Tonight saw 150 lucky punters squeeze into the sold out and sauna-like Fighting Cocks – literally, the size of my living room – in Kingston upon Thames, to catch New York hardcore legends H2O.
Brighton five-piece From Plan To Progress started the night off with their good old, fast-paced and no-strings-attached punk rock. Despite vocals needing to be a bit louder, frontman Phil confidently commanded the floor – as his bandmates were constricted to the miniscule stage behind him – throughout their punk rock blitz of a set, packed with a whole lot of punch and high fives for all, providing a fun and enthusiastic performance.
As vocalist Will Gould spat down the mic, “WE ARE THE KIDS!” from old favourite Revelations, it was time for the Southampton melodic hardcore mob of Our Time Down Here to showcase their stuff. Playing an array of old and new, with the likes of A Road Less Travelled from their 2007 self-titled EP keeping long-time fans happy and singing along with fists-in-the-air, as well as a plethora of fresh tracks from their forthcoming full-length, all of which sounded top. Despite the unbearable heat of the Cocks, the energy from the band was still there, as they relentlessly unleashed their powerfully upbeat hardcore no-holds-barred, ending with the superb Four and Ghost. There is no doubt about it, Our Time Down Here are one of the UK’s most promising and exciting bands.
Finally, it was time for the band I had travelled 309-miles (according to Google Maps) to see, H2O, as all five members crammed on stage, with the new addition of None More Black’s Colin McGinniss, taking over Todd Morse’s guitar duties, who is currently on tour with The Offspring, and fit right at home.
They kicked off their high-energy set with the explosive 1995 gathering sing-a-longs and mic grabs aplenty. It was still a set full of voice-losing classics, including the globetrotting anthem Faster Than the World, as well as other old favourites such as Guilty By Association, One Chance, One Life and 5 Year Plan. Newer tunes, including Still Here and What Happened received just as much of a reaction, if not more so. Due to a mistake first time round, the fist-pumping, Nothing To Prove ended up being played twice, much to the crowd’s delight, resulting in the best response of the night.
Half-way through, after Marginal Man cover Friend, vocalist Toby Morse pointed out it was clear that the heat had gotten to people, demanding more participation, as this wasn’t stopping the 40-year-old men on stage from delivering their, as always, youthfully energetic set, as they continued to bust out an assortment of material from their impressive 14-year-long back catalogue.
Despite the temperature, this was truly something special, seeing these hardcore greats in such an intimate setting with such a positive atmosphere, was nothing short of an honour and well worth the trek down. Although, they may claim they have nothing to prove, tonight, they firmly established that they still have it, not that there was any doubt in my mind, to begin with – here’s to many more stiflingly sweaty H2O shows.
Keep checking back as we will be posting our interview with H2O very soon!