Words and Photos by Antony Roberts
Gigs…you wait ages for a decent one then all of a sudden 2 come along at once. Ufomammut were playing London and they slay live, but having already seen them several times before I wasn’t left much choice. I’ve wanted to see Trial since the mid 90’s when someone did me a tape of their Through The Darkest Days E.P. and it blew me away. Then the following year I picked up their Foundation CD and became an even bigger fan. Hardcore is one of those genres you need to keep on top of. Scenes sprout up in small towns all over the globe and amazing bands can pass you by if you don’t keep up. Since the demise of the nearby Canterbury scene i’ve been severely out of touch. Take 2 of the 3 support bands tonight, I didn’t know their names until they got announced as support for Trial, I’m getting out of touch and I’m feeling old.
xAbolitionx unfortunately got delayed across London and arrived too late to play, so it was left to Arizona’s Run With The Hunted to kick off proceedings. Not being familiar with them prior to this it was somewhat of a shame that the Borderline audience decided to stay in the bar area leaving the band playing to what felt a little like an empty club. Sounding similar to early Hope Conspiracy with a little more pace at times the band started off great, but the lack of crowd response dampened their performance.
Up next was Sweden’s Anchor and they managed to convince a lot more of the ever growing crowd to move down onto the main floor and get near the stage. Putting in an energetic performance, the guitarists spent most of the time in the air youth crew jumping around the stage as singer Claes paced back and forth. This energy seemed to finally engage the audience as people came forward to sing along and the floor filled up. Their metallic hardcore reminded me a lot of the early work of fellow Swede’s Nine, crossed with some elements of Judge and Trial, tonight’s headliners .
By the time Trial were due on the venue had become pretty rammed. They came on and stood heads down like statues as the intro music from “Are These Our Lives” played over the PA. As it came to an end the cymbals came in for “Reflections” and all hell broke loose in the Borderline. Half the audience were on the stage, singer Greg was on top of the first few rows, bassist Roger was in the air doing Youth Crew jumps and stage divers were on my head. Damn I had forgotten how good a hardcore show can be, I’d missed this. They then proceeded to work their way through classic upon classic for over 30 minutes of solid fast straight ahead hardcore. Time was spent between songs to discuss the importance of scene, current political issues, and show appreciation to some of the Sea Shepherd crew members who’d come to the show. With the borderline switching into a club after the gig, time was of the essence to finish and get out. After getting the okay for one more song from the sound tech they launched into the anthemic “This Is Not A Trend”. Audience and band proceeded to use what energy they hadn’t already spent to create a mountain of bodies. Screaming into the mic for all everyone was worth, it brought an amazing close to a brilliant show.