Opening the gig were My Rules, from the North East. It was a very Old School Hardcore Punk vibe; simple, fast, thrashy, and imperfect - bringing to mind many 80’s acts such as Negative Approach, Void, Infest and even elements of Dead Kennedys. Perhaps as a reflection of their age and influences, many of the tracks were socially/politically motivated, such as ‘Eye For An Eye’ challenging The West's aggressive military action in countries such as Syria, and the impact that it has on innocent people. Set highlight was ‘No Redemption’ with it’s slow building drum beat of an introduction before launching into a speedy verse-chorus-verse-chorus of buzzing guitars and heavy basslines.
Up next were True Vision, aesthetically the polar opposite of My Rules by being extremely young and fresh faced. Essentially a present day version of My Rules, playing loud, fast and trashy Hardcore Punk, taking influence from much of the Carry The Weight Records roster, such The Flex, Wardogs and Sectarian Violence. Despite their youth, they seemed to have more command over their instruments than My Rules, and turned in a very tight and accomplished set. The highlights were two tracks from an upcoming 7”, the first of which was particularly great with breakneck, buzzing and scratching guitar work. The second of these new tracks was perhaps the heaviest of their set, with super thrashy, bouncing verses and a really great two-step rhythm breakdown, that got people moving side-to-side down at the front. It’s still quite early days for the band, but expect to hear more form these guys
Control stepped it up considerably with their variation on the same set up as the previous two bands; loud, thrashy, breakneck Hardcore Punk. The North East lads have been going since 2010, and have cranked out some extremely solid EP’s, the most recent of which is 2015’s self titled effort. I think what set Control’s performance apart from the previous support bands, is seemingly a contradiction. There was a sense of clarity, with less buzz and feedback, so the structure of songs was easier to pick out. However, the band also manage to pair this with an unbridled performance that I liken to bands such as Ruiner. They play so fast and thrashy that the tracks seem like they might collapse under their own weight at any moment. In fact, this did happen a couple of times, as the drummer dropped a couple of the drumbeats, managing to laugh and joke it off in between songs. When they manage to hold on though, it makes for an exciting sounding live show, tracks like ‘Long Time Gone’ and ‘Step Out’ being memorable, if short lived highlights.
As Insist were getting ready to take the stage, you could feel the whole vibe in the room change. There was a certain anticipation, and an element of electricity. Once Insist started their set, it was easy to see why. It was an extremely energetic and passionate performance, and it’s no surprise that they have recently been signed to Mindset’s label React! Records. Indeed, sonically you can hear the clear influence that bands such as Mindset have had on Insist. After an intro of sorts, the room is alive and bodies are hurling themselves around in all directions, along with raised fists and shouting voices in unison with Insist’s gang vocals. Tracks like ‘Live and Let Live’ and ‘Reach Out’ from their self titled EP see lots of action, the breakdown sections have everyone two-stepping and moving side to side. It’s a rapid fire performance, and the Manchester lads rattle through their songs without looking back or dwelling on the moment. They demo a new track from the upcoming 7”, which will be their first output for React Records. The track is received well, however it is understandably the current material which sets the crowd alight, my personal highlight being ‘Common Ground’ with its brilliant stabbing, scaling guitar work and perfect two-step, rhythmic breakdown.
Everyone in the room was hyped for Mindset. You could sense the bittersweet atmosphere in the air; Mindset were about to play, but it was about to be for the last time. At least as far as the UK was concerned. The atmosphere turned into ‘party chaos’ however, after the brief, instrumental intro broke into ‘Leave No Doubt’. Mindset were quite a bit sloppier live than I was expecting, but it didn’t matter. Energy, passion, and movement; these are the main ingredients of shows like this, the imperfections of musicianship overlooked in favour of the zeal of gang vocals, two-steps and stage dives. Tracks like ‘War’ are perfect two-step dance material, but everyone is too busy lurching forward, fist in the air and shouting the lyrics back in the direction of the microphone. The breakdowns don’t get totally ignored though, with tracks like ‘Life Force’ seeing people moving side-to-side and front-to-back. The set hurtles along at breakneck pace, the snapping drums of older tracks like ‘Create/Control’ teamed with the vocal delivery almost bring to mind pioneers Minor Threat. While album tracks ‘Alive Inside’ and ‘Waste’ are the set highlights, getting an absolutely insane reaction from everyone in the venue. By the time we reach obvious set closer ‘One Step Beyond’ no-one in the venue is completely still, even us jaded Hardcore Punks at the back of the venue are nodding our heads in unison…
And just like that, it was all over. It was, perhaps inevitably, slightly anti-climactic. Mindset weren't bad, in fact they were great. Maybe I have been spoiled in my years of gig going, but Mindset are such a legendary name in Straight Edge Hardcore Punk, I somehow expected a bit more. For a band of nearly 10 years in the scene, I found the musicianship quite sloppy and for a band on their final tour, they only played for 20mins without an encore. On reflection, I think the guys in Mindset had mentally already finished. To put such a fine point on your own demise perhaps opens your headspace a little bit, and maybe they were already thinking about the next step, rather than focusing on the moment. A huge assumption on my part I know, but with this in mind, it was perhaps symbolic that Insist were the main support band. Their set partially stole the show away from Mindset, who have undoubtedly been one of their main inspirations. When the apprentice out-performs the master, perhaps this show had more to do with the passing of the torch from Mindset onto Insist as the potential front runners of modern straight edge Hardcore. Which is in itself exciting, considering that Insist are ‘ours’, another symbol that influential Hardcore music can not only come from the UK, but that it doesn't necessarily just come from the big L…
Author: Tim Bridges