Review: Subzero/Ninebar et al, New Cross Inn, 8/4

Another day, another packed hardcore gig. All in a day's work for our Alex Goose....

Recently, it seems like the New Cross Inn has been hosting quality hardcore shows just about every other day, and that’s both wonderful and exhausting. We’d only just recovered from last Tuesday’s Spaced show, and now we’ve got to muster up enough energy for tonight’s beautifully brutal bill. Any chance of some band-free nights, or perhaps a few evenings of Oasis tribute acts, just to give us some time to eat, sleep and wash?

Anyway, openers Hounds Of The South play slow and heavy, and that’s just fine with us. The lack of speed doesn’t make those riffs any less crushing, and there’s an undercurrent of grit and determination to songs like ‘Karma’ and closing epic ‘Legacy’ that marks these guys out as ones to watch. Check out their ‘Reap What You Sow’ EP, it’s ace.

Hounds of the South, New Cross Inn, April 2024. Pic by Alex Goose.

King Street boast no fewer than three guitarists, and unsurprisingly they sound absolutely massive. There isn’t much in the way of crowd action yet, but that matters little with a frontman as imposing as Amo pacing the floor; he’s a pit-starter, twisted pit-starter. ‘Original Sin’ especially sounds like it’s giving the New Cross Inn’s foundations quite the testing, so it’s shame that there’s a sense of folks holding themselves back somewhat.

At least a few of those folks were probably saving their energy for Ninebar, who make this hardcore stuff look so damn easy. Along with fellow Londoners Knuckledust, these guys wrote the book on heavy UKHC, and tonight it speaks volumes that other bands – and even a couple of promoters – can be found windmilling away in the pit during their set.

Read These Boks’ (not a typo, that’s how it is spelled)has become their ‘Ace Of Spades’, and like Motörhead, Ninebar can be relied on to play loud, never compromise, and still ooze vitality after more than 25 years since they formed. Essential. 

Ninebar, New Cross Inn. April 2024. Pic by Alex Goose.

In a just world, headliners Subzero would be as well-known and influential as their NYHC veteran brethren Sick Of It All, but their experiences of adversity and misfortune only seem to have made them stronger. They keep us guessing throughout much of their set; liable to switch between light-speed punk rock rage, bouncy riffage and sickeningly heavy breakdowns in the blink of an eye.

Arguably, though, it is the anthemic ‘Boxed In’ (as covered by the likes of Hatebreed and Terror) that truly unites all present, with livewire vocalist Lou di Bella ultimately having to surrender his microphone to a sweaty throng down the front. Hey, he’s probably used to it.

Well, work won’t be fun tomorrow morning, but it will have been more than worth it for such a beast of a show. Now excuse us as we go into post-hardcore hibernation. Zzzzzzz…

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