Live Review: Upsurge Festival Day #1: Saturday

We’re at the New Cross Inn for the second incarnation of Upsurge Festival! After a few days or rain, today is glorious sunshine and it’s hot inside the venue. There have been a number of pull outs in the lead up to the festival, most notably with Inhuman Nature being absent and no reasoning offered by the organizers…

Getting the day off to a blistering start with some throat shredding unclean vocals Plead. [6/10] get their fair share from the anti social dancing club during their nasty hardcore set, through a bit of dissonance and some post hardcore elements are a bit strange. A year on from the first incarnation of Upsurge Festival and Road Mutant [9/10] are back for round #2. This time around there is an extra confidence and a slick nature to their performance with “Becoming Dead” being a set highlight. Charlie Pearce has grown in stature and become a force as a frontman and even dead lifts the backing vocal mic stand during an extended solo. The Well Runs Red sound like the Wu-Tang Clan. Wait. That’s because they’re not here. Maybe next time. Featuring perhaps former xServitudex guitarist as their frontman, Revolve [8/10] hail from Glasgow and punch hard with their Metallic Hardcore infusion and attract a capacity crowd for the onslaught with spin kickers going from the very start. In a brutal set of quintessential Metal including “Cult of Retribution”, quintet Climate Of Fear [8/10] have a thunderstorm of energy and plentiful riffs to satisfy even the most hungover Metalhead. While the new material has a Thrashier approach the older stuff is more Metallic Hardcore so in this set they strike that all important balance. Drones [5/10] are one of the stranger bands on the bill. Essentially Hard Rock with a sort of Punk energy, the female fronted 5 piece come across a bit middle of the road. Their vocalist sticks to the clean side of things though has an unclean capacity and the band seem to want to go heavier but the songs don’t do that. Bringing out the two steppers are London Hardcore crew Ironed Out [9/10] who maybe made up of an older bunch of dudes but not only do they know how it’s done, but they’re also fantastic fun. “In These Ends” is a set highlight with their man mountain of a bass player occupying so much of the stage that one of their vocalists spends the entire set in the pit. Whether it is the last live show from Chamber [8/10] or not remains to be seen but mid set the band announce they are splitting up. They deliver a set like a KFC fully loaded box meal, rammed full of nasty Metallic Hardcore riffs and breakdowns piled upon breakdowns combined with the kind of unclean vocals that make you think someone has been gargling with broken glass and sea salt. The last time we saw them they looked burned out, tonight they’re alive. It seems like the whole of London are out to see SeeYouSpaceCowboy [8/10] who have come a very long way in a very short space of time. Their infusion of Mathcore, Hardcore and Screamo is highly energetic and frontwoman Connie Sgarbossa does the job of two vocalists with plenty of weird screechy stuff as the breakdowns hit hard. Keeping it strictly Hardcore, Dutchmen No Turning Back [8/10] have been touring the globe since 1997 and show all of that experience tonight with a slick New York city style groove laiden sound that is seriously infectious. There is a far amount of microphone grabbing as with Counterparts last year. Incendiary [8/10] share a bottle of Jameson’s during their set, a classic blend of Hardcore that leans to the punk side with social awareness and political view points at the heart of the lyrics. The New York 5 piece play a mix of cuts from the Will Putney produced “Thousand Mile Stare” and “Cost of Living” and wear their influences on their collective sleeves.

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