Having been swaying to the sounds of two support acts for the past hour, the atmosphere in the Astoria is thick, sweaty and far too full of male hormones. Despite the fairly uneventful and unmemorable efforts of 12 Tribes and a slightly more impressive set on behalf of hot imports Unearth the masses await the appearance of their beloved band with fervent attention.
Back stage, Ive no doubt the boys in Hatebreed will be finding increasingly hard to march onstage still trying to keep signature poker face grimaces firmly fixed in place.
Riding high on the release of their latest effort Supremacy, the band have upgraded from last years show at the Mean Fiddler to headline the Astoria, which they have packed to the rafters with ease. Never the less, guitarist Sean Martin definitely cracked a smile as he stepped out to view a full house, hollering in adoration. Striking up with the opening track from Supremacy, Defeatist sets the tone for a evening that will have security working harder for their money ever before, catching crowd surfers, breaking up fights and generally preventing the frontman from being able to adequately engage with his followers.
Jamey Jasta might not actually be an ordained minister, but judging by the dedication of many here tonight, in their eyes he is the high priest of hardcore. From the young skinny teenager with lyrics tattooed across his shoulders to the marine corp. rejects who have sunk to the level of pounding folks a quarter of their size, they might have come for differing reasons, but tonight they are all here to receive street wisdom from Mr Jastas lips.
Perseverance and Beholder of Justice go along way to enlighten the masses, as they thrash and pound each other in a frenzy, the like of which I have never gazed upon from the safety of the Astorias balcony. There is literally wall to wall slam-dancing in session, and when really well known tracks like This is Now are dropped, I just hope all the kids who came in with glasses on have spares at home.
To the threshold goes down incredibly, considering it is one of tonights final tracks, the heaving bodies on the slippery floor beneath me have dug deep and discovered some hidden last bursts of energy to see them through as I will be Heard form a fitting precursor to the glory of Live for This, which sees every hand in the room thrown stageward in agreement as Jamey rallies his troops, the battle cry of self affirmation and perseverance is complete, and although some of us just wont last a year until their return, theres always the glimmering hope of another blinding festival spot in the summer.