Trapped Under Ice with Broken Teeth, Higher Power, Chamber and Big Cheese
Date: 22nd October 2017
Venue: Camden Underworld, London
2013 was the last time Baltimore hardcore act, Trapped Under Ice, had toured the United Kingdom, since then we have seen the band go on hiatus so that members can focus on other projects and only return to the country once for a one-off performance at Outbreak Festival. With that in mind, when it was announced that Trapped Under Ice had added a singular UK date for their European tour this October, it was inevitable that it would sell out, especially at the iconic Camden Underworld. Support for the night was originally meant to be King Nine with popular hardcore outfit Higher Power, Chamber, Big Cheese and Firm Standing Law; though days before the event, it was announced that Manchester favourites Broken Teeth had replaced King Nine.
I thought that Firm Standing Law was meant to open the night, though for some reason they didn’t play at all, and I was rather surprised when hardcore quintet, Big Cheese, took to the stage first instead. Straight away the floor of the Underworld was impressively full and the energy was high; grooving riffs erupted from the stage and the crowd was happy to two-step and mosh along. Fans also showed their love by singing along to the shouted vocals, running towards the stage to grab the mic on multiple occasions. It was great to see the opening act get such a good response and it was the best start to the evening we could have hoped for. (6.5)
West Midlands quintet, Chamber, followed up with something that was a lot more violent in approach and atmosphere. Everything was heavier, the riffs were deeper and the vocals were far more brutal. They were more like huge monstrous roars than raw shouts. This ignited more chaotic pits; the arm flails and spin kicks looked a lot more vicious, while the music created a strong sense of impending doom. The floor was packed out even more as people kept flowing through the door, and this just led to increasing pit action as the set went on. (7)
Leeds outfit, Higher Power, has become one of the most popular UK hardcore bands in the last year or so, and that popularity increased the buzz in the venue that was already pretty elevated. We saw our first stage dives of the evening as the hard-hitting riffage continued. The set was balanced out by atmospherically melodic elements and clean singing segments that just invited fans to join in. That just made the heavier parts stand out and the front of the stage was as much a frenzy as it had been all evening. The enthusiasm on the stage was refreshing from the frontman, who had a smile on his face after every song and bounced around the stage relentlessly. At this point, the venue was starting to feel incredibly full, yet more and more people made their way in, eager to get to the front. (7.5)
Broken Teeth being added to the bill was a phenomenal move as they are arguably the best British hardcore band going right now and it was shown from the reaction they received. Any pit action that we saw prior to this set was child’s play compared to what we saw here. Kicking off with ‘On The Edge’, the stage diving exacerbated, with more and more people flying into the crowd. At one point a crowd member impressively jumped over frontman Dale Graham‘s head. Some were impressive flips, others were outright failures as I’m pretty sure some people just hit concrete. Broken Teeth unleashed newer hits, including ‘Nothing Like You’ and ‘Witness of Destruction’ from ‘At Peace Amongst Chaos’. Though it was older favourites such as ‘The Seeker’ and ‘Soul Destroyer’ that had the best reaction from the crowd, encouraging the wildest of behaviour. This was certainly one of the most anarchic sets I’ve seen from the Manchester lads. (9)
By the time Trapped Under Ice hit the stage, there was a feeling of being like a sardine in the crowd, the show was sold out and you could tell. People were crammed down on the floor and on the stairs, up on the balcony individuals were doing their best to get a good view of the stage. Regardless of this, as soon as the Baltimore act launched into ‘Pleased To Meet You’, a good portion of the crowd swarmed to the front grab the mic off Justice Tripp and shout along in a relentless manner; the words “You shake my hand, say pleased to meet you, look me in the eye, I don’t believe you” rang around the venue. From that moment on it was just like when Broken Teeth were playing; there were waves of stage dives and flips into the crowd as TUI unleashed hits from their new album ‘Heatwave’, with the likes of ‘Do It’ and ‘Oblivion’ gaining a good response from the crowd.
Much like the previous set, it was older material that got the best reaction from fans; especially tracks from ‘Big Kiss Goodnight’. ‘Reality Unfolds’ was ferocious, the sheer bodies climbing on each other was insane, while the sing-alongs for ‘Born To Die’ was deafening. The energy didn’t die, not in the slightest; pits got harder, more people flew off the stage, fans ran around the legendary Underworld pole. It was incredibly entertaining to watch the crowd lose their shit, as much as it was to see TUI keep pulling out classics like ‘Believe’. I’ve seen some crazy hardcore shows at The Underworld in recent years from the likes of Terror and Stick To Your Guns, and I don’t think I’ve seen as much carnage as this Trapped Under Ice performance. (10)
Overall it was a great evening of iconic and emerging hardcore bands. Considering the demand for tickets to this show was so high, I’m amazed it wasn’t at a higher capacity venue. I am glad it wasn’t though as a lot of the positive energy and intimacy.
If you want to relive the night, check out this coverage of Trapped Under Ice’s set by Pitcam Sean.
For more of each band