This gig seemed to draw a huge crowd, and with it being at The Star & Garter the whole night seemed to have a nostalgic vibe harking back to 2006-2008 when there were lots and lots of Hardcore gigs at this venue. The line-up seemed to have brought a lot of old familiar faces out of the woodwork - faces I recognised, but had not necessarily seen for quite a while. We also haven’t had a five band line-up for quite a while, which again echoed back to how things used to be for the Manchester Hardcore scene. The night held onto that comforting vibe throughout the show…
Knuckledust unfortunately had to pull out of the show, which meant that local lads Restrict scrambled their gear together at the last minute to open the proceedings, and all the other support acts moved up a slot in the line-up. It’s not as noticeable in their demo on Bandcamp, but in a live setting Restrict remind me of Bent Life. Like, a lot. Which is in now way a complaint, and the brilliant rumbling bassline of ‘Served Justice’ along with it’s two step rhythm is perhaps the best example of this. In their heavier moments there are a couple of nods to bands such as Desolated, primarily the breakdown for ‘Outcast’. Throw in an excellent sounding new song that went by the name of ‘Egotistic’ and you have a great opening set from a Manchester band. Looking forward to hearing more from these guys.
We needed to go out and get some food, and we took our sweet time to do so, and in the process we managed to miss the set from some more local lads, Unjust. However, I have their demo which you can get on Bandcamp for free. They play a more punk orientated brand of Hardcore than the rest of the line up. If you were a fan of Survival, or any of the Carry The Weight roster and haven’t heard of Unjust, then you should definitely check them out because I think you will appreciate them.
Keeping the ‘locals' theme going for the support acts, next up were Higher Power from Leeds. They have been gathering momentum recently by getting on lots of line-ups, even taking a trip over to the US for a stint of shows. The set on this occasion seemed a bit sloppier than I have been treated to previously, however you still cannot deny the infectious groove that their brand of Metallic Hardcore/Crossover provides, and the room is absolutely packed at this point. More upbeat moments come in the form of ‘Higher Power’ with some fantastic crunchy, scratchy guitar work, and neck snapping finale. They slow it right down a couple of times, older track ‘No Son’ providing an unexpected set highlight. Newer tracks such as ‘Reflect’ have nestled into the set list really nicely, the grungy elements adding a real groove to the live instrumentation. I haven’t listened to them on ‘record’ for a while, so I couldn’t be sure what they finished the set with, but I think it was ‘Twisted Vision’, with its escalating riffage providing a great set finale. Hurry up and drop an album!
Broken Teeth seemed to be the draw of the evening. The room was absolutely rammed by the time they came on, and they didn’t let anyone down. The lads made an explosive start with new track ‘Nothing Like You’ which will be on their upcoming full length on Nuclear Blast. The track has a great underlying rhythm throughout and a menacing lead guitar tone. It was the first of two or three new songs that were littered in the set, and they were all extremely accomplished pieces of Hardcore. If possible, their new material is heavier than previous efforts, with plenty of chuggy, catchy riffs, all the while managing to retain an element of groove. Their set got better and better with each track, and the swarming crowd acted appropriately with stage dives, windmills and running on top of people’s heads and shoulders all accompanying the sonic chaos of highlights such as ‘My Law’ and ‘The Seeker’. It was a brutal and uncompromising set, that hurtled along with ferocious intensity, reaching the death throes of ‘Soul Destroyer’ all too quickly. Being from Manchester and riding it out in the Hardcore scene for many years, Broken Teeth have had a support slot on perhaps 100’s of Manchester shows. As a result I have seen them countless times. However this set was definitely the best performance I have ever seen them give. By finally knuckling down and recording a full length album, they have made a staggering amount of progress in the past year or so. It was great to see the product of all that hard work in this set, and the lads stole the show.
Being the only American band on the bill, Take Offense did provide a slightly different tone to ride out the evening. Their particular brand of Metallic Hardcore definitely has a more upbeat outlook than the crushing intensity of Broken Teeth. They kicked off their set with the Metallic groove of ‘No Tomorrow’ and escalated this with the fast paced ’No Room’, the gang vocals waking everyone up to the action. Take Offense like to play the tempo-change game throughout their material, which always makes for an energetic performance, and you just can’t deny how catchy they are. By the time the band hit their stride with ‘Power In Our Hands’ they have become infectious: everyone is happily nodding their heads from the front of the room all the way to the back rows where I had positioned myself. Set highlights included the drum led marching pace of ‘Criminals’ and ‘One Step Ahead’ with it’s cocky attitude, thrash metal undertones and fantastic, swagger-like rhythm. They got up to a breakneck speed with ‘The Hands Of Time’ before slowing it down for a couple of tracks, including new song ‘Enter The Centre’. The Californians ended their set on a high note with the positively anthemic ‘Place Your Bet’ the on form lead guitarist delivering one final string dancing solo before the final staggering, crunchy breakdown.
Despite this being a bruiser of a Hardcore show, Take Offense definitely managed to nurture a happy, party vibe to finish the evening. Aside from the swagger of the music, this undoubtedly has something to do with vocalist Anthony Herrera, who buzzes with energy and wears a great big shit-eating grin throughout the set. They are all great musicians, but in some respects the music of Take Offense is relatively simple and straight forward. However, when it is performed with such energy and positivity it can never fail to make for a good night! This was a great show :)
Author: Tim Bridges