Within the stereotypically peaceful town of Cheltenham, a flourishing hardcore scene has been in development for several years. Ignited by touring bands who have visited the town over the years, acts such as Bar Fight, Goblins, Money $hot, Wretched World and a plethora of other bands have founded and bolstered a surprisingly thriving hardcore scene within the underbelly of the town. In celebration of Bar Fight’s recent EP Class War, groups from far and near have gathered to celebrate not only the fantastic aforementioned EP, but this prosperous and healthy scene as a whole.
It’s not even 7pm and the vibrant hues of evening haven’t even descended upon the tranquil heart of the Cotswolds, but yet the masses have gathered early for the local powerviolence tinged yob Money $hot (7). Whilst their foundations are undeniably built upon an underground hardcore ethos, the group explode forth occasional yet prominent pieces of metalcore shrapnel for great effect, with galloping riffs and metalcore orientated breakdowns going down a treat with those who still hold the genre close to heart. Despite this, Money $hot are unquestionably a group who adhere to the vales and traits of hardcore, but presenting tinges of adolescent retrospectives for an amalgamation of aggressive and obnoxious musical force
Given that this is the Bar Fight EP Launch, it feels the majority of the line-up was hand picked in order to create as much intoxicated chaos as possible. In contrast, Balance (9) combine aesthetic, reverberating and shimmering soundscapes with hardcore groove to present a multilayered and deeply textured sound that’s unparalleled within tonight’s bill. Dynamic and compelling, but still presenting the intensity and argumentized power of hardcore punk, it’s a highly engaging sound and a presentation of contrasts that almost feels like the sonic lovechild of Suicidal Tendencies and Smashing Pumpkins. Is this the group that’s destined to be the UK’s underground equivalent of Turnstile? It’s a promising possibility.
Whereas Balance aimed, and succeed, in adding contemporary dynamics to conventional hardcore, Sanity Check (7) present full-blooded and hearty hardcore in it’s purest form, showcasing the force and strength that’s commonly associated with the genre. Whilst there’s no incorporation of foreign themes and tropes associated with differing genres, it’s a bludgeoning of the creative ideologies and carefree themes that are related to this genre. A short and sweet showcase of the ethos and strong integrity that’s crucial to this musical genre and respective movement.
“Hardcore is for virgins, just fucking push mosh, you’ve all read Kerrang at some point” spews the frontman for punk collective Pints (9). As their moniker implies, it’s a drunken rampage of pack mentality that’s fuelled by intoxicated and hedonistic punk at it’s most rowdy. It’s absolutely batshit and the prefect complimentary act for scene heroes Bar Fight, with such fervent and intoxicated energy being utterly contagious; you can’t help but want to slam your pint, grab the mic and scream along drunkenly to songs revolving about smashing bevs and knocking out dickheads. With the set that’s bashfully rounded off with the front man doing the worm and shaving a willing participate hair into an ever fashionable bowl cut, it’s a welcome and infectious set of totally un-PC punk madness.
March saw the savage Bristol outfit Back Down (9) host their own EP release show for their punishing EP Sinner, and since then the band have been firing on all cylinders, with tonight being no exception. Seething, ferocious and fucking untameable, the group whip up a maelstrom of violence with tracks off the aforementioned EP and their 2016 self titled release. With limbs and extremities flying across the room at speeds approaching Mach 10, it’s an unrelenting demonstration of just how punishing, callous and calculated this genre can be when applied to a sense of aptitude and focus. A near perfect tour-de-force bristling with blistering aggression that never deters into similar sonic territories or genres commonly associated with sonic punishment and violence. If you get the chance to see this act, do it; you may heave missing a tooth or two but in substitute would a sense of awe.
Despite being a band that was formed parading clichés and tropes within a certain Grand Theft Auto game, Grove Street Families (8) have been cusping on the verge of notoriety following a string of esteemed shows which have included a performance at Download Festival. Despite this, the group have clearly remained grounded and loyal to the DIY ethos of hardcore and embody one of the most fundamental principles of this genre; to have as much of a good time as possible. Donning the mask of the local University mascot, the group bashfully charge though a set composed of material from last years Vol. 1.0 and the Las Venturas EP, which ultimately compliments the hedonistic atmosphere of tonight’s headliner Bar Fight. Whilst there’s still the expected energy and aggression of the hardcore genre present, there’s an viable sense of obnoxious amiability and contagious engagement that makes the band more appealing to those afraid of the violence presented by acts such as Back Down. There’s a transparent reason why this act are gaining infamy across the continent.
Since their inception, Bar Fight (9) have cemented a blossoming hardcore scene within the scenic Cotswold region, much to the delight to locals who have been relying on touring acts to get their fix of drunken aggression. Whilst the majority of EP release parties ultimately prove to be nothing more than standard shows with the premise of new material, both the moniker of the party aspect and the band’s namesake come into fruition, with the majority present leaping for the mic to drunkenly bellow out tracks revolving around this very situation. Whilst this is undoubtedly chaotic hedonistic orientated hardcore in it’s purest form, tracks from Class War EP display a slightly more conscious knowledge on the troubling issues in society, and in turn, attacks them a fashion that resonates the authentic Bar Fight experience. This gives tracks from this release a vibrant sense of anger and resentment that complement their growth as musicians, but never see’s them remove their adolescent foundations in which they fully embody live, which are amplified to their maximum potential live tonight. Minor technical hitches aside, It’s a highly commendable sight to see this act play host to an array of extraordinary young talent and it’s undeniable that this act will be on people’s tongues up and down the country in time to come, both due to the excellence of Class War and because of their raucous live performances.