Despite Caliban screaming and thrashing theirlittle hearts out across the stage, beyond the ever-enthusiastic front six rows there dwells a distinctly unimpressed atmosphere in the swarming bowels of theMean Fiddler.
Despite the uphill struggle, the youngGermans are gaining with every UK show, and aftersupport slots with Machine Head and InFlames, the hard work isbeginning to pay off as Closer proves – even managingto separate most of the crowd for a full-on wall mosh.
There follows a rousing welcome for the doom-metallegends Crowbar, with Kirk Windstein proving the packof angry wolves that dwell in his larynx have beenroused once more. He seems most pleased to be back inBritain and in his merriment proceeds to execute atherapeutic, speaker-destroying set. This band didn’tearn their “None F**king Heavier” moniker without somejustification, however, as the rattling floorboardsand my subsequent throbbing head pay tribute to.
From the moment headliners Hatebreed take to the stage,the entire venue is entranced. Jamey Jasta takes hisplace as commander of a room full of committed troops,barking out his orders for crowd participation, whichare followed to the letter. They might not all beflailing around like possessed Olympic gymnasts in oneof the many warzone pits that erupt like landminesacross the floor, but every punter in the housescreams along in unison as Doomsayer sends many anoverambitious emo fan scuttling for the stairs. Andall this as the testosterone-fuelled, fist0swingingmayhem is only just beginning.
Three early hits, including the brutal Under The Knife, follow in quick succession – the old schoolfans are most defiantly in their element. Newer fans aren’t left in the cold for long thoughas Straight To Your Face gives ample opportunity forcontinued bedlam to ensue. Live Gor This comes overnot only as a killer tune but also as a personalmantra for the godfather of the current hardcorescene. “Every drop of blood, every bitter tear, everybead of sweat, I LIVE FOR THIS!” is shouted by all asthey let all in the Astoria Theatre above know who’s having thebetter time!
The songs might not be technically awe-inspiring,but what strikes – with thevelocity of a Tyson uppercut – is their ability to soundso, so viciously heavy, with only three musicians onstage. Sean Martin drops into Hatebreed’s only coverfor the evening in the form of a one-minute Reign InBlood tribute, and a rapturous crowd gets even louderas Perseverance makes a welcome follow-up.
This Is Now proves as manic as the fan-filledvideo, while the final number for the evening is thehighly anticipated I Will Be Heard which causesthose few with vocal chords still intact to force outevery last breath’s worth of participation beforecollapsing homewards, having just witnessed 2005′sbest show yet.