Three of North American punk’s most exciting young bands teamed up for a UK wide tour, spanning Bristol, Leeds, Glasgow, Manchester and finally London, in between dates at both Primavera Sounds.
First up was Toronto’s METZ, who garnered comparisons to the likes of Melvins and Drive Like Jehu with the release of their debut self-titled album last year. The power trio threatened to destroy the eardrums of everyone present with their relentless loud-fuzz anthems such as “Wasted”, “Headache” and “Wet Blanket”, making a similar racket to their forbearers like Sonic Youth and Big Black.
New Jersey’s beer brawling Shakespearean punks Titus Andronicus followed, who are a combination of The Pogues, The Replacements and with a dash of Springsteen for afters. Opener “Fear and Loathing in Mahwah, NJ” had everyone awaiting to chant “FUCK YOU!”, before “A More Perfect Union” had everyone launching into a moshing frenzy. The sweaty atmosphere inside saw frontman Patrick Stickles remove his top to unveil a Lil Wayne t-shirt he’d purchased from Camden market. “Titus Andronicus vs. The Absurd Universe (3RD Round KO)”, from last year’s third album, Local Business, took on a hardcore flavour, reminiscent of early Replacements, whilst the self-titled loser anthem “Titus Andronicus”, saw Stickles go into the crowd, with everyone in unison chanting “Your life is over”, like it’s a badge of honour. The 14-minute epic “The Battle of Hampton Roads”, earned a brief rest bite, before the climatic and chaotic ending. The quintet ended on Neil Young’s classic “Rockin’ in the Free World”, which was dedicated to the Canadian friendly line-up, and saw members of Metz and Fucked Up join in.
Third and finally, Toronto’s hardcore punks Fucked Up closed the show. If you were expecting the audience to be knackered by that point, then opener “Let Her Rest” paid rest to those fears, as a giant pit opened up, with frontman Pink Eyes joining them, before “Queens of Hearts” had everyone singing along. The growling Pink Eyes (or Damian Abraham to his mother) gave a shout-out to Camden’s finest punk record store All Ages Records, before dedicating “I Hate Summer” to anyone who’s ever suffered from tormentors about weight issues or else. They closed with “Police” and “The Other Shoe”, the latter leading a chorus of “dying on the inside” from the crowd. They returned from the encore with “Two Snakes”, which Pink Eyes dedicated to the audience member who shouted out “I hate weed”.
A carnage and chaotic triple bill that delivered on its promise, it will be hard-pressed to find a better line up for a gig this year.