Secondsmile, Itch, Meet Me In St Louis, Days Ago

Liam McGrady 29/05/2006

Nearly at the end of May, this is indeed a pre-summer party. We might have had a snippet of sunshine here and there, but it's still anything but summer. Maybe a few hardcore bands can cumulate enough noise to shift the axis of the earth enough to bring us some warmer weather eh? If it were possible and not just some ridiculous idea I've come up with to bulk up the start of this review, then I'd guess some of these bands would be perfect for the job. Ok I'll get on with it.

Days Ago bewilder me at first. There's a hell of a racket going on, with discordant guitars crashing against a rhythm section mighty enough to withstand a good beating with a very big stick; but there's also some unholy scream-y vocals coming from somewhere - the sheer full frontal force they project is as exhilarating as being chased by a rabid dog and managing to get away. It's slightly off putting and disorientating until I realise that Days Ago's lead singer is actually down in the crowd at the front of the tiny venue. And from here on in getting involved with the crowd is the norm.

Meet Me In St Louis are electrifying on stage. As with Days Ago, the lead singer flings himself around recklessly in space in front of the stage while the rest of the band create a sound closely resembling ATD-I at their most poppy (if you could ever describe ATD-I as “poppy”) at times, but at others breaking into a gloriously violent hardcore barrage. While not exactly the most original of bands (in fact none of the bill tonight are), Meet Me In St Louis get around the fact they're copying an old blueprint by playing as if the rabid dog had forgot about me and homed in on them.

Where the previous two bands were all about noise and aggression, Itch are all about melody - not that there's not some underlying menace there still. I shit you not; one song begins with an almost Bluetones-esque jangly riff, but from there does descend into heavier territory. The mix of head nodding tunes and a glaze of filthy distorted sounds, alongside the vocalist's intense screamed lyrics places Itch somewhere between The Pixies and any number of hardcore bands, which is not a bad position to be in.

Finally; what we've all been waiting for. Every drum crack is a second closer to deafness, every time the twin guitars meet harmoniously, arpeggios intertwining, only to break into earth shattering noise I want to shout “fucking yes!!!” at the top of my voice; and every time a song finishes I want to leave to make sure I catch the last tube home but can't because the music has me literally glued to the spot (although that could also be some sickly sweet spilled cider amalgamated with old chewing gum). Secondsmile are absolutely awesome; and that's really all that needs to be said.