Down To Nothing plus Break Away, Full Strength and Firm Standing Law
Venue: The Camden Underworld, London
Date: 21st October 2016
Virgina Hardcore outfit Down To Nothing hasn’t been to the UK in quite a long time before this tour. In fact, it has taken the quintet nearly four years to make it back to our little island. In that time the Down To Nothing released their ‘Life On The James’ album and members have been busy in their other established bands, such as Terror and Fire & Ice. This was a big occasion as it marked ten years to the date that Down To Nothing had first played The Underworld, that first time was at Ninjafest 2006
Kicking off the night was new hardcore act on the UKHC scene, Firm Standing Law, featuring members of former Southern Rise and Carry The Weight acts such as Ego Trip, xRepentencex and Cold World. From what I heard on the night, this was the band’s first live show, and they were treated to a fairly decent sized crowd early on.
The four piece unleashed a lot of crunchy riffs with an old school simplistic vibe. The tone was aggressive and designed to cause chaos, the high-tempo beats and fast lyricism was enough to create some energy at the front. A couple of rowdy crowd members were happy to two-step and get their blood flowing, but most people were happy to stand back and check out the new band on the block.
Next up was Sheffield straight edge band Full Strength, providing more grooves and a fun atmosphere to the mix. With riffs and vocals reminiscent of the likes of former UK straight edge bands Survival and Hardout, Full Strength had a few more two-steppers and fans moshing around. Throughout the set, comments about a pro-straight edge lifestyle flowed between songs, which was another reminder of the acts I previously mentioned. The highlight of the set came towards the end with a cover song that sparked a room full of enthusiasm. Most of the floor started moshing, dancing, ran to the stage to grab the mic and sang along, it was chaos out of nowhere.
The high energy from Full Strength flowed right into Break Away‘s set. The fellow tour mates and Richmond act to Down To Nothing pulled in a bigger, rowdier crowd. Fans were ready for more moshing and stage dives as Break Away unleashed hard hitting youth crew hardcore vibes, meaning a lot of positivity and fun with a barrel of aggression. One thing that became consistent was the level of crowd reaction, each set became a lot more intense, pits got bigger, shout outs were louder and the atmosphere was getting a lot more enjoyable – it was certainly entertaining to watch people lose their shit.
With that in mind, it was little surprise that Down To Nothing had the biggest, and wildest reactions of the night. Though the insane atmosphere took a few songs to kick in, as the front of the stage had a huge space open for any crazy antics. Because it was the band’s first UK tour since the release of ‘Life On The James’, Down To Nothing performed the title track and ‘Sheffield’ from that album early into the set, in which fans were happy to go mental to the punk-infused hardcore- Plenty of “Hey” chants, first pumps and stage dives grabbed your attention as the energy was at its peak.
The carnage was close to being on the level of when I saw Terror or Stick To Your Guns at the same venue, you could once again make compilation videos from all the visually impressive stage dives and the ones that went completely wrong. Fan favourites such as ‘Pipeline’ and ‘Home Sweet Home’ pushed fans over the edge, but it was final track ‘Smash It’ that really stood out (a snippet can be seen in the footage above). Fans flooded the stage to jump off, others jumped off the balcony. All around people were flying around, coming close to hitting lights and accidently clipping speaker stacks. One fan even leap-frogged frontman David Wood.
“Hardcore still lives” stated Wood as he closes the set, and he wasn’t wrong. Once again non-hardcore fans would just look at the behaviour as barbaric and animalistic, but this was just pure fun. I had missed watching the carnage that happens at these kinds of shows. Nothing else compares to the same kind of energy and atmosphere you get at these events. It was a great night for discovering new bands, Firm Standing Law are a band to keep an eye on, Full Strength and Break Away were new to me, but both were highly impressive. Down To Nothing were worth a four-year wait – hopefully they won’t take so long to come back next time.
For more of the bands that played