Feed The Rhino, Heights and Hildamay are all prime examples of the home-grown talent that is invigorating the hardcore and rock music scenes in the UK respectively. Though each band offers a distinctively different sound and appeal, the gig space of the Barfly in Camden is chock full of punters here to appreciate it all.
Hildamay are first up and start their set humbly before breaking out into a solid set from recently released EP ‘This House Became Our Home’. Frontman Tim Lawrence is bursting with forceful passion and energy as he belts out the lyrics to their EP’s title track and latest single. Though they’re perhaps a lighter band than those yet to come, they pull in a packed room and deliver an energetic and hearty performance.
Up next are Heights, and the Hertfordshire hardcore connoisseurs have barely taken the stage before the mass of the room is opened up into and almighty circle pit. A matter of seconds in and we can see that this is going to be a whole different kind of performance to the last. Rather, it doesn’t feel so much as a performance with the amount of participation from the air-punching, arm-swinging crowd.
There’s no real divide between stage and pit either, as the guitarists throw themselves onto the die-hard mass collecting at the front, and into the mosh pit to thrash it out with any fans that dare take them on.
An insane performance as the band thrashes about the small stage and throughout the venue, Thomas demanding there’s “no hiding in the corners, no standing at the bar”. Their live show is impassioned and downright ferocious, every word vocalist Thomas Debaere screams out the crowd screams right with him, throwing themselves over the stage and piling on top of each other to guest vocal on the microphone. It’s a ripping half-hour-or-so set, that leaves the room feeling vacant in a dull silence once they leave the stage and the cheers have faded.
Headlining tonight are local London/Kent boys Feed The Rhino, and after a heavily-bassy D’n'B intro frontman Lee Tobin takes no time in storming on stage and telling the crowd that he wants to end this UK tour with a bang; “where better to do that than our own fucking hometown of London?” We should be in for a real treat of a show tonight then.
We’re barely a song in and Lee is calling for a wall of death, splitting the crowd in two during ‘Butchers’, telling us “I wanna see all your faces smash together on this one.”
Feed The Rhino are immensely powerful and brutally noisy, their choppy riffs crashing chaotically through the venue with Lee’s searing gravelly vocals and sending the crowd into pounding chaos.
Lee is an absolute powerhouse, and he’s not content with the gap that’s formed to accommodate the fist-swinging moshers in the middle of the pit, he wants everyone to “get in-fucking-volved”.
And they do, the room is throbbing with energy as the mosh pit swells with each track while the calmer fans on the edges dance and nod along to each hardcore melody and brutal beatdown. There’s a pretty huge reaction to each song the band have chosen in their set list tonight, and the crowd are particularly excited to hear the band’s latest single ‘Knives’, which they released for free download earlier last month, together with a video of their performance at this year’s Hevy Festival.
Feed The Rhino are one of the most exciting hardcore bands in the UK right now. They’re good on record, but they’re a band that has to been seen, so get down to one of their shows.
Feed The Rhino’s latest album ‘Mr Red Eye’ is out now on In At The Deep End Records. They will be joining While She Sleeps on their headline UK and European tour with Bury Tomorrow throughout October.
Review by Laura Callan
All Photos © Enrique Bazan