Hacktivist plus ZOAX and Bad Sign
Date: 17th December 2016
Venue: Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton
There was a buzzing excitement coming from the crowd as I entered, everyone was pumping themselves up for what was sure to be a great night. Hacktivist have come far in a short time, from playing local toilet circuits to playing sell-out shows across the country off of only one album and a couple of EPs. This was going to be a special show as the end of their tour and their year of shows – everyone knew it and were preparing themselves for a fun as all hell night.
First onto the stage where Croydon born rockers, Bad Sign, a band not afraid to bring the party with them when they jump on stage, as they warmed up the crowd with jokes, banter and fun. It was impossible to not crack a smile when guitarist Jonathan Harris decided he was bored of the stage and ran around through the crowd just to clamber like a mad man over the barrier to get back on stage. Bad Sign were the perfect warm up for what was clearly going to be one of the most intimate and fun gigs this year.
The moment ZOAX walked on stage there was an immediate feeling that the crowd were in for a treat tonight, charisma radiated from frontman Adam Carrol as he made it dead clear from the get-go that he was there to have fun and wanted everyone to join in. After only one song in the set Adam decided he needed to make some changes to the crowd, so he pulled down the barrier and jumped into the mess to get some good old fashioned circle pits running around. If it’s not dead clear by now, ZOAX are a live band that revolves around the crowd, they love their fans and it’s well received; this band brought everything to the show, not just one style or even genre. With a fantastic funk break with everyone dancing along and Adam saying what a lovely evening he was having, then a sudden drop into a dirty metal beat that wasn’t even remotely questioned by the crowd. ZOAX had us in the palm of their hands as they manipulated everyone into wanting to join in with the fun.
Even when handling drunks blabbering through the quiet moments, ZOAX kept calm with lots of light-hearted banter and a constant sense of enjoyment. “Santa Claus is coming, be happy!” shouted Adam as the crowd all cried out in disappointment at the news that this would be their last song of the set. ZOAX had just won over a crowd that wasn’t even there for their show, thanks to their pure skill as musicians and their desire to just have a fun time with people that were there for the same reason.
When Hacktivist walked on that stage the roar of the crowd was deafening, this was the moment we’d all been waiting for and Hacktivist knew it. The second ‘No Way Back‘ dropped in, the crowd made it clear that this venue was not surviving the set, as they pushed hard enough to knock over all the barriers and began to surf the crowd for stage dives like a mad gathering of apes fighting over food; this was madness incarnate, all the hype built up by the supports had finally been unleashed all over that poor little venue and Hacktivist were loving it.
When the brutal cover of Kanye’s ‘N*ggas in Paris‘ began, the crowd spread themselves into a neat circle and braced themselves, this was about to hurt. Not a single person was standing still, everyone moved in perfect bouncing unison alongside the band and not one person got left behind in the pits. The joy on the faces of every band member was clear as day – they were seeing a sold-out venue go crazy for them so they made sure that every song was played brilliantly and the crowd was with them through every beat, every hit and every word no matter what. Hacktivist made it clear throughout that we were all part of this massive family, uniting genres and styles like no other. We looked out for each other in the madness of the pits and everyone had a smile on their faces.
As the night ended, the crowd still gave it all with circle pits, singalongs and crowd surfing for Hacktivist until the very last moments of the show. It was a night to remember for everyone there; a huge scale party to see the year out in true chaotic style. Hacktivist are on their way to being one of the biggest UK bands of the last few years and a great year for them has ended here with a huge sell-out show for all those fans and newcomers to enjoy.