A few months ago when the full lineup for this sheer beast of a tour was announced, yours truly was in a state of disbelief, in musical terms, you know the kind of utter amazement that you never would have imagined that such a bloody incredible lineup would be able to happen over here in the UK? Well.. it happened. It was a no brainer. This tour was bound to sell out. However, the brief history of the Persistence Tour hasn’t always been this fruitful.
If we cast our minds back to previous years, when the Persistence Tour has come to the UK, there have been previous lineups that have sadly done diabolically in sales, despite just how great every band on the lineup was. Maybe it was down to repetition of the same hardcore, punk, and metal bands, maybe it was down to disinterest. Perhaps it was lacking that little something which needed to give the Persistence Tour that little bit of an edge? One can only speculate… but alas there was an air of concern that these past demons may come back to haunt this tour. Fortunately, we’re happy to report that this is not the case at all. And with a sold out crowd at London’s HMV Forum, it was only going to be nothing short of perfection – even if there are (annoyingly) barriers between the crowd and the stage!
First up are crossover hardcore newcomers Mizery, who are on their very first tour of Europe and the UK. Whilst this is their very first appearance in the UK, they certainly do not let the barrier divide phase them. Musically tight, and managing to get the dance floor in motion at the early time of 5pm, these guys get the party started and warmed up a treat. Definitely ones to keep an eye on this year.
Second on the bill are the (sort of) newly reformed cult NYHC band Burn. Having played their first show in the UK at The Dome last year, this was only their second visit to these shores. Now admittedly whilst there was more a sea of curious people in the crowd that were giving them the chance, you could see that they were winning over a lot of new fans immediately. Combined with frontman A. Malik’s frenzied stage presence, and the rest of the gang’s super tight rhythms, grooves, and leads, it all makes for compelling viewing. This band certainly requires more of your well deserved attention, so do not rest on them if you have not heard of them.
However, it is not until Down To Nothing come on stage that the pits truly start to open up. Their performance is nothing short of spectacular. Whilst heavily leaning off the material from the highly underrated Life On The James, Down To Nothing’s short but sweet set is absolutely on point. Musically proficient, full of raw energy, these guys look like they could quite easily headline this show. Seriously, they are that damn good. In fact seeing a legendary hardcore band who are used to playing small club shows in an environment like this where they could quite easily have been mistaken as a headliner for a venue like this, is aesthetically and morally pleasing. Plus to give you an idea of how great they were at this show – all their merch sold out shortly after their performance. Yes, they were that damn great. Solid job, chaps!
One band that this writer had not seen up until this point is Walls Of Jericho. But upon observation, there is a lot of people who are eager to see these, and my bloody word… they did not disappoint. Vocalist Candace Kucsulain commands a level of respect that is made up due to her incredible on stage presence, and fiery voice that would make the strongest quiver in their boots. The band are equally as intimidating with their energy and bombastic sonic assault. But the most endearing thing about this set was seeing that there was a whole new crowd waiting for Walls Of Jericho, and that the new material from their most amazing No One Can Save You From Yourself, is getting some major love in the pit, as well as the at times roared vocal replies from the crowd. One genuinely hopes for bigger and better things for these guys, because this performance was as visceral as you could possibly imagine.
Having got nearly two thirds of the way through the day, you would have thought this crowd would be somewhat tired. Oh no… absolutely not. As when party thrash metal legends Municipal Waste arrive on stage with their barrage of chaos inciting bangers, it all of a sudden sparks the wildest pits of the entire day. The whole of the floor becomes a barrage of flying beer missiles, tornado like circle pits, and bodies slamming left, right, and centre. But with songs like ‘Unleash The Bastards‘, ‘Beer Pressure‘, and ‘The Art Of Partying‘, you can’t help but immerse yourself in the gleeful destruction that is unfolding. Hell, they even play a brand new song coming up from the as of yet untitled new album! But what can be said, is that this is a band who are probably now more important and as vital as ever. As the old saying goes… “Municipal Waste is gonna FUCK YOU UP!”. You damn right!
Municipal Waste was always going to be a hard act to follow, but it turns out that a lot of the old guard are coming out to play in the pit for Agnostic Front. Not just them, but a barrage of fans from the younger generation as well. it can arguably be said that the NYHC godfathers easily won the biggest singalongs of the day with amazing renditions of ‘Gotta Go‘, ‘For My Family‘, and a cover of Ramones ‘Blitzkrieg Bop‘. But the real gem in this set was their rendition of ‘Crucified’ – which was dedicated in the memory of the late Micky Fitz from The Business. This is twice this writer has heard dedications in his honour in the past two days, but this is a testament to how tight the worldwide punk and hardcore community is. And on this display of greatness from both band and crowd, it is a certified given that Agnostic Front are and always will be a force to be reckoned with.
But on to tonight’s main attraction – Suicidal Tendencies. Now upon reading and hearing in previous interviews, it has been stated by frontman Mike Muir that Suicidal Tendencies do not seem to have the popularity in the UK that they do in Europe, USA, and the rest of the world. However, we attend to disagree in this case, because the moment they come out, it was bedlam. Sheer bedlam. With a new lineup – including maestro Dave Lombardo on drums, it is clear that S/T have absolutely no intention of slowing down. But it also turns out that when you thought that maybe the crowd have burned all their energy for one day? Well let us reassure you that they had one full tank left reserved for the chaos that transpires during their set. From start to go it is out of control. Crowd surfers, stage divers (yes even with barriers), and non-stop pits galore, every song is just another reason to up the ante. The likes of ‘You Can’t Bring Me Down‘, ‘War Inside My Head‘, and ‘Freedumb‘ send the place berserk. But it isn’t until ‘Possessed To Skate‘ that the crowd are invited to come on stage for the duration of the set and go absolutely wild. It is an absolutely beautiful sight to behold, and they hang out, party, mosh, and dance all the way to final song ‘Pledge Your Allegiance‘.
Another thing that is also very clear is that the fun the band are having on stage is very evident due to the smiles on their faces. In a way it is like a sort of reassurance for the band that they are sorely missed over here, and that everyone in attendance gave Suicidal Tendencies their very utmost to keep the energy levels raised out of the roof. And my oh my, they just did exactly that and then some. But alas this concludes us to another point which needs to be stressed.Whilst the Persistence Tour has had its fair share of ups and downs, this year’s all day mini-festival has truly reinstated a lot of facts that need to be remembered.
Firstly, the demographic of people in here ranges from old school punks, hardcore crews of all ages, the metal heads, the curious heads, and to everyone else in between who genuinely loves heavy music and everything it stands for. There is absolutely no room for narrow mindedness here. It was extremely heart warming to see so many people from all walks of life giving other music they are not used to a chance, and to teach other crowds whom they are not familiar with, something about the music and bands playing that they were perhaps not informed of. The whole crowd was more than happy to converse, give each other knowledge and wisdom, but most of all… respect. This is how EVERY gig, all dayer, and festival should be. Respect, knowledge, and compassion. An utterly beautiful things.
Secondly, with all of these attributes, demographics, and values all in place and under one roof, it is arguably the most critical reason as to why the Persistence Tour is more vital and important than ever. In a very misinformed and confused society these days, sometimes we need to go back to our roots and enjoy what we do know and love the most – music. In this case, hardcore, punk, and metal. We need to reconnect with what is important and that bring out the best in us mentally, physically, and spiritually. Being under one roof with a crowd of like minded people gives us all a positive mental attitude, a catharsis, and a place to release our negative energy and turn it in to something positive (this writer certainly did that for over six hours straight by being in the pit for over six hours for every band!).
Thirdly, the Persistence Tour is something that is not just exclusive to one show in the UK, but it is highly popular all over mainland Europe. The union of people in this show today was of people from all over the world. Everyone from the UK, Germany, Lichtenstein, Russia, Argentina, and even Japan! But this is a point which one must stress so much – support your music community not just over here, but all over the world. If those who come all the way from distant places want to express their love in this darkest part of London, then there is no reason why us in the UK should not represent in Europe when we get the chance to do so. This music community is an important, united front which is essentially an extended family. So if you are a supporter of these kinds of music and music community, then support the people behind putting together the tour as well. For we need these kinds of shows to remind us how fortunate we are to be part of something truly special in a truly troubled time.
Persistence 2017 – you exceeded the expectations and then some. Thankyou, and see you again next year!