty cramped mosh pits and overpriced beer that only exists in music venues.
Sick Of It All were joined by not one, not two, but three support acts well known in the London hardcore scene courtesy of Rucktion Records. Frustratingly, I was late to the party and therefore missed Bun Dem Out and Pay No Respect, arriving just as the latter left the stage. Despite missing out, it was clear that the fans of the London hardcore scene were out in force. The venue was wall to wall bodies, shuffling up the one small staircase towards the bar. In order to get a feel for what I had missed I asked a few exhausted-looking guys what Bun Dem Out and Pay No Respect's sets were like. The response received wasn't particularly helpful, but still summed up the atmosphere: "It was sick bro, you missed out man."
Ninebar take to the stage, a band that have solidified their fan base with their brand of hardcore tunes and ground shaking beats. As their first song kicks in there is a stampede straight down the small staircase to the main floor. Ninebar power through their set cramming as many tunes in as possible. They know why the punters are here, for the music, not a running commentary on current world issues. In fact, the only thing vocalists Matty and Fat Tom mention, aside from introducing each song, is to thank Sick Of It All for sharing the stage with them, Bun Dem Out, and Pay No Respect. They close their set with fan favourite "Read These Boks" and with that the audience completely loose control, stomping left left, right right to the chorus that encourages just that.
So, it's now time for the moment we've all been waiting for, it's time for Sick Of It All! It's been a long time since I decided to head into a mosh pit as these days I have become more of a "at the back or side with a beer kinda guy," but Sick Of It All have always managed to draw me in whenever I see them live. The crowd literally go nuts, I throw caution to the wind and lose myself in the adrenaline-fuelled mosh pit. In doing this I completely lost track of what songs were played when, but I can say it was an exceptional mix of fan favourites, and material from their most recent album Last Act Of Defiance. "Sound The Alarm," the opening song from Last Act Of Defiance comes out early on and it's clear this rabble know and love this just as much as the classics. Of course it wouldn't be a Sick Of It All show without "Take The Night Off," giving us all the chance to chant along and celebrate that we don't give a fuck!
For me this was a close-to-perfect show; it had all that I love about gigs, a small intimate venue, a great selection of support acts, and music in its rawest, most primal form. Sick Of It All and the boys from Rucktion have set the bar for the following year extremely high!