The Gathering of the 500 (Conflict, Subhumans + more) – The Underworld, Camden – December 7, 2013

Camden Underworld is one of my favourite venues. It’s dark, not too big, it has that ‘sticky floor’ feeling and bogs that stink like fuck – perfect for a punk all-dayer.

The doors open an hour late – so far, so punk. Fallen Breaks kick things off, and they are not really punk at all, but they are very good. Hailing from Peterborough, they are a powerful stoner rock-type band with big riffs, catchy licks and a good stage presence – a band I’d certainly go and see again.

In fact, the singer could be seen again straight away as he joined Destroy DC to provide additional vocals from the side of the stage. Another Peterborough outfit, Destroy DC include current Conflict drummer Spike (on lead vocals here too) and guitarist Gav in the line-up. Their mixture of hardcore, almost industrial metal, punk and reggae goes down a storm – and quite right too – it’s angry, infectious and powerful. A very enjoyable set.

Talking of anger, Slug have it in spades! A more rough and ready DIY punk band, Slug are harsh, political in in your face – in fact the singer spent the whole of the set in the crowd. With two former member of Active Slaughter in the band, the anti-fascist and pro-animal rights stance of the band should come as a surprise to no one!

A trip to awesome vegan café Insiral, on Camden High Street, meant I missed the start of Liberty’s set – but I did catch the highlight – a guest appearance by one of the band’s original members – fresh from a sabbing trip. Liberty are more of a straight-ahead punk band these days, but they are still enjoyable to watch live and their tuneful songs go down well with the sold-out crowd.

I must admit to being cynical and apprehensive about Lost Cherrees – I loved their old stuff and the post reformation gigs and album – but I haven’t heard them since Bev left the band and I wondered if it would still be Lost Cherrees. I need not have worried – they were awesome. Now with two female vocalists (as was the case ‘back in the day’) they were both in-your-face, melodic, tight and full of anger. One singer was leaping around screaming, the other more laid back and the new songs definitely reignited my passion for the band. The old tracks such as Blasphemy sounded great too – the highlight of the day for me.

Subhumans are always good. I know not from where Dick gets all his energy and love of punk, but he delivers every fucking night – whether it’s with Culture Shock, Citizen Fish or Subhumans – all of which are currently active. A busy man indeed.
Tonight, the Subhumans were at their best – Dick’s banter is second to none, and his between song chats are worth sticking around for in themselves. Tonight they were animal rights-led, as should be the case at such an event – and musically, Evolution sounded particularly fantastic and the crowd danced around madly for one of the old school punk band that still are the real deal.

Because they were running late, Dropping Bombs had to follow that. Of course they couldn’t. Many people took the opportunity for a breather before the main event, and the short set, while well received was generally met with apathy. They didn’t really do it for me on this occasion if I’m honest, but their brand of harsh hardcore would probably sound fucking brilliant in a small pub on another night.

And then came Conflict. Stripped down to a four piece, Colin was in furious form tonight and the band delivered a powerful set of career-spanning songs. Personally, I thought their set at AWOD 2013 was better, but still, the likes of Tough Shit Mickey, There’s No Power and Climbing The Stairs sounded raw as fuck. I was particularly pleased to hear Now You’ve Put Your Foot In It and the Final Conflict. A Message To Who is a personal favourite too, and I enjoyed hearing that again too!

– PB

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