It was just under a year ago that the understated Kerouac played their last show, now it is the turn for the equally understated The Long Haul. This innovatively skilled British hardcore band play their last ever show here, in this small hidden Camden pub, to a loyal crowd with a stellar line up of talented friends and peers.
Starting off the eulogy is the unusually formatted Let It Die from Kettering. This trio play relentless blackened hardcore punk that will melt your face…the catch? This band lacks a bassist. Whilst on one band this may lack a tense under layer on paper, in practice it still works brutally. The riffs are filthily unhinged, the drums pummel the ears magnificently, and the vocals are shouted to a shredded satisfactory decibel. Overall, Let It Die has managed to click the gears of attention tonight with their metallic hardcore noise. (3.5/5)
Living up to the promise showed on the phenomenal ‘Everything I’ve Ever Feared’, Grappler escalate the room to a spine tingling level. Their brand of melodic hardcore declares a poetic honesty and grand cathartic ambiance that few can muster. This formula allows the band to get the first movement of the evening, and upon doing so it produces terrific results. At this point, one realises that the only direction for Grappler to go is up. (4/5)
All systems are on red alert when Pariso whiplash a frenzy in front of the stage. Carefully balancing a set with known established songs and newer unknown material is a risk well done. Mario Gambardella’s coarse throaty yells, coupled with the calculating guitar work and drums simply underline chaos in their making. It’s a solid set that causes a small frantic murmur, but brutal enough to continue the consistent ferocious and wild vibe this evening. All this reaches its peak as soon as Gambardella dives into the crowd, who carry him around the pit whilst shouting his head off. (3.5/5)
This reviewer stands by his previous statement when he last reviewed the next band; Goodtime Boys are simply magnificent. Having recently come back from a trek in the U.S., the Welsh screamo mob is graceful in their melodies and unrefined in their emotion. Tracks like ‘Breathe’ present a gripping hold on one’s mind due to the honest delivery in their output. Judging the atmosphere and communal yells in front of the stage, Goodtime Boys are a godly presence continuing to grow. (4/5)
The moment has arrived. Once the entire room is under control and the necessary sound check achieved, The Long Haul introduce themselves via the 50s tinged intro entitled ‘Lenders’. As the final note ends, the band morphs into a lethal energy with ‘Debtors’ which grabs the crowd by the ankle and pulls them satisfyingly to the stage. The energy from then on goes through a ridiculous pattern, that sees bodies scrambling over each other, blistered voices, and the occasional bruise on the head. All the while, the band prowl through a vicious set spanning the band’s discography.
The older numbers like ‘Getting Out’ and ‘Dead Soul/Endless Drag’, which pre-date vocalist Harry Fanshawe, are given as much life as possible. The fire is mostly fuelled during the angular proggy hardcore gems of recent material such as ‘Puppets and Wires’. The final songs of the band’s career i.e. ‘Brood’ and ‘Black Dog’ provide a short adrenaline boost needed to quicken the pace.
After a superb three quarters of a set, featuring guest vocals from Goodtime Boys’ Alex Pennie and utter carnage from fans, the band prepare for the eulogy. ‘Holes in the Ground, Bliss in the Skies’ and the reflective ‘Blank Canvas’ help to give the final push needed to end this final show for the band. (4/5)
Words by Aaron Lohan (@ooran_loohan)