LIVE: Cancer Bats / Palm Reader / Lord Dying @ Rescue Rooms, London

By Andy Leddington

Just think – it’s cold, it’s been raining, it’s a Thursday night in January: what is there to do really? The laundry? Or go and watch a mental hardcore punk show in a small venue in Nottingham? We’ll take the latter.

Canadian metal maestros Lord Dying put on a surprisingly loud set for a support band, especially one without a bass player. Still, it is impossible to knock the groove that they bring to the table. Even though their live set was nothing particularly impressive to look at (the band preferring to stick to the microphones on the sides of the stages) their out-and-0ut heaviness and stirring riff-craft entice a notable number of people into headbanging along in approval. As a support band in a foreign country they were good – at their own show, potentially a bloody good time.

Now hometown boys Palm Reader kick off their whirlwind of a set with one of the noisiest intros ever. A lot of rumblings have been coming out about Palm Reader, and how excellent they are, and we are pleased to confirm the hype is entirely justified. The guys tore a new hole in the already Swiss-cheese-esque Rescue Rooms’ panoply of bands to have played an absolute blinder of a set, and despite the poor vocal sound they carried on as though they were playing to triple the amount of people they were. Although musically they sound closer to Converge or The Dillinger Escape Plan, Palm Reader seem to be lumped in with the rest of the UK hardcore scene – if this were the case all bar maybe one or two of those bands should take notes, because Palm Reader are in a class of their own, particularly when it comes to pulling off a minor riot on stage.

Some people criticised the quality of production on the latest Cancer Bats record (which is quite frankly a silly thing to do) but their live shows have never been up for debate as anything other than one of the greatest things you will ever witness. The boys do not disappoint – even with the set times cut shorter tonight Cancer Bats make up for it by playing fast, and playing fucking loud, only taking time out of their set to briefly thank the masses of people who turned up and for singer Liam Cormier to give an impassioned speech about the money he is raising for cancer research.

Old favourites like Pneumonia Hawk and the hardcore-punk staple that is Hail Destroyer go down a treat, and new songs like Arsenic In The Year Of The Snake and closing banger Satellites show that Cancer Bats have always been better at writing songs than over 90% of their peers. Watching them on stage you don’t even get the impression that they even want to break out into the mainstream – they seem perfectly happy to forego playing the mainstage at Reading & Leeds or Download for playing shows of a few hundred absolute lunatics, in a reasonably small venue, and show people how to really put on a good show.

Playing the music they do Cancer Bats will never be a huge, commercial band – and thank fuck for that.