With a quick set change after opening act FC5, and not so much as a second’s hesitation once the guitars are in tune, Bane begin a half-hour lesson in the fundamentals of hardcore music, and with nearly a decade’s experience under their belts, you’d better trust they mean business.
Kicking off with a couple of new tracks, the classic What Makes Us Strong draws in the stragglers, as the pit becomes a thriving mass of bobbing heads and flailing limbs.
Having had a three-year absence from UK shores, it is with total uproar that the quintet are welcomed to the Underworld’s tiny stage, even though they look distinctly out of place compared to the coiffured, designer label-clad throng who have pitched up to watch them.
Despite the visual differences, there is unity in at least one fact this evening – the proceedings are ample opportunity for the band and fans alike to thrash their hearts out to a mix of brutally driving punk beats and crushingly heavy metal, fused together into what should be the next “big thing” in mainstream heavy music.
On the downside, the lack of continuity throughout Bane’s set becomes a serious drain on their presence, with lengthy gaps of tuning and mic checks before nearly every song. To add to the frustration, a power cut during Release The Hounds instigates a short lived a capella sing-along, before power is restored and the interrupted number is given a second, flawless outing.
Closing number Can We Go Back signals a crowd stage invasion, forcing Bane’s guitarists to clamber on top of their amps, while vocal responsibilities fall squarely in the hands of the hardcore fanatics, who scream out their lungs with a passion that is inspiring.
The crowd may have loved Bane but Comeback Kid are undoubtedly the reason that tonight’s show is sold out, and by the middle of their debut number False Idols Fall, it’s clear to see why. With their second album Wake The Dead, the Canadian natives have perhaps created the perfect manifestation of melodic hardcore. Changing Places and Partners In Crime are two fine examples of their signature approach – thrashing beat-downs preceded by choruses of anthemic standard.
Closing with the first song the band ever wrote, All In A Year cooks up a suitable melting pot of a pit, into which the intro of Wake The Dead is fed, causing a Bane-style, copycat stage invasion. This time, however, only the bass and the drums are left intact during what is the sing-along hardcore anthem of the year.
The majority of Comeback Kid’s members barely appear old enough to have gained entrance to this evening’s proceedings, let alone released two seminal albums in as many years. However, with the skill of transferring their already smoking new material to the stage with such incredible accuracy, 2006 may indeed be the year a knockout year for the Kid.