Date: April 17th, 2014
Venue: Camden Underworld, London
Support: Malevolence / The Greenery / Xibalba
The Underworld claims to be the UK’s number 1 venue for rock, metal and alternative shows, and it’s hard to make a real case against it. A lowered crowd area and absence of barrier gives the perfect enclosed feeling which has attracted so many heavyweight bands for intimate shows on the Camden High Street. But the venue was created for nights like this; gritty, packed, sold out shows where everyone leaves smelling of sweat, blood and Newcastle Brown Ale – and who better to headline than Canadian kings of hardcore, Comeback Kid?
Malevolence (****) are first to warm up the already relatively large crowd as fans eagerly awaiting a long evening of mayhem got down early. They’ll be happy they did, too. The Sheffield shredders are young but confident and effortlessly rip through no end of breakdowns while their following scream the words to ‘In The Face Of Death’ and ‘Reign Of Suffering’ back at them. Frontman Alex Taylor only lasts half way into their first song before having to take off his hoody, as the energy of the room starts to heat up and set the precedent for the rest of the night.
“We are the authors of the end of days” rings around the room as nice guys of hardcore The Greenery (****) explode out to ‘Acid Flash’, but it’s not long ’til Matt Lanners takes it upon himself to get the crowd on his wavelength as he gets in the middle of the pit for some carnage during ‘Dragged Beneath’, but naturally apologises for the bad natured lyrics afterwards. Skateboarding inspired ‘Faceplant’ gets a deservedly big sing-a-long, but nothing compared to the volume of a quick rendition of Beastie Boys classic ‘You’ve Gotta Fight For Your Right (To Party)’, which finishes the impressive set with style.
As soon as the step onto the stage, Xibalba (***) make the first two bands seem extremely soft in comparison, as the pure power of the guitars brings the heaviest music you’re likely to hear at a hardcore show this year. The crowd lap up the brutality and go wild; all you can see is beards and Madball shirts throwing themselves from the stage and feet as high as your head in the middle of the mosh pit. ‘Sentenced’ and new song ‘Death Threat’ ensure that it’s headbangers galore until live favourite ‘No Serenity’ closes the set to please the die-hard fans.
It’s been almost exactly a year since Comeback Kid (****) last played at the Underworld when Scott Wade took on vocal duties for the ‘Turn It Around’ 10 year anniversary, and it’s no surprise they were in a rush to get back here on their latest UK run. With Andrew Neufeld back at the helm, they burst straight into album openers ‘Die Knowing’, ‘False Idols Fall’ and ‘Do Yourself A Favor’ to announce themselves on stage, with the latter triggering an insane “What you say, what you say, how it used to be” call back from the whole room.
The short punchy songs with expertly executed gang vocals are what have kept Comeback Kid alive so dominantly in the scene for the last decade. ‘Our Distance’ and ‘Partners In Crime’ give fans the opportunity to get up close and personal with the band. Encouraging stage dives and sharing the microphone; the band openly put their faith in the Camden crowd, evident from opting to film their brand new music video for ‘Wasted Arrows’ here tonight. Everyone ensures they leave plenty of energy for closing monster ‘Wake The Dead’, the pinnacle of any CBK show and a worthy end to a night of carnage and bruises that didn’t disappoint.
Written by Michael Heath