As 10pm rolls by, there is immense doubt as to whether headliners War Hungry and RZL DZL, from across the Atlantic, will even make their first UK show and turn up at The Grosvenor, a run-down pub in Stockwell, London tonight.
Starting the night off is Kent quartet Atlantic Hearts playing their brand of American Nightmare-esque hardcore, with vocalist Dan admirably powering through their set with a broken foot, giving it his all, to a pretty sparse room. While, obviously and understandably, energy is lacking in Dan’s performance, as he is painfully limping across the floor, his hearty vocals and the music behind him make up for this; a staunch effort by all.
With the room filling up, London’s Abolition take to the stage, or floor, in regards to vocalist, Nick, they provide an intense and invigorating performance with their 90’s style hardcore, generating the first of the tonight’s movement; impressing Dirty Money frontman, Graham, who later gives some strong words during his own set insisting, “Abolition do the best at what hardcore is about”; a very promising band.
As soon as the first chord strikes, Jailbait’s trudging (and repetitive) hardcore erupts into a mass mosh, attracting a whole lot of tough-guy macho bullshit from some mindless plebs in attendance – unfortunately, a common theme at London hardcore shows – nearly spanning the entire floor, which kind of takes away from the band’s performance, as people are more concerned about not being spin-kicked in the head or pummelled in the ribs.
For many people tonight, this show is just as much about Dirty Money, if not more so than War Hungry and RZL DZL, after quickly becoming a well-known name and favourite in the London hardcore scene, within the past couple of years. Playing hardcore in the vein of No Warning and belting out tunes such as Mind In Piece, a good portion of the packed-out London crowd spits all the words right back. Vocalist Graham asks if headliners War Hungry/RZL DZL are to be seen, having not arrived yet, putting a slight downer on the mood, but regardless of that, they finish with It’s Real gartering their consistently monumental response of shout-a-longs. There’s a lot of hype about this band and after this performance it’s easy to understand why; I’m sure many would have been content with paying their £8 solely for Dirty Money tonight.
Still no sign of War Hungry and co., and with word spreading that they missed their ferry and got stopped at customs, it’s not looking particularly hopeful at 10.15pm – until a tooting van whisks around the corner, suggesting tonight’s headliners have finally turned up.
Pennsylvania’s War Hungry, featuring members of Cold World, eventually get on stage at 10.45pm unleashing their unorthodox hardcore with crushingly epic and metallic guitar riffs – not to the taste of some, with one unamused punter claiming, “This is Led fucking Zeppelin, I’m leaving.” Luckily, this is not felt by the majority, as their classic heavy breakdowns prove popular and songs such as Spoken Through The Serpent from their 2007 Return To Earth EP gain a positive response; a performance well worth waiting for.
At 11.25pm, it’s now time for RZL DZL (pronounced Razzle Dazzle, for those unfamiliar) and, obviously, with a name like that, this is not a band to be taken seriously; it’s fun, it’s fast, it’s party hardcore at its best. Think old-school Beastie Boys mixed with Kids Like Us. A blitz of a set, lasting about 15-minutes in total, featuring RZL Property and High Rollers, as well as a new tune from their forthcoming 7” Music For Babies, which all go down a treat. Surprisingly, favourite Strictly Saucers is missed out, but this is made-up by ending with party (and, basically, anti-straight edge) anthem Ignorance Is Bliss, receiving the biggest sing-a-long of the night. A short and over-due performance, but thoroughly enjoyed by most of those who stuck around.
– Faye Turnbull.