Just over two decades into their career and Ignite are still dealing it out thick and fast. Though now well-established family men, that doesn’t stop the Orange County quartet from churning out the big fast tunes and also hitting the road again and again, including this one-off stop in the capital before a sprint across Europe in support of their long-awaited new album ‘A War Against You’.
Kicking proceedings off is Darlington’s In Evil Hour. With the intensity and melody of AFI tied up with a neat hard rock bow, the quartet bash out songs of protest and jubilation to in their own words “the biggest crowd we’ve played to at The Underworld” and easily win over a new fan or 20. (3.5/5)
Manchester’s Dead Neck follow and tear into their brand of melodic punk with vigor and reason. Getting the laughs in thanks to their awkward northern charm and throwing Propaghandi and NOFX covers into their set for good measure, the trio play with a ferocity that has heads bopping from front to back. (4/5)
Throughout their time Ignite have always had an appeal that stretches further than their lifespan. From the old punk in the faded leather jacket stood at the front to the 10-year-old lad standing with his mum to the side, the band have always produced music for all ages and backgrounds, and that’s exactly what makes them and tonight so special. Coming out to a heroes welcome and dealing out a blistering ‘Bleeding’, the intentions for the night are set in stone early. This is an old-fashioned sweatbox of a show. Bodies fly overhead, fingers point towards the stage with intent and voices crack under the weight of songs that are noticeably loved and cherished.
Frontman Zoltán Táglás is the star of the show, hitting the headiest heights of his vocal range while also conducting the crowd before him through every sing-along and still finding time to check if the more acrobatic of stage divers are ok. Never a band to be quiet about how they feel either, Táglás doesn’t hold back on his views on Donald Trump, the state of America, communism and the current refugee crisis between a battering ‘Know Your History’ and vitally poignant ‘Poverty For All’. Though ‘A War Against You’ was only released into the wild last week as well, cuts such as ‘Oh No Not Again’ and ‘Begin Again’ are already emphatically received and screamed back like old favourites, while true throwback offerings ‘Man Against Man’ and ‘Embrace’ are met with scenes of pit-based brotherhood and screams of unity.
It’s during an emotionally resilient ‘Live For Better Days’ as the night wraps up, that a true beat of liberation can be felt pulsing through the Underworld. A shared understanding of what is right and what is wrong in the world and a sense of community that is often lost in translation in the modern day scene. It’s a feeling that creeps up the spine and serves as a solid reminder why music is still so important in a life that doesn’t gift you much else. The range of age, ethnicity, class, culture and nationality that have joined together in song tonight in North London is not only a credit to the forever-burning spirit of hardcore, but to Ignite for staying vital and engaging throughout their career lifespan and never forgetting what truly matters; friends, family and unity. (4.5/5)
Words by Jack Rogers (@JackMRog)