GIG REVIEW: EMP Persistence Tour Live at O2 Forum, London
The eagerly awaited EMP Persistence Tour 2017 finally hit London town on the 29th January, the final show of this tour after starting in Germany with Suicidal Tendencies headlining. Hundreds flocked to the O2 Forum to enjoy an evening full of some of our favourite hardcore, punk metal bands. These bands surely will not fail to disappoint a hard crowd like the British crowd.
First time in the UK, San Diego based hardcore crew Mizery kicked off the mayhem with songs from their debut album “Absolute Light” featuring a crossover of thrash riffs and hardcore anger. Always difficult being the opener, this band performed their set of absolute hardcore thrash to a decent size crowd warming up those neck muscles. Fans of Suicidal Tendencies and Municipal Waste seemed to really enjoy this band’s music and energy.
BURN from New York began by playing tracks as far back as 1989. Vocalist Chaka Malik told the audience to come closer to the barrier, but they were less than enthusiastic and seemed to find it difficult to get into their progressive hardcore sound. This didn’t stop guitarist Gavin Van Vlack from throwing his energy into tasteful solos and swinging his guitar around his body with force almost causing him to trip and fall! Nevertheless, this still didn’t excite the crowd.
So when hardcore punk band Down To Nothing made their entrance the pit opened up immediately. It was so brutal it caused some people to move aside. David Wood on vocals added more fuel to the crowd by jumping in the front row sharing his microphone with excited fans during “No Leash,” which produced a surge of crowd surfers. Jared Carmen on bass and Alan Long on guitar provided good backing vocals throughout and drummer Daniel Spector hit those drums without restraint. This Virginia based band certainly made an impact and I thoroughly enjoyed their energy.
The only female fronted band of the night Walls of Jericho stormed on to stage hitting you in the face at full impact with a metal core injection. Flame haired vocalist Candace Kucsulain broke into “Playing Soldier Again” triggering a beer shower over pit security. Drummer Dustin Schoenhofer was on a bash-athon with his impressive kit, there to break that gear notably in “Relentless” and “Fight the Good Fight.” Playing to a jam-packed venue from corner to corner Kucsulain thanked the London crowd and gestured with her arms to get the circle pit moving. Even fans on the top tier found themselves standing and punching the air during “The American Dream.” Rounding off their set with “Revival Never Goes Out of Style” causing the crowd to go wild when Kucsulain jumped to the crowd all singing together, ending their set on a high.
After the energy unleashed during Walls of Jericho crowd enthusiasm was identical and returning from a hiatus, party thrash band Municipal Waste entered the stage to the crowd affectionately chanting “F*** you up Municipal Waste.” They were definitely revived as seen in their performance of “You’re Cut Off” which triggered a frenzy of items flying in the air, arms and legs. This band radiated energy that was second to none. Fans were treated to “Beer Pressure” accelerating a surge of crowd surfers and the pit was like one big party with guitarist Ryan Waste provided some heavy metal riffing and vocalist Tony Foresta belted out the aggression, calling the crowd ‘sensual.’ Back with a punch there’s plenty more to see of these guys and they will be back in the UK for Bloodstock festival for another dose.
Agnostic Front packed a punch with their enthusiasm and the crowd displayed more energy when they started with “the Eliminator” with a great solo by guitarist Vinnie Stigma. The godfathers of hardcore still have it, however vocalist Roger Miret was feverish and his voice wasn’t on point. But credit where due for putting on a show and stirring things up by inviting a member of the audience for “Police State” to take up vocal duties giving Miret the chance to rest his vocal chords.
If you didn’t get enough of BURN earlier, Chaka Malik made a guest appearance on “Gotta Go.” I was not impressed to this on-stage collaboration probably because he lacked charisma in his own set. Rounding off their set with the Ramones cover “Blitzkrieg Bop” flared things up further sending the crowd into a party frenzy.
Finally the time came for headliner’s Suicidal Tendencies who entered the stage to chants of “ST, ST.” With fists pumping in the air “You Can’t Bring Me Down” caused cups and drinks to be thrown in the air even plastic bottles from the upper tier landed in the mosh pit. The crowd was certainly there to release some aggression and have a fantastic time. I was fascinated to see the size of the circles pit being as big as the venue itself and definitely not for the fainthearted.
Vocalist Mike Muir took several minutes introducing songs talking about past problems and generally trying to portray a positive attitude towards life, however his rambling was prolonged always halting crowd interaction, some losing interest and headed to the bar. By the time they finally played some song fans were treated “Institionalized” and “Freedumb” where Jeff Pogan showcased his exquisite shredding style and Dean Pleasant with his crazy metal riffs. Including bass player Ra Diaz, they all put on an adrenaline fuelled show bouncing around on stage. Dave Lombardo was introduced to the crowd to loud cheering. His aggressive heavy metal drumming was demonstrated throughout the set, especially in “Possessed to Skate.” This excited the audience and a few lucky members were invited on stage during this song having free reign of microphones with some providing backing vocals. Maybe age is catching up with Muir as at this point he faded into the background while fans invaded the stage, nevertheless still putting a show to remember.
Overall, this was a fantastic night of hardcore metal bound to infect your soul. It was an unforgettable show for many reasons. These bands certainly put on a show to remember providing musical excellence and showmanship. Try some metal injection in your life, you won’t regret it.