PHOTO CREDIT: James Weaver
WORDS: James Weaver
Orange County’s STICK TO YOUR GUNS‘ blend of melodic hardcore has taken the hardcore community by storm since exploding onto the scene in 2003. 13 years later and on the back of the excellent Disobedient, the band are prepared to perform to a near sell-out show in a very cold Manchester. Will STICK TO YOUR GUNS manage to replicate their intense studio sound on the live stage?
Germany’s WOLF DOWN opened the proceedings and through their raw hardcore sound set the proceedings of the evening from the first dirty riff. Politically charged, pissed off and oozing in aggression, WOLF DOWN were relentless in inciting chaos across the room with venomous vocals and strong backing riffs. With short speeches focused to animal rights, capitalism and so forth, the straight edge and politically fuelled music of WOLF DOWN may not sit well however the band backed their talk with enough punch with a truly crushing performance.
COUNTERPARTS’ style of melodic hardcore has been causing quite a stir on UK shores for several years now. With a set list that only covered seven tracks, the band had to make an instant impression in order to win the approval from the swelling audience. Opener Stillborn set the tone for their performance in fine fashion with consistent drumming, riffs packing a mighty punch whilst flirting with melody. With emotion being driven through a combination of melodic guitar work and Brendan Murphy‘s hard hitting yet emotional bellows into the microphone, COUNTERPARTS set the tone of a finely balanced performance of sorrow and aggression. The band may still be flying under the radar of hardcore but after a performance like that, they have the potential and energy to take the scene by storm.
On the back of album number seven, STRAY FROM THE PATH had more than enough material in their locker to unleash a set list spanning their entire career. It was perhaps surprising to some that the majority of the band’s performance covered tracks from their latest album, Subliminal Criminals. A bold move. Riffs from guitarist Thomas Williams were slick and hard hitting, Craig Reynolds consistent beats kept the crowd moving and Andrew Dijorio’s rolled vocals off his tongue effortlessly. It’s clear from the band’s style, containing enough characteristics of hardcore and rap metal that they were made for the live stage. Consistently interacting with the enthusiastic crowd, STRAY FROM THE PATH offered something fresh and left a lasting impression to many in attendance.
STICK TO YOUR GUNS have been making quite the stir in the hardcore scene in recent years. Diamond and last year’s Disobedient has propelled the band to a unique position as one of the leading bands of the scene and judging from their performance, this reputation is likely to be upheld. Opening with the short yet frantically energetic It Starts With Me before roaring into Against Them All set the tone in fine fashion; chaotic yet passionate mayhem. Covering all the bases of their strongest tracks in their back catalogue, each track was met with thunderous appreciation from the crowd. From the enormous chorus of We Still Believe to the thunderous charge of What Choice Did You Give Us?, STICK TO YOUR GUNS hammered home their tracks replicating their studio sound effortlessly whilst still bringing another level of aggression to the live stage.
Josh James and Chris Rawson‘s guitar playing resembled a tightly oiled machine, Andrew Rose and George Schmitz kept the rhythm flowing at an adrenaline oozing high and frontman Jesse Barnett hammered home his vocals incredibly well. With a trio of the band’s most popular tracks (Nobody, Diamond, Amber) concluding the performance, STICK TO YOUR GUNS relentlessly decimated Sound Control into oblivion, further reinforcing why this band are leading the charge for modern hardcore.