The Underworld, the infamous venue in Camden have just had their toilets refurbished,
the stickers of cult bands have all gone, oh I do hope this isn’t going to be gentrified? Anyway, on another note, tonight’s the scene of a thirty-year anniversary belonging to hardcore legends, Sick of it All.
Many years ago I witnessed these guys at Camden’s electric ballroom. It became the end of my moshing days, during the circle I was knocked to the ground, which at that time had never happened before and that was the end of that for my moshing days. To an outsider a mosh-pit may look like a gladiator scene, the difference is, if you fall you’re helped back up, hugged and then carry on.
Sadly, due to difficulties on the Northern Line with engineering works which I didn’t foresee, I missed Dead Man’s Chest, who’re about to release an album, and London’s very own hardcore crew – Knuckledust. I’ve been wanting to see these guys for some time and tonight it didn’t happen.
It’s 8:45 pm and Camden Underworld is packed for these legends of New York which is their last gig of this UK tour.
The lights go out, it’s dark, then… on comes a theme tune, a theme tune to… is that Grandstand? I’ve never seen so many beer swilling, tattoo loving, hardcore following ladies and gentlemen sing this historic sound, but no, Des Lynam isn’t about to come on stage, but the guys celebrating 30 years as a band, as a crew, as a family enter this rampageous applause.
Venues like The Underworld need to be kept open for sell out gigs like this, for moments like this, because that is what stays with me/us for the rest of this life.
Lou Koller screams “Let’s all have some fun” and boom, they go into “Take the Night Off”..
The heat rises as the pit goes wild, and many push their way to the front…
Hold on…hold on it gets serous as Koller belts out
“In the underground, integrity lies within
in the underground, image doesn’t mean a thing
when the substance lacks it’s plain for all to see
if the deal is right then respect is where it should be.”
It’s “Step Down”, I see and feel the speed these people in the pit move around this demented circle. I want part of it, I do, but errrm a knee injury and double hernia has put that dream or nightmare to the back of this Narnia closet. The crowd climbs the stage to dive head first off. Some scream into the mic as Koller greets us all with, “Die Alone”, “Us vs them”, “DNC”, “World Full of Hate” and a wrecking ball choice of “Scratch the Surface”
Don’t waste my time…..
It’s ferocious and you certainly need to know what you’re doing if you enter that circle, when Mr Koller splits the pit in two, it’s time to be ready. The energy of the band after thirty years is relentless, there’s no fatigue here, none, nada. They play for an hour and would have played for longer, so, damn your curfew, damn you.
The connection between these guys, the music and their fans is close, it’s a New York and London love. Their gratitude shines every time Koller speaks on the mic to their people, their fans, who’ve always been there, where ever they play, from their first gig in 1992 in London where they had been screwed over by the promoter. Playing venues like the Underworld and appearing at Reading and Leeds festival, I don’t think the organisers and eventgoers knew what hit them, but their hardcore fans were there.
They end tonight with “Built To last”, which is a sure fire sign that these four guys are definitely here to last, The end of the UK tour and another powerhouse live gig of pure unadulterated Punk music.
I want to thank Lou Koller on vocals, Pete Koller lead guitar, Craig Setari on bass and the man who kept this show moving to the right beat is Armand Majidi. These are Sick of It All and they play Hardcore music.