LIVE: Bane / Code Orange @ The Underworld, London

By Glen Bushell

As much as we often hate to admit it, all good things eventually come to an end. Nothing lasts forever, and one day, things that we love will become a nostalgic memory. Such is the case for tonight’s headliners Bane, who are calling time on their 20 year career, and wrapping up the UK leg of their final European tour in London. Their passion and enthusiasm for hardcore has won them a devoted legion of fans across the globe, and their influence can be felt within countless bands throughout the scene.

However, tonight is not an evening of mourning. While it is sad that we won’t be seeing Bane again, it is more of a celebration of the bands achievements at the Underworld on this wet Thursday evening. A glance around the room shows a mixture of old fans – some who rarely attend shows these days but have come out for this special occasion, and a younger generation, who may even be seeing Bane for the first time tonight. People exchange stories of previous times they have seen Bane, what the band means to them, and wait in anticipation for what would be an emotionally charged performance.

Before that, we welcome the leaders of the new generation of hardcore back to London. Of course we’re talking about the one and only Code Orange from Pittsburgh. It’s been little over a year since the band unleashed their staggering album ‘I Am King’ (which exponentially raised the bar for hardcore) and in that time they have become a devastating force. ‘My World’ and ‘Slowburn’ sound colossal in tonight’s small venue, and the low end guitar tone of ‘Alone in a Room’ shakes the floor beneath your feet. Primary vocalist Jami Morgan possesses are quality in being able to command the crowd from behind his drum kit, better than most standalone front men could, resulting in a dance floor that resembles a battlefield in front of them. Ending on the crushing title track from ‘I Am King’, they almost take every bit of energy from the crowd, and even as I stand in the back, I find myself exhausted. Regardless, Code Orange effortlessly prove why they are the future of aggressive music.

Thankfully, the crowd is still breathing as Bane hit the stage, and the reception is rapturous. Launching straight into ‘Calling Hours’, vocalist Aaron Bedard barely has to sing, as every voice in the room screams the lyrics back at him. There is even a spine-tingling moment as they are joined by Code Orange guitarist Reba Meyers towards the end of the song, her vocals soaring through the air. From there on, it is a classic Bane set. Guitarists Aaron Dalbec and Zach Jordan bounce around with intensity, never taking a moment to drop the onstage energy. ‘Ali Vs Frazier I’ is still as moving as the first time you heard it on ‘Give Blood’, and sits comfortably next to the bittersweet ‘Final Backward Glance’ from last year’s swan song album, ‘Don’t Wait Up’.

One of the attractions of Bane, has always been Bedard’s stage presence. He loses himself in every song, and pours every part of his being into the performance; this is backed by his between song speeches, which are as moving as they are charming. He explains the songs, and what this music has meant to him and his brothers, with whom he has shared the stage for the majority of his adult life. They dig deep into their back catalogue for a powerful run through of ‘Count Me Out’, the Van Gogh inspired ‘Sunsets and Sunflowers’, and of course chaos ensues during ‘Can We Start Again’ – which has not only become the quintessential Bane track, but a landmark hardcore anthem; meaning more now than ever.

Before we know it, their set is over, and we bid farewell to Bane for the last time. Upholding a legacy like theirs is no easy task, but these Boston icons are clearly going out in style. Their final performance on our shores is one that will be remembered by tonight’s audience for a long time, preserving Bane’s place in hardcore history.