As the date closes in on Liverpool’s loudest two-day festival, Getintothis’s Zach Jones takes a look at what’s to offer the Baltic Hardcore Festival.
As venues close, and a lack of customers pushes smaller promoters into back rooms and basements, it is a climate where the DIY scenes thrives. No more so than hardcore punk. Coming out of nowhere, Baltic Hardcore Festival is taking over Maguire’s Pizza Bar on December 5/6, in a year which has seen the number of hardcore shows in Liverpool grow. This may very well be a fitting end to a city whose measure of a good night, is the number of bruises.
The festival’s line-up features a mix of out of towners alongside Merseyside talent. Liverpool’s Bitter Youth and Dead Blends are set to fly the flag for the city’s burgeoning noise scene, while homegrown spoken word and acoustic artists introduce each of the acts.
The headliners however couldn’t be further apart sonically. The monolith that is Oblivionized rain down on audiences more metal than X’men’s Colossus in a Slayer T-shirt. An all-out destructive set of grind, noise and hardcore aimed to pummel the crowd into a fine paste to add to their “what the fuck was that sandwich”.
However, Sunday takes a different road with Sleep Beggars taking the headline slot. Their electronic driven noise is more the bastard love child of Aphex Twin and Converge than any traditional perceptions of a hardcore band. Their main support Let’s Talk Daggers are equally noisy, a disjointed mathy bamboozlement that has been self-coined ‘chaoscore’.
So with no cohesive patterns in the lineup, here are our ones to watch in this black pit of feedback.
Saturday nights have earned their spot after this year’s full length Life is a Struggle, Give Up tore the ears off the UK scene. Having recently supported Converge with fellow UK quintet Throats, this is a band who have transformed into one the best heavy bands in the UK.
As absolute veterans of the UK scene, Rash Decision are welcomed back to Maguire’s after some raucous appearances in the past, even filming their Rotted Out video in the venue. With songs averaging a minute, try to keep up.
Employed to Serve
ETS may very well be one of the shining lights of hardcore to emerge this year, with full length Greyer Than You Think storming through the UK scene on Holy Roar Records. The band have earned themselves supports with the likes of Rolo Tomassi and Biohazard as well as heading off to Europe to blow a few heads off.
Huddersfield may not be well known for sludgey riff driven hardcore, but that’s exactly what Relics are. Balls to the wall hardcore from a small Yorkshire town.
Liverpool youth crew Bitter Youth have appeared on more solid lineups this year than any other band in the city, a solid five piece band with a no nonsense attitude has made them the go to support for any passing hardcore line up.
Merseyside acoustic punk kicking off the day with songs about cranking and lost loves (which probably explains the cranking).
Another Merseyside soloist acts as the host for the day presenting some anarchic punk lyricism to get things started.
Sundays headliners are here to make a lot of noise. Straight off the back of a USA tour, Sleep Beggar will bring the beats, noise and plenty of head nodding to Maguire’s. With new split with rapper J E double F out now via Venn Records (the love child of Watford punks Gallows), they are Getintothis’ one to watch for the weekend.
Let’s Talk Daggers
Also with new material out (it seems everyone at this festival has) Let’s Talk Daggers return with more insanity, more disjointed noisy songs that make you want to fight and dance at the same time.
Guess what? Ithaca have a new album out too. Trespassers is a monolith of gut wrenching vocals, ear piercing guitar screeches and a battlement of rhythm. It’s just as rhythmic as it is aggressive and as well as giving nods to scream and hardcore, also sets foot into emo, post-rock and noise rock worlds.
Since ripping a hole through Maguire’s in support of Scouse sluggers Iron Witch, Iced Out return again with more heavy swinging riffs, and head nodding goodness.
Consiting of members from a bunch of Merseyside punks, most notably ska heads Bolshy, Dead Blends bring some fast and heavy tunes murkier than the Mersey itself.
Consisting of members from both Liverpool and Manchester, Avery Estate bring mathy hardcore goodness to Maguire’s. Still in their infancy, the band grace on of their first ever shows at the festival.
Liverpool poet Rikky Wiley brings a critically funny set to kick things off for the day, a set full of lyrical wit and eclecticism.
Another spoken word act to get us all warmed up, the political criticisms of Swifty are not to be missed. Few escape the rampage from Thatcher to Cameron, Ex-lovers to people on Facebook.