Live Review – Masters Of Hardcore @ The HI FI Bar, November 26th 2006

When you see a tour poster saying “Masters Of Hardcore” you’d be expecting either a joint tour between Sick Of It All and Madball OR Ron Jeremy and 12 playboy bunnies giving a “how to” demonstration on, well, you know…..


Instead, the Masters Of Hardcore tour gave us local screamo upstarts The GetawayPlan and Vagrant Records artists From Autumn To Ashes and The Bled.


Now I’m not saying that I’m not a fan of any of the bands playing. For such a young group I’m impressed by The Getaway Plan’s song writing and their stage presence and The Bled are hands down one of my favourite bands so I was definitely looking forward to the show.


I arrived late and had already missed the first band, One Odd. From all reports that was a good thing.


The Getaway Plan was up next and I felt bad for them. They played hard, they played tight but the mix was the worst thing I’ve heard in the HI FI Bar since Soilwork a couple of years ago. I get the feeling that the band were the victim of the age old “let’s turn the support band’s mix down so the headliner sounds better” ploy. Like I said, they still put on a great show and the new song that was included signals and a promising future for this band.


There was a scheduling change at this point and From Autumn To Ashes were going to be playing the support slot. We were told this was because their vocalist was so sick he could hardly speak. I don’t know exactly what’s going on but it was rumoured that their screamer had actually quit the band and they’re without a singer.


Circumstances aside, FATA did indeed take the stage without a vocalist. Instead, random members of their road crew took it in turns at singing and even though I can respect the fact that they gave it a go, their set flat out sucked. The songs sounded empty and their stage presence was limited – which is understandable as I can imagine it’s hard to get excited about playing under these conditions. The highlight of their set was the final song “The After Dinner Payback” which featured James from The Bled on vocals. Unfortunately for FATA, he was the only one to do the mic any justice during their set.


Finally, The Bled! A band I had waited 4 years to see! Their first album Pass TheFlask (Fiddler Records) is easily perch in my top 10 records of all time and they didn’t disappoint me – playing more tracks of this album than their most recent release Found In The Flood (Vagrant Records).


Their set was energetic, intense, tight and loud. My god it was loud (seriously my ears are still ringing 2 days later). The Bled’s performance on stage was one of the best I’ve seen all year and their vocalist James redefines the word showman. Imagine the Fonz (leather jacket and all) singing for a rock n roll version of Botch and you’d be on the right track. Every song was spot and they were nice enough to play us a new tune – which was both melodic and downright brutal.


Audience numbers for this show hovered around 200 (which in a 1000 capacity venue is especially woeful) which is an indication of where From Autumn To Ashes currently sit on the popularity scale. I personally feel that they peaked a few years ago and considering their last record (Abandon Your Friends) had no press down here it may have been better to wait a couple of months and tour on their soon to be released 4th album.


The reason I was at this show was for The Bled, so based on their exceptional performance I’d say it was a success. If however, you came for From Autumn To Ashes I think it’s safe to say you left extremely disappointed.


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