HECK - Live Review
HECK are one of the best bands working on the live scene today. The band formally known as Baby Godzilla have been making waves lately and with the release of their first full length album, Instructions, they look set to take over. Once again they return to Manchester and I couldn’t think of a better venue than the Star and Garter and since there’s barely a stage it’s ideal considering HECK barely use a stage. Oh, and before I forget this night was crazy, every band brought it in droves and the crowd was insane. Perfect for these bands.
This was a great set and this exciting young band really were a great opener, they were everything that I like in a support. They were charismatic and fun with a great sound and their set flowed really well with a mix of fun bass grooves, well-performed riffs and headbanging tunes. They really rode the gambit of a lot of genres from hardcore to groove metal, from punk to rock’n’roll. The crowd were really getting into it as lead singer Mikey Shiraz pumps them up for more. Mikey is a great frontman and provided some amazing banter particularly with the front row. Queue the guy who stage dives into nothing and lands firmly onto the floor. Yeah, that happened! The night of insanity was already off to a great start and Mr Shiraz were absolutely superb, I had so much fun watching them. They are definitely one to look out for.
OK, what do I say about these guys. They just burst on to the stage with all the noise and craziness that you may expect from a band called Racketkanon. The band have a cool set up with two sets of electronica boards with lots of synth, a guitar and drum set and they used every single bit of it to it’s fullest potential. The music was this great hybrid of psychedelic, electronica and punk it sounded absolutely brilliant. The riffs were filled with so much fuzz and bass it’s almost like Josh Homme wrote them, the synth was a lot of fun too, adding a lot of depth and bass to the overall sound. They just blasted through their set and I’m not kidding when I was really loving it. And then it was over and I actually felt a little sad that it was over and I really wanted to hear more. The band had an amazing stage presence and the frontman, Jef Verbeeck, was insane and fun. He was diving all around stage and driving the crowd even more insane, the mosh pit was getting quite big with a lot of hardcore dancing too. This was a brilliant way to open for HECK as there is nothing that will really prepare you for them, but Racketkanon make a damn decent attempt.
Well. Yep. This set happened, it certainly happened. Despite the delayed start, HECK powered on to the stage nonetheless. They were on the stage for all of about five seconds and then the band just invaded the crowd, jumping into the pit, then on to the sound desk the in the window then on top of the PA system and speakers, then on their own bloody merch table. Basically it was a game of what can we climb on next, it was just pure madness. However while all this was going on they were also playing the tunes, and how was that? Pretty damn good. I don’t know how they do it but they sound completely coherent, well as coherent a hardcore punk can be at least. Their musicianship was great and the songs sounded just as immense and as crazy as they do on the record. Songs like Good As Dead, Powerboat Disaster and The Great Hardcore Swindle sounded great and I was truly loving it. The crowd was just pure madness with pits and thrashing everywhere, there was really nowhere safe to stand and just watch and HECK really make sure that everyone there is involved with the show. Like I said the band were physically erratic and were playing the songs all over the venue. I can’t even describe how mental it feels standing in a HECK crowd, it borders on scary and exciting, you can’t take your eyes off of them but at the same you just want to get out of the way. I genuinely struggled to write this review because how do you actually sum up a gig like this? I tried here but to be honest there are no words that describe it, all I know is, I had a bloody great time.
Words: Mick Birchall / Photos: Cai Dixon