Live Review: Birds In Row, Bastions, Vales and MINE – The Old Blue Last, London – 16/12/2012

imageOutside of the more, shall we say, “Shoreditch-friendly” events the Old Blue Last plays host to, the Pink Mist collective have created a buzz around their wonderfully crafted events, so much so that on a Sunday night in December, by the time that first band MINE take to the stage, rumour has it that it’s already got to a one-in, one-out status. For the gathered throng, the four-piece, still in their single figures of gigs, set up the evening’s entertainment nicely.

Lead vocalist Chris Barling is familiar to this audience for his former outfit, doomy hardcore band Hang The Bastard. This band aren’t a million miles removed from HTB but are more like an older, sophisticated cousin than an emulating little brother – the hard, uncompromising style is still present, but this is a more progressive stance, utilising the pedalboard to impressive effect, as swathes of guitar wash over the awestruck gathering. Building on an impressive showing on this year’s self-titled EP, MINE is a name to watch out for. (4/5)

Another name that will be on the lips of a wider consciousness in 2013 is Vales. Material from the rapturously received ‘Clarity’ EP goes down a storm as always, but the band show how far they’ve come in the 18 months since its release. The two new tracks on show ramp up the energy levels and put one more in the mind of Californians Touché Amoré than the mid-paced ‘Clarity’ material. As the band prepare to imminently hit the States to record, the year that ends in a number unlucky for some is Vales’ for the taking, and mark my words, they will be headlining these nights before long.  (4.5/5)

North Wales’ (via Cornwall) Bastions  are another band on the brink of showing just what they’re capable of on new material, with the hotly anticipated ‘Their Story Will Be Told’, the result of studio time with The Ghost Of A Thousand’s ‘Jags’ Jago, released on New Year’s Eve. The new songs sit comfortably alongside familiar ‘Hospital Corners’ material, ‘Staircase’ in particular sounding ferocious. ‘In The Shadow Of A Mountain’ and ‘Grief Beggar’ are propelled by some furious skin-smacking from drummer Danny Garrod, and vocalist Jamie Burne has some choice words on recent tragic events in Connecticut, but it’s when finale ‘Augury’ is dropped that London explodes into life. Provoking an en masse stage invasion, these boys may not (yet) have the plaudits of some of their peers, but they certainly have the tightly bound connection with their fans necessary so far from home. (4/5)

After a night showcasing the very best of British, it’s time for something from the continent, as France’s Birds In Row close off the night. Touring material from barnstorming new record ‘You, Me & The Violence’, released on the prestigious Deathwish label, the band have a fantastic sound tonight, but unfortunately, the tired bones of a long weekend and impending work on Monday morning means I’m not able to enjoy this as much as I should. Their dense wall of sound is certainly something to behold, and they are becoming the live presence always promised on record, but something doesn’t quite click with me tonight, which is in no part the fault of the band. Overall though, a spectacular night with a potent bill – in a year of quite astonishing hardcore shows, this is right up there. (3.5/5) 


Words by Ollie Connors (@olliexcore)


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