Hactivist

  • +
  • Counting Days
  • Antihero
Arts Club 2/3/16

Metal always makes sense to me live. The most straight-edged band sound noisy and loud, but metal bands sound exactly as they should. I’m no metal fan, but it’s great to go out and stretch your ears when you can. The audience is as important as the guitar, bass and drums here; if you can’t get the pit going, something is wrong. I don’t feel the urge to bash heads myself, but when I see that seething mass of bodies swinging fists in time to that driving guitar, I have to smile.

Scouse love is shown in full force when ANTIHERO step into The Loft. The crowd bristles with excitement at what they’re about to throw down, and as I’m out of the loop, I’m not sure what to expect. They burst instantly into a brand of swaggering 90s alt. metal, and before I can even think Rage Against the Machine, Antihero break out their cover of Testify. Their influences are very much on the sleeve here. They’re filming for their new video and we provide ample footage, absolutely loving it, metalheads turned berserkers.

This is COUNTING DAYS’ last show with HACKTIVIST, and their first time in Liverpool. Here to drag the wheat from the chaff, kicking and screaming and lots of screaming, Counting Days are agent provocateur death metal fans who whip people into a frenzy, and they and crowd go hard. They’re here representing modern metal, doing it through dark and abstract themes that are melodic yet abrasive. Glancing round at the crowd, faces split with grins and hair is flying in all directions. This is also the point of the night where I know I’m an outsider: it’s not for me. Counting Days are indisputably great at what they do, not letting up until the final song, but I’m relieved to have the opportunity to decompress, for a bit at least.

With the crowd settled the lights go out, P. Money’s 10/10 blasts over the crowd. Grime isn’t something you’d associate with metal, yet Hactivist like to mash things up. “It started out as an experiment,” they admit about their choice of entrance song, and it’s a surprising and resounding success. This isn’t metal influenced by grime or vice versa, it’s both in unison with neither diminished by the other. The often overly seriousness of metal is supported by the cheekiness of MCs J Hurley and Ben Marvin. These guys meet the Rakim standard of MC, moving the crowd, and it’s great to see a metalhead audience embracing something seemingly disparate, but the combination works so well it’s almost unfair to tar this with the rap metal brush. Their encore lets us give them a proper send off, as they start the European leg of the tour. It’s bands like Hacktivist that allow people to expand music tastes into with new sounds, which is what they’ve achieved with me. If only for a night.

Kieran Donnachie

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