Review: Future of the Left and Support (The Box, 6-Jun-2009)

As is becoming a regular occurrence, the Box’s idea of “doors open at 8” varied slightly from mine and by the time they opened at around 8:20 I was a little cold and impatient; either they need to get a bit more organised or stop claiming to open at a time that seems to cause them some problems.  Still, on the upside at least it wasn’t raining this time!

Due to the late start Katatoy were a little delayed coming on stage, but as expected they were worth the wait.  Their sound is hard to pin down, offering hints of all sorts of influences but never keeping still long enough to allow itself to be pigeon-holed; wherever they find their inspirations though, the end result is fast, furious, loud, and raucous, with hints of psychadelia and (unlike many bands these days) a touch of humour.  I’m hoping to have a talk with them some time in the near future, but in the brief conversations I grabbed with them through the evening it seems they’re planning some studio time in the next couple of months so I’m looking forward to hearing the results.

Following them was Lost Response, a collision between melodic punk and hard-punching indie.  They seemed a little nervous to start with but they’d brought with them a small gaggle of supporters who put them at their ease, and once they got into their stride they produced a pretty good performance; give them a couple more gigs to find their groove and they’ll definitely be worth watching, and they certainly didn’t disgrace themselves in amongst the more experienced acts on show.

Next to take the stage were Helsinki Seven who showed you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover: the lead singer looked like the mutant offspring of DLT, Chris Evans, and Ray Mears and I wouldn’t have been surprised if they’d turned out to be a folk act, so when they proceeded to bellow forth an almost tangible wall of noise I must confess to having been taken completely by surprise.  Louder than an explosion at a gasworks, they put the hard firmly into hardcore and didn’t let up for a second — from start to finish this was a powerful performance, and everyone I spoke to at the interval seemed to have been surprised and impressed in equal measure.

If Helsinki Seven sounded like a gasworks going boom then Future of the Left were more like a small thermonuclear device detonating directly in your ears; having somehow managed to have missed McKlusky before they imploded I was ill-prepared for the anger, vehemence, and sheer volume I was about to experience, and once the deceptively quiet opening chords had been pushed aside there was no place to hide — when the guitar/bass/drums combo ditched the guitar in favour of the most apocalyptic keyboard sound I’ve ever heard I think a couple of my teeth rattled loose, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the band had formed as the result of military experiments in noise warfare.  They’re not just about the noise, though, and behind the bombastic sound lies some masterful songwriting, and between the music, the anger, the noise, and their sheer presence this is hardcore at its finest.

All in all one of the best nights at the Box I’ve experienced in a while — great lineup, good crowd, and fun times!  I just hope my ears have stopped ringing by next weekend…


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