Live Review: Stick To Your Guns at The Dome

Tonight is the first of a pair of back to back sold out shows at The Dome in the heart of London. It’s should come as no surprise when a band with as huge a following as Stick To Your Guns are in town that they should have to put on an extra date due to popular demand.

Employed To Serve [8/10] where a wonderful surprise at UK Tech-Fest earlier this summer. The London Hardcore crew have gone from strength to strength and announcing their signing for Spinefarm Records just a month or so ago means they have an even brighter future. They include a pair of brand new songs in their set and absolutely smash The Dome to pieces with slab after slab of Metallic Hardcore riffage, pummelling kit work and those trademark brutal vocals from Justine Jones. There is a pit going from the very first note and it simply grows as the crowd gets in on the action. The new songs both feature some impressive lead work and if there is anyone doubting their talent, it is very quickly erased.

Canadian Hardcore quintet Counterparts [10/10] are no strangers to our shores and are without a doubt one of the finest live bands around. The atmosphere they generate with every song being a sing-a-long and frontman Brendan Murphy regularly losing the microphone to the crowd is phenomenal. Tonight is no different and after warming the crowd up with some Slayer riffage in the form of “South of Heaven” while tuning up and checking the levels, the band burst into a set of songs that sent the audience wild. Crowd surfing, circle pits and sing-a-longs are all the order of the day and everyone is moving from the very start. New songs like “Bouquet”, “No Servant of Mine”, “Thieves” and  “Swim Beneath My Skin” sit well with the older material like “Choke”. Everyone knows all the words and at the end of the set there are 20 people on the stage bouncing along with the band.

The main event, Stick To Your Guns [9/10] take to the stage after a long wait for the turn around and deliver a career spanning set of pure adrenaline pumping anthems to a crowd who have turned up in force to sell out the show. The Orange County Californian Hardcore Punks may have strayed from the path with a few experiments on recent albums but tonight is not the night for any of that. Frontman Jesse Barnett seems particularly fired up tonight and even breaks off the set to give a motivational speech. Adding former Evergreen Terrace and current Eighteen Visions Guitarist Josh James to their ranks a few years ago seemed to have inspired the band and tonight he’s on top form. “What Choice Did You Give Us?” opens the set in style, while “Forgiveness of Self”, “Married To The Noise” and of course “Amber” are all highlights.

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