I can’t believe I missed Knocked Loose at Graspop last year. After seeing their set last Saturday at the Trix venue in Antwerp, I realize now it may have been one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made. Little harm done however. I got another shot at it and made up for lost opportunities. This was the second night of their European promotional tour for their latest record ‘A Different Shade Of Blue’. Along for the ride were Australia’s Justice For The Damned and UK’s hardcore set up Renounced. Malevolence wouldn’t be along for the ride unfortunately.
Justice For The Damned (***)
A solid warm-up from these Down Under lads. Justice For The Damned brings you heavy hardcore, veering to metalcore with a few sparse death metal influences. You’re just as likely to two-step in the pit as you are to circlebang your head to the occasional blast beat. I did feel bad for them because the crowd was quite asleep despite their singer’s fiercest efforts to wake us up. The taunting interaction was one-sided and didn’t amount to much more than a couple of awkward and drunken (already?) audience members giving a go at an out-of-pace dance move.
The Australian five-piece came at us with a few interesting elements of which I would have loved to hear more. The backing vocals were outstanding angry hardcore screams, which immediately piqued my interest. The death metal layer is apparent, yet never takes the upper hand. Which is okay, although it confused me more than anything else. I feel like they haven’t yet determined which direction they wanted to head for. Nevertheless Justice For The Damned played a set that was captivating enough for us to get in the zone for the next two bands.
Okay, this was cool. UK-based Renounced brings us melodic hardcore with a metalcore groove, of which there was a ton around in the late 2000s. This is where the crowd started to wake up a little. Breakdowns were intense enough to get people rowdy for a friendly brawl. The room even exploded during their final track. A good sign, since at times the music seemed like it would fall flat. I was however glad to hear they picked themselves up again, so that I never felt bored.
Vocals were cool. Typical energetic hardcore screams, to which the crowd responded positively. Renounced have got themselves a charismatic frontman who knows how to handle a room full of people who were almost solely waiting for the headliner. Through no fault of their own the clean backing vocals did not come through enough. I would have loved to hear them a little better. Oh, and one last thing: DON’T CUP THE MIC! You sound so much better when you don’t wrap your hands around that thing. And no, it doesn’t make you sound heavier.
As Delicate as Moth Wings
In a Years Turning
A Fire No Longer Burns
Love and Depression
Knocked Loose (*****)
I have rarely witnessed a set that was as violent as this one. Not only that, Knocked Loose put on one of the best live shows I’d ever seen. They’re now officially one of my favorite bands to watch live. From the very first note, all hell broke loose in the venue. This phenomenon is something I’ve sorely missed these past years in the Belgian new school (and, frankly, old school) hardcore scene. It seemed as if the whole genre had lost its intensity and its sense of urgency for a while. That’s also one of the reasons I’d been out of it for some time. Knocked Loose is the band I needed. It’s the one we all needed.
Energy levels soared as both band and crowd gave it all they had. These Kentucky hardcore punks played an extremely heavy set, most of which consisted of tracks from ‘A Different Shade Of Blue‘. Each bombshell of a song was delivered with a passion and a fury that went through body and soul. The crowd just went for it: violent dancing, two step, crowd surfing, but most importantly, fucking stage diving. I lost count of how many people climbed up on stage to get a hug or a high five or yell out a few lyrics in the vacant mics, before blindly throwing themselves onto the crowd again. What a cathartic set that was! I can’t wait to catch Knocked Loose again at Ieper Hardcore Fest next Summer.
Trapped in the Grasp of a Memory
All My Friends
Forget Your Name
…And Still I Wander South
By the Grave
Mistakes Like Fractures
A Serpent’s Touch
Billy No Mates
All picture credits go to Arne Cardinals for Trix Antwerpen.