Breaking through calm anticipation, England’s Your Demise blister onto the stage, inciting rapid mosh , literally, from the first pounding note. This crowd knew it was in for an intense performance, and never are they in a mood to dally. Within a few minutes Billboards digestion has moved from stolidly settled to distinctly shaken. I feel air rushing behind me as the middle of the crowd opens up to reveal the true believers making shapes. By the end of the night, the energy they have laid there will cause bottles to rattle for hours on the desolate bar shelves. “Shine on” and “Burnt tongues” put skulls beneath tires as the barrier security work hard to benevolently free stage divers. Ed himself pays a visit to the plebes giving us the mic and sailing on the kinesis. Classic jams (The kids we used to be…) are thrown in with new tracks (Forget about me) giving us a taste of fresh material to be released in late March.
Californian punks Letlive. have a violent precedent to match in Your Demise’s anthemic carnage. Frontman Jason Butler challenges the charisma of McRae, doing flips, running through the crowd, diving from monitors, and finally, losing the microphone over a lighting rig at the back of the stage. I surf over the barrier and see a quagmire of people collectively losing their jellybeans. Frenetic moments (a Black Flag cover that is dedicated to “the circle pit that is about to happen right there”) are balanced with sing along honesty that reaches an apex in the family-like rendition of “Muther”. An element of charmed humbleness enters into the chaos onstage as fans echo every lyric. Butler is a consummate rockstar, manipulating the crowd; making them scream and howl like drunk porpoises. “Renegade ‘86”, “H. Ledgar” and “The sick, sick, 6.8 billion” go down like a coked up opponent, while the audience requested “Day 54” brings things to new heights. They are unstoppable and never have we seen a thing like their rapacity.
Enter Shikari come onstage whilst the darkness is humming with a “Shikari” chant; our voices all lacquered from a spontaneous group rendition of “One armed scissor” in a gap earlier. Clearly the majority of tonight’s crowd have come to see the headliners, as the sometimes timid assembly pushes in to cover every inch of space at the barrier. It doesn’t take more than a few moments for the English lads to justify this either. Their electronic sound is positively visceral here. Every melodious shard hits home in the stomach like a pristine diamond. Reynold’s banter between tunes doing nothing to calm the audience as he announces “I’m going to fuck with your minds” before a singalong bash of new material. Fan favourite “Sorry, you’re not a winner” bursts out three songs in and really puts shit through the windscreen; those famous claps preternaturally loud. Suddenly there are the silhouettes of giants everywhere as a men and women climb onto the shoulders of neighbours to wash in the powerful halogen lights. Hands made into inverted triangles cut shapes in the night’s playdough. It’s a life affirming experience. As close to family you’ll get on planet Earth.