There’s something endearing about bands that thrive on chaos. The sense of comradery that surges through the room and pulses through the veins of both band and crowd alike. When the energy of the band demolishing the stage is shared by the ravenous crowd, you get an atmosphere that Feed the Rhino manages to create.
However it’s up to some bands to create the chaos themselves for lack of support from the crowd, as first support Bad Sign managed to accomplish. With a crowd as unreceptive as most are to a band playing 15 minutes after doors opened, the three-piece can be confident that they did enough to convince those wavering in the crowd to check them out in the future. With reckless abandon to the stage, the band stomped their way through their destructive set, leaping into the crowd where applicable. With the high-pitched vocals of lead singer Joe Appleford contrasting the doomish sound being him and dark riffs elegantly intertwining with unpredictable drums, Bad Sign’s distinctive take on hectic and heavy post-hardcore is a must hear.
Entering the foray after Bad Sign’s devastating set were Counting Days, a band whose popularity is steadily creeping higher, exhibited by the circle of fans who continually crowded by the stage as their set went on. With a hardcore sound that is somewhat reminiscent to earlier Cancer Bats material (Albeit a more thrashy Cancer Bats), the band bombarded the crowd with a wall of noise, with brutal guitars combined with energetic vocals creating a crowd-pleasing sets. With each breakdown applauded by a nod of heads from the crowd, the band seemed a pleasing amalgamation of all things hardcore. With plenty of crowd members grabbing the mic to aid Thomas Debaere when necessary with his breathless vocals and hair whipping victoriously from each guitarist, it was evident that the band’s set won the crowd.
With each support band being at a different end of the spectrum for hardcore music, with Counting Days being hardcore through and through whilst Bad Sign implemented post-rock guitars and experimentation, the middle ground for the two were headliners Feed the Rhino whose excellent hardcore sound manages to gain inspiration from the genre without being overly reliant on it. With a distinctive sound that is experimental enough to make them unique, whilst sticking to the staples of the genre that continues to aid their popularity, Feed the Rhino’s measured approach is a crowd-pleaser. Returning to the stage after a relatively-brief hiatus, the band looked as if they’d never left it, diving (literally and metaphorically) straight into their set with crowd-favourite ‘The Burning Sons’, the audience had already seen enough to know that this gig warranted their energy. Thrashing from song to song, the setlist was reminiscent of a Greatest Hits collection, with most singles covered, something the crowd were well-aware of as they sung unwaveringly and slammed their bodies together when required.
As the band finished out their set with a selection of songs from most-recent release ‘The Sorrow and the Sound’, the crowd repeatedly spilled out onto the stage with the band seemingly happy to see this happen. There was a feeling of community to the evening, one often not seen for hardcore bands, an undeniable factor in how the evening was so meaningful to both fans and the band alike. The gig was one that marked a return for a band that was long missed.