Max Colson: Tales

Photojournalism MA student at the LCC

Posts Tagged ‘lbu

A London hardcore gig

with 9 comments

Rucktion Records UKHC Damage Control Max Colson Hardcore dancing pit

The pit opens up for another 'beatdown'

I used to be into UK hardcore in a big way. Back in the day I was going to all of the gigs of the hardcore bands I loved: Knuckledust, Ninebar, Stampin Ground, 50 Caliber to name but a few. So I recently went back to the London hardcore scene and photographed a gig to try and catch up with what I’d been missing out on (cheers to Rucktion Records for sorting me out with everything & cheers to my coursemate Tracey Fahy for allowing me to borrow her flash for this. Much appreciated both!)

This music is pretty raw stuff, crushingly brutal, and an absolutely amazing thing to experience live. It’s also never just about the band on the stage. I guess it’s almost a cliche to say that nowadays, but with hardcore it’s true like no other. A London hardcore gig in its intimacy (they usually take place in smaller venues in London) and the tightness of the crowd (a lot of whom have grown to know each other over time) always feels more like a community event than anything else. Appropriately at a live show the crowd aren’t just encouraged to sing the lyrics, they are given innumerable opportunities to get on the mic and do it themselves. Everyone knows the lyrics and there are a lot of people who also want to show it.

Knuckledust UKHC gig LBU Rucktion Records Damage Control Max Colson

Knuckledust's vocalist Pierre (far right with chain) invites some guest vocalists join in live

I will do a longer post which will sketch out the hardcore scene and its history in a bit more detail, but for the time being I would like to quote an excerpt from the hardcore punk scene’s wikipedia entry as it’s really relevant. This excerpt concerns the dress and style of hardcore punk and is important because it partly explains why you don’t see any goth influences in the dress or the music of the hardcore scene (as you do with most other forms of rock and metal):

“While most early punk rock songs were played with mid-tempo rock beats using simple guitar barre chords in major keys, hardcore broke from this format. Like punk, many of the players lacked musical training (with a few exceptions). The DIY aesthetic of shows being held in small venues on the floors of basements, halls, schools, etc., played into the sound. Much of the style evolved to add to the energy of the live show…

This distillation of punk was further emphasized through dress. Hardcore punk fans adopted a dressed-down style of T-shirts, jeans, and crewcut-style haircuts. The style of the 1980s hardcore scene contrasted with the more provocative fashion styles of late 1970s punk rockers (elaborate hairdos, torn clothes, patches, safety pins, studs, spikes, etc.). Keith Morris comments that ‘the…punk scene was basically based on English fashion. But [the US hardcore scene] had nothing to do with that. Black Flag and the Circle Jerks were so far from that. We looked like the kid who worked at the gas station or submarine shop.’

Prowler Rucktion Records UKHC Damage Control Max Colson TRC

London based band Prowler with a guest vocalist from fellow London band TRC

Rucktion Records Prowler TRC Damage Control Max Colson

Prowler's set explodes into action

Rucktion Records Surge of Fury Hardcore LGHC London Damage Control Max Colson

Belgian hardcore band Surge of Fury perform to the London crowd

Ruction Records UKHC LBU Ninebar Damage Control Max Colson

London hardcore legends Ninebar drop an anthem

Rucktion Records Ninebar UKHC LBU Damage Control Max Colson Photography

Taking a breather

Rucktion Records UKHC Knuckledust Damage Control Max Colson Photography

Knuckledust's Pierre shares the mic (again!)