Tonight is a night of both firsts and lasts. As EXPIRE take their bow from the hardcore scene and KNOCKED LOOSE bring their modern brand of beatdown to our shores for the first time, that and with performances from LANDSCAPES and headliners COUNTERPARTS, there’s a genuine feel that tonight will be a special one.
KNOCKED LOOSE open up the show with no fanfare, instead dropping right into Oblivions Peak and allowing the room to erupt into an impressive display of violence. The songs sound chunky and destructive, as the tiny Underground venue allows for no loss of sound. The band lack charisma on stage but their confidence when playing and how the crowd erupts to every song they play makes this set the spectacle that it is. Dropping tracks like Billy No Mates, My Heroes and the ever popular Counting Worms means that no one is safe from the frantic and every dangerous pit. With this sort of reception as a support act, you only need to wonder what the scenes would look like should this have been a headline slot.
You have to feel somewhat bad for LANDSCAPES for having to follow on from the absolute carnage of KNOCKED LOOSE. Their moody post-hardcore sounds great but the crowd doesn’t seem interested in them at all, as front man Shaun Milton passionately delivers his lyrics to an empty space in front of the stage. If they’d have been on another tour, LANDSCAPES would’ve been an absolute pleasure, but they feel very much like the odd one out on this tour.
With this being their final tour and also their first time in Plymouth, EXPIRE are met with a warm welcome. The pit opens up with the first chord and the sheer passion that the band bring with them is palpable. Songs like Pretty Low and Just Fine almost incite a riot, with people diving off the tiny stage in the constantly moving crowd. The band remain ever humble as they address the crowd briefly, instead making sure that the set is filled to the brim with their throw-back hardcore sound. They might not have been the biggest band on the scene, but they were certainly one of the best and their absence will be felt.
COUNTERPARTS are still meant to be touring with their album Tragedy Will Find Us but judging from their setlist tonight feels far more like a showcase of COUNTERPARTS’ entire catalogue. The set is pretty evenly spread across their career, but its songs like Outlier and Stranger that offer the biggest reactions from the crowd. Featuring a very old cut from one of their first splits in the form of John Fucking Locke sets the pit into overdrive as does the closely followed Choke. By the time Burn closes the set everyone present is either deaf or bruised and all unanimously shouting for an encore. When COUNTERPARTS hit their stride they prove themselves to be one of the most passionate and emotionally driven bands on the scene, so all eyes are set to them to see what they do when they eventually get around to releasing new material.