Updated: Feb 7, 2019
Sometimes supports can be a little questionable - tonight this was not the case.
Accompanied by local legends Hinges and Canadian powerhouse Single Mothers, Drug Church were complimented by two brilliantly selected acts, each band expertly carving out their own little niche of the crowd to entertain.
Hinges got the night off to a great start, and it was a real shame that this was the last time they would be performing together; their performance acting as a final farewell to all of those who’ve enjoyed them. Packing a real punch with all the belligerence and swagger we’ve come to expect from the band, Hinges stormed through their set, stealing the attention of even the stragglers left at the bar who hadn't quite warmed up yet. A rarity to say the least; it’s not often you’re hauling in a decent sized crowd before the kids’ bedtime but somehow they managed it. Some could say it was just the novelty of a bittersweet farewell pulling in the masses but this was not the case. The band exuded all the emo and grunge you could ever ask for, jumping from more melodic sections to some pretty gnarly ones with relative ease. It’s no wonder they’ve proven so popular even before watershed’s kicked in, and Hinges’ farewell was far too remarkable to just be the first support of the night.
However, there was no slacking with Single Mothers around the corner, noise rock proving all the more compelling when fronted by the likes of Drew Thomson. From the second they emerged it was clear the crowd had better keep a tight grip on pints; the inevitable surge forward sending the unfortunate few reeling whilst the rest tried to get a good look at the mayhem unfolding before them. Cavorting, whirling and gesticulating all over the place, Thomson was the picture of pure bedlam. It’s hard to imagine that one person could instigate so much chaos, but from one look at their back catalogue it shouldn't come as a shock. Single Mothers are known for their anger-inducing, strikingly boisterous sound; compared to the likes of Fugazi and Minor Threat, these guys truly took it back to their punk-rock roots and had no trouble letting us know about it. If you’re looking for a fast-paced punk fix - this is it.
With both of the supports providing quality entertainment for the prior few hours, it was no surprise that the tension in the air was obvious, and as time ticked on the crowd were getting closer and closer to filling their boots with all the Drug Church they could handle. The New York hardcore unit wasted no time in showing how it has been done on this European tour, encouraging even more vigorous crowd surfing than they thought possible in such a small venue. Limbs were flailing and drinks went flying before the first song was even over, and if you looked up you could often spot one or two avid fans dangling from the pipe works above the stage - singer Patrick Kindlon occasionally sweet-talked them down with ‘those pipes are full of shit, pull them and we get covered in shit!’.
Their latest release Cheer featured heavily in this set, anthem after anthem blaring out thick and fast to keep a restless crowd occupied. The only break of the gig was when Kindlon went off on one. Known for being partial to the occasional rant, it was to be expected that this would arise sooner rather than later and these outbursts were peppered throughout the set as a nice breather for everyone in the midst of the madness. When he’s finished Drug Church hit hard once again - gruff vocals and punky attitude included. Steam-powering through a selection of tracks from the notorious Paul Walker and Hit Your Head, the aggression put on display did not seem to lessen no matter how hard they seem to push. As far as punk goes, this was at the top of the game.
With some expecting them to fill their allocated hour, it was those who know the band inside and out that were aware this is never the case. Playing for around the forty-minute mark, Drug Church still managed to pack in all the crowd-pleasers and new material essential to keep an audience happy - those extra twenty minutes proved unnecessary. Some fanatics of the band may argue otherwise, but with the criminally fantastic performance Drug Church manage to put on in such a short period of time nobody should be complaining. Photography - Nathan Robinson - Apertunes