Live Review: Lower Than Atlantis – The Plug, Sheffield, September 24th 2010

Clashing with Hell On Earth’s big boys Terror and Every Time I Die just down the road is possibly the worst mistake a booking agent could of possibly made, but none the less, TRC and Lower Than Atlantis’ joint venture, the This Is England tour, makes a stop in Sheffield. Given the circumstances, the attendance is noticeably low – let’s see how it affects the bands tonight.

Not much can really be said for openers Art’s Got A Gun and Grazes, so it’s worth bunching them together. Both play heavy, fast metal/hardcore, the latter’s vocals get irritating very quickly – if you don’t like Frank Carter’s cockney twinge, or Dan P Carter’s rasp, this has the best of both worlds – thankfully, they last only 17 minutes. There’s a bit of riffage for both bands, and their songs are structured pretty well though – it’s a shame nobody gives a fuck. No movement from the twenty or so people standing about uninterested, so the bands are basically going through the motions. Bring on the main event.

“We don’t do the whole haircuts and skinny jeans thing, we play straight-up hardcore” comes the selling statement from ironically bald co-vocalist Chris Robson. In fact, that description is pretty much spot on. On record, TRC have been perceived by some as a bit of a joke, with words like “chavcore” thrown in their direction. In a live setting, they’re just as loud, brash and brutish as any other hardcore band doing the rounds at the moment – the trick is, they probably do it better. Robson teams up with his partner Anthony Carol, and between them spout an urban icing on top of a heavy beatdown cake, launching into Define Cocky and trying to gauge a reaction from anyone willing enough. There are throw downs after some real persuading, mostly coming from the band’s awesome-sounding new single Get Hard Or Go Home, and it really poses the question, if haters saw TRC for themselves, would they still have the same opinion? Judging by this performance, it’s not likely – it’s big, it’s bold, and it’s shaping UK hardcore. Get on it.

Lower Than Atlantis come from a far different side of the spectrum. Their latest offering Far Q is a far more grungey affair than EP Bretton, and tye-dyed frontman Mike Duce encourages people to make their way down to the front – it’s more of a singalong than their predecessors, and the band seem to want to get that across. Their title track opener sounds very different in a live setting, it’s distinctly deeper but it still sounds fast, loud and bursting with energy. With each headliner only having half an hour to sell themselves, the quartet needn’t try – people here know who they are, and they’re paying attention. The delightfully witty Taping Songs Off The Radio gets an outing, as well as a rendition of Smashing Pumpkins classic Bullet With Butterfly Wings, and people start to get some heartbeat going – Duce encouraging the crowd to start a circle pit around the tiny floor. Closer I’m Not Bulemic… sparks some mass singalong (or at least as “mass” as you can get considering the turnout) and people are invited onto the stage for a mini invasion of the microphones (myself included, ironically). A good end to a great night, and it’s such a pity that a bit of a booking error let the attendance down massively – at least everyone who caught two of the UK’s most promising underground acts, enjoyed themselves.

George Cannings.

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