Sunday and day #2 of the second incarnation of Upsurge Festival at London’s New Cross Inn. After yesterday’s fantastic sets from the likes of Ironed Out and Road Mutant, today promises much with sets from Street Soldier and Malevolence being highly anticipated! After an amazing breakfast at Chicago Grill Plus, it’s time for some bands.
Getting the two stepping action off to an early start are Birmingham Hardcore Punk 4 piece Ill Vision [7.5/10] who have a number #1 fan Charlie Pearce from Road Mutant headbanging front and centre from the very start. It’s a high energy set that sees us treated to a minute or so of “5 Minutes Alone” by Pantera before the band burst into their final song. Also featuring a cover in their set, this time of “Forever” by Orange County Hardcore Kings Throwdown are Watch Me Die [7/10]. It’s hard to forsee the direction of the band because for the majority of the set they’re a brutal straight edge Metallic Hardcore band. Save for one song that features a Post-hardcore clean sung verse that is strangely out of place. Dare to be different? Brighton quartet Negative Measures [6/10] have a raw interpretation of Hardcore Punk and a chaotic live show that sees vocalist Jack Goring stalk the stage and at one point fall over the backline kit. They’re like a caged animal at times, not seeming to know what each other will do next but managing to keep enough control not to lose it completely. Recording in the next month are Plymouth Hardcore Punks Vision Quest [7/10] who despite having a name that would suit a Power Metal band are anything but. Their front woman at first appears to lack confidence but after the first song and a couple of technical issues is in her element, two stepping on the stage during the extended music sections. “Still Real” is a set highlight. Probably the strangest band on today’s bill are Natterers [6/10] who are a straight punk band of an older generation that have influences in The Clash and The Sex Pistols. Their frontwoman barely pauses for breath as the band don’t stop for a second to talk to the crowd. It’s not necessarily that they aren’t good at what they do, just that they’re sorely out of place. Street Soldier [9/10] bring rap influence beatdown hardcore to the table and with their brilliant new EP “Northern Hate” they destiny the place. Riffs galore, tempo shifts, vocal changes with rap screams, slam growls and plenty of microphone grabbing and crowd gang vocals. Much to our surprise we get treated to a second set from SeeYouSpaceCowboy [9/10] who no-one seems to be expecting. They throw down the gauntlet to the remaining bands with a brutal 15 minute set of tunes that crosses the sounds of Knocked Loose and Everytime I Die with blistering energy and vicious vocals. It’s strange that a shoegazing band that have taken the sound of some of the more melodic Deftones work and made it their main sound should be on this essentially Hardcore orientated bill. But Puppy appeared last year in a similar slot and so this time out we get Slow Crush [4/10] who are just weird after the two previous bands. Sunday’s secret act is Liverpool’s Loathe [9/10] who, fresh from Radar Festival are forced into extended sound check before a blistering 25 minute set which includes the brilliant “White Hot”. Having had Lotus Eater at the festival last year, having the genre pioneers here makes perfect sense and they go down a storm. Welsh hardcore crew Brutality Will Prevail [8/10] got up at 4am and travelled from Germany to be here but they waste no time in getting the Hardcore back into full flow. They have a new album on the way and with those Impericon shows are in fine form tonight. New songs “Slither” and “Misery Sequence” appear in the set and not only are they highlights but are also a pointer to how good their upcoming new full length could be. Having taken the stage yesterday with his other band Climate Of Fear, vocalist Paul Williams turns things on their head with his Hardcore band Desolated [8/10] who bring Malevolence frontman Alex Taylor and Street Soldier vocalist Scotty Hall on stage for guest appearances. Williams calls for the pit to be turned into a War Zone and with their brand of Metallic Hardcore including cuts from their return EP “A New Realm of Misery”, it’s a mosh heavy affair. Tonight’s headliners are about as highly anticipated as they come. They haven’t played a show in London or down south for a fair while but mid set announce they will be back before the end of the year with a “sick line-up”. That is of course music to the ears of Malevolence [10/10] fans. The set is a whirlwind of cuts from “Self Supremacy” with “Trial by Fire” and the title track being nothing short of sublime. It maybe Sunday night but the crowd go wild with crowd surfing and microphone grabbing throughout. They say they’ve recorded new material. So let’s have it!