Having travelled to Spain in the name of hardcore, it’s safe to say Barcelona’s stickiest venue, the Razzmatazz, was the perfect venue for New York HC veterans Madball. Having only announced a short run of European dates, it was clear that incorporating these guys, as well as some of the scenes most prestigious veterans into a well-deserved holiday was essential.
Show openers Anal Hard , who reside in BCN, brought the intensity that we were all eagerly anticipating. Their metalcore edge signified bodies flying around the room, with frontman Rubio Meister joining the crowd at several points in the set. Despite their between song chats being in Spanish, it was clear that the crowd liked what they heard, with most screaming each time Meister finished a sentence. This wasn’t surprising, as a local band with 5 successful albums must be a pretty tight group in this scene. Meister’s vocals were also on point throughout, paired with the tight drumming from Recio signified an enjoyable performance, which kicked the show up a notch.
Veterans of the scene, and PMA enthusiasts H20  still know how to kick it, with Toby Morse flying out for first hit Everready. Their fast pace stage presence sets the Spanish crowd off, with pits opening up around the venue. It’s clear these guys spout energy, even after decades of performing these hits, which don’t seem to have aged. Legendary album Nothing to Prove received a warm welcome, with hits such as '1995' and 'Still Here' forcing the beers into the air for a full blown singalong. Their short lived hits meant the songs came through thick and fast, with a 16 song strong set-list keeping the crowd rowdy, especially with hits like 'Guilty by Association', with Madball frontman Freddy Cricien making an early appearance. Final hit 'What Happened' is certain to have extended attendees admiration for H20; without a doubt one of the best live bands around, and hopefully for some time to come.
H20 - Photo Credit: Ryan Winstanley
Reigning from Orange County, fellow hardcore veterans Ignite  take the stage, with an already excitable crowd getting ready to pit. It’s clear this band still pack a punch, with opener 'Poverty for All' keeping spirits and mosh levels high. Their extensive discography is sampled throughout their set, separating the new from the old fans. However, the reception they received from the entire crowd was truly incredible; a clear testament to their hard work over the past two decades. Between hits, frontman Zoli Teglas takes the time to discuss politics within the USA, gaining huge applaud from the shit talk of Trump. 'Nothing Can Stop Me' gets some airtime, with their familiar punchy sound opening the pits all over the venue. However, the clear set highlight comes from closing hit 'Bleeding', with the chorus being screamed back by almost everyone in the room. Their set flew by, with the pit veterans not stopping for the full 45 minutes. Another impressive performance by the OG’s of the scene.
Ignite - Photo Credit: Ryan Winstanley
Having been in a stadium environment a few months prior, seeing Madball [9.5/10] in a more concentrated environment was set to be an interesting endeavour. To no surprise, their reception was nothing short of incredible. Before even breaking into first hit 'Hardcore Lives', bodies were flying over the crowd, with the rest moshing in unison. Cricien takes the first opportunity to embrace the crowd, who welcome him with open arms. Despite reigning from the USA, Cricien among other members are Mexican, which means most of the set was spoken in Spanish. The set comprised of old and newer hits, some dating back to 1994’s release Look My Way. Nevertheless, their 21 song strong set is embraced from start to finish, with the crowd literally going insane for each hit. Cricien still slays in terms of vocals, with the older hits sound even better live, giving them life yet again. The rest of the band are still the well-oiled machine we’ve come to admire, with the riffs and perfectly timed drum beats coming through as strong as ever. Crowd favourite Doc Marten Stomp takes the last spot on the set, meaning an extra sweaty final four minutes of madness.
20 years plus of hardcore is an achievement in itself, but to witness such a humble band play in front of a such a thriving European crowd was an honour to see. Long live New York hardcore.
Madball - Photo Credit: Ryan Winstanley