HARDCORE PUNK IS ALIVE AND WELL IN THE UK
I’LL DIE IF I WANT TO… FEST / TEMPLE OF BOOM
There’s something to be said about the claim that all the best music scenes are so underground that they can be found in basements, garages, and warehouses of the world. In a small basement on the cusp of Leeds 4, a young group of hardcore enthusiasts started to put on shows and form their own bands. A few years on, and we’ve seen a small explosion of this scene, with shows now taking place in larger venues, and some of said bands now playing tours across Europe and North America.
One of the chief instigators and spiritual guru of the movement, Liam Fox, recently organised a birthday show at the Millwright Studios Practice Space, known as the ‘Temple of Boom’, in order to bring together some of the best bands from the North of England that all fall together in the same radar of hardcore punk, and as a means to have a final swan song before stepping down from the demanding role of show organiser.
Surprisingly, this was my first venture to the venue, despite having shows there for the last few months. It is located in Mabgate, which is situated in between the centre of town and the Burmantofts estate. Discerning drinkers may remember the City of Mabgate, and the Black Horse. It is traditionally a rough area, where you were likely to come home with a broken window in your car and it used to be a known red light area of the city. There was even a pop-up wrestling shop at one point!
There are a lot of warehouses in the area, and the venue is inside one of them, and from looking out the back, it seems that it is not the only place that is trying to use the space creatively. The transformation-taking place in the area can be compared to a micro-level version of what was happening in the warehouses of Manchester in the late 80s/early 90s: Economically marginalised artists and musicians creatively using a space to express their wares.
The bands were playing in a large wide-room at the back of the space, which seemed a perfect size for a hardcore show. Through a long corridor was bar / chill-out area, which then opened up onto a large courtyard area, in which there was a temporary West-Indian catering rig set up on.
In Leeds we only have one venue that comes close to operating on collectivised principles, that being Wharf Chambers workers-co-operative. With the Temple of Boom we have the next best thing, a social enterprise run by someone involved within the hardcore punk community: a place operated by someone who ‘gets it’.
I don’t own any hardcore records, or listen to hardcore much at home, yet live I just love the mosh, and all the primal urges the music invokes. And of course that goes hand in hand with all the awesome people involved in the scene, some I hadn’t seen in years, and we picked up from where we last left off. I also picked up a copy of a new zine called ‘Reluctant Mosher’ which does a far better job than I ever could, to show enthusiasm, passion, and interest in the UK hardcore scene right now – go hunt it out!
For the limited time I was there, I saw three bands playing on the mid card. Black Cop from Scotland kicked off with a fast raging hardcore attack. They were followed by the local hardcore sounds of Perspex Flesh. Followed by Brighton hardcore band Die, who managed to get through a complete set, making up for the technical disaster they faced at Means to An End Festival. It’s safe to say that hardcore is alive and well in the UK, and this bill aptly demonstrated the varying styles on offer. Promoter Liam Fox will soon be stepping down from his position of organising shows in Leeds, and this blog his dedicated to him, and those that came before and after, who mercifully keep the scene alive with little or no reward or gratitude.
|Liam Fox - Take a bow my son|
Now go search on the internet for some more awesome upcoming shows & gigs at The Temple of Boom.
Photos © Charlee Rowton