Armed with a pen and Polaroid, Sam Archie Aston delves into Continental Europe on the trail of WE CAME OUT LIKE TIGERS.
“Too long have we been respectful. Too long have we allowed you to exist.”
Six shows into their second European tour in two years and WE CAME OUT LIKE TIGERS have sold out of their new LP Agelessness And Lack, even after having emergency re-supplies airdropped into Denmark. I manage to get myself the last copy. Hardcore kids from Hamburg to Stockholm to Utrecht have been eager to get their palms around the first long player from a band many, including me, see as the best screamo outfit in the UK. And tonight WCOLT do not disappoint. I push myself to the front, put my hood up and, like so many times before, I get lost in the hardcore; the frantic drum blasts, raging bass, blackened guitar, the screams, the spoken word, the violin, the cleansing noise. This is why we love heavy music.
“Don’t be alone, don’t dare be alone, rise together, be exalted, take comfort in a godless existence. Stay upright, stay strong.”
Tonight we are among peers, some knowing the band, others enjoying them for the first time. A few days ago they were in Stockholm, playing a show with the kind of electricity only a few hundred straight-edge hardcore kids can produce, there purely and simply to see a band they have fallen for. The front row even knew the words. These new-found fans mean WCOLT’s latest tour is at least self sufficient, keeping the band on the road and in the studio. This is a DIY tour, no booking agents, just friends helping friends, favours repaid, favours borrowed. It may seem daunting to many fledgling UK bands, struggling to even get a show in the next city down the road, being bitten by bad promoters with broken promises. Maybe our island mentality makes us think France, Holland and Germany are different worlds, impossible to navigate, treacherously foreign. But WCOLT are proof that you must cast your net further than Manchester or London, especially if your style of playing music could be described as more niche than others.
“Apathy is such an evil trait, to sacrifice others for comfort is not an accusation I could take.”
WCOLT’s tour partners are one of Athens’ best bands, Ruined Families (nine guys, one van). They have seen the ugly face of fascism rise from the flames of their own economic collapse, with dangerous groups of right-wing thugs gaining control of the streets under the banner of Golden Dawn. Ruined Families have met these fuckwits in the streets, as WCOLT have met the EDL and BNP in the streets too, on many occasions. These bands are kindred spirits, anti-fascism is in their lyrics, their music, and their spirit. Many bands and artists talk about fighting racism, sexism and homophobia in interviews and also in lyrics, but how many are actually there on the Antifa frontline like WCOLT? No Pasaran! So much UK music is bereft of political thought or influence, as if we are so afraid of saying the wrong thing, or – even scarier – something ‘uncool’. Fuck that. This is a real fucking band.
“These things you do, aren’t working.”
Packed into a derelict tiny room in the Wolstenholme Project, an eclectic gang of Liverpool artists, enquiring minds and scenesters have gathered to watch and support a heavy new band who have been rumoured to push a few boundaries. There’s no Swedish hardcore kids here, no keys on chain locks. Just a great space and people who want things to happen. WCOLT blow all forty people away, as they will continue to do every time they play at Don’t Drop the Dumbells, Static Gallery or the A-foundation that year and the next. Liverpool has the best DIY scene in the country: hardcore heads supporting pop wannabes, DJ’s supporting folk bands, friends supporting friends. It’s a year before the Conservative-heavy coalition government will take the reins, and we still do not know the true extent of their destructive plans. WCOLT will do well though, we all agree.
“You thought the world was filled with love and good intentions and it was not.”
I live in Berlin now, and I missed the closure of all the venues mentioned in the above paragraph. But when I see a band like WCOLT coming over to Germany, bringing some of the Liverpool DIY grit, talent and ambition with them, it makes me so unbelievably happy. Directly or indirectly, the cuts and actions of the elitist criminals in charge may continue to fuck up our great city, and our great music scene. But with a band like WCOLT showing emerging bands and artists the true path, we will stay great. Creativity will always be at the core of the city, and can and will still flourish in hostile conditions, just as tolerance cannot tolerate intolerance. These are the messages of WCOLT. Smash fascism, end racism, stay DIY.
Agelessness and Lack is out now.