Quirky basement venue 229 is fast becoming THE Central London tour stop for up-and-coming bands, and tonight is no exception. With a co-headliner consisting of UKHC upstarts MSRY and MTXS making its way into town, a diminutive gang of hardcore fans piles down the gloomy looking tunnel that makes up the entrance.
First on stage is Essex five-piece Our Condolences  who are new on the scene, having recently released debut single, ‘The Silence’. There’s not a great deal of energy or movement during the set with the exception of frontman Dan Edwin, so it’s difficult to feel too excited about the material. A stand out is the Casey-esque ‘Six Weeks’, which Edwin touchingly dedicates to his mother, but aside from that, it’s hardcore at its most formulaic – a hefty breakdown here and there, but not much to write home about.
Up next is Infirm Of Purpose , and whilst the energy definitely picks up, thanks in no small part to Matt Ashley whirling around with his light up guitar, the music sadly gets even weaker. These guys are clearly trying to experiment by adding elements of hip-hop and electronicore to their sound, but they don’t seem too sure where they’re going with it. It all culminates in a poorly rehearsed cover of Linkin Park‘s ‘One Step Closer’ where frontman Josh Blackshaw switches places with drummer Oliver Babe, whose fairly weighty scream makes you wonder why he isn’t fronting the band in the first place. Bizarre.
Thankfully, everything improves dramatically when self-proclaimed ‘miserable hardcore’ trio MSRY  appear. Within seconds, frontman Kial Churcher is climbing every available surface in the room, and finally there’s some atmosphere and engagement from the crowd. The likes of ‘Safety First’ and ‘Trump Card’ taken from their latest EP are absolutely monstrous, as is older cut ‘Death Of The Party’. In fact, the entire set is as brutal and ear splitting as a rhinoceros giving birth to a motorcycle.
You also can’t fault how guitarist Charlie Bishop makes up for the band’s lack of a bassist, mixing low rumbling tones in amongst the riffs, and they do their best to liven up a crowd that seems reluctant to “get moving”, as Churcher furiously demands. Definitely ones to keep an eye on.
The equally ferocious MTXS  take the stage with the majority of the band clad in black bandanas, with the exception of frontman Paul Collins. Sounding like a techier version of Knocked Loose, it’s a set full of ragers that finally sees some spin kicks and two steps from the previously lacklustre crowd – though given the murderous glint in Collins‘ eye, perhaps they were just too scared not to.
The punk ethos that underpins their music is clear, from their homemade stage banner to them urging the crowd to “keep supporting your local scene”, and there’s enough strong material on display to make you want to do exactly that. ‘Sleep’ could not be a less apt title, since it’s as likely to induce sleep as a troupe of Harriers, whilst ‘Suffer’ is so fast and furious that it might as well be a movie franchise starring Vin Diesel.
MTXS are the kind of band you can imagine causing absolute carnage if they gained a bigger following. If they keep this up, perhaps it’s just a matter of time.