Have Heart – Camden Underworld

By paul

With Rise and Fall, Shipwreck AD
July 23rd 2009

Fairly ironic that the first time Have Heart have sold out the Underworld is their last ever UK show. The place is heaving ? the queue stretching round the corner an hour after the doors should opened, people slowly filling in through the outrageously slow security system, waiting in anticipation for the last time they would hear ?Armed with a mind? played at them.

Before that particular cultural high, we were treated to fellow Bostonians, Shipwreck AD. Grumblings from rife around me ? ?this lot are pretty by the numbers?. Then someone said (and I paraphrase) ?fuck that, by the numbers works?. And it does for Shipwreck. Slow, intense old school stuff, played by guys who clearly loved Downset and early 90s hardcore as much as Black Flag. Powerful doesn?t really cover it. And with some memorable hooks too. They?ll be back on their own, I?m sure. (4/5)

Belgium?s Rise and Fall follow, with an altogether more frenetic sound and simpler ethics. Occasionally a deliberate drone, occasionally utterly lost on the Underworld?s PA, Rise and Fall are simultaneously simple and perhaps a bit too difficult. Brutal they definitely can be (and kudos to the singer for keeping a thermal shirt on over his tshirt whilst dripping in sweat) but they split the crowd down the middle between those impressed and those bemused. I?m not sure which category I would fall into. (3/5)

And so, the main event. Arguably (I think many would agree) the most important hardcore band of the last 3 or 4 years. Utterly regenerating hardcore with a unique ability to craft songs unlike anyone else. Destined to be placed in that canon of bands, in years to come, who people discover after they?ve split and recognize just how much they offered to bands who emulate them. It was clear before they even played a note that the band were as tinged by the loss as the audience ? extensive monologues from Patrick about the band, how good London has been to them, how he feels about the band splitting ? all made for a poignant show. Every song is played just with a bit more anger than I have seen before. Slower. More intense. Half the words sung by a crowd who have the microphone shoved in their faces everytime Pat?s voice (deadened by an ?80 gig tour?) gives way. They play almost everything off both albums, of course. The last chords of ?Watch Me Rise? probably sitting nicely in every audience member?s head for the tube journey home.

And so, come and gone in what seems to me, a 2 album flash (of course, they are now 7/8 years into a relentless touring schedule, so who can blame them?) Quite simply, a stunning band. The performance wasn?t perfect ? I?m sure a lot of the crowd had seen them play more not perfect ? but there was too much emotion going on tonight for a note perfect set. And that made it all the better. (5/5)