LIVE: Fort Hope / Dead! @ The Borderline 

By Tamsyn Wilce

Fort Hope are a band that are creating quite a storm at the moment, having gained an almighty amount of praise for their latest EP release, as well as backing from the giants at Radio 1, selling out London’s Borderline was just another check box for the band to tick. But could they live up to they hype?

Support came from Southampton based Dead!, who have certainly created an identity around themselves. They’ve gained an honest and respectful fanbase and it’s all through sheer dedication and self-promotion that they’ve come this far. As they launch into their set on the Borderline stage, the energy from the band is endearing and they work the crowd with ease. They start strong, working through tracks from last year’s EP ‘Tu Me Manques’ with a charismatic style, unfortunately though drummer Elliott Grant was taken seriously ill midset and the band had to cut their performance short. Incredibly disheartening for the band, as it left an eery atmosphere in the room and they were unable to prove their potential to those in attendance.

With a quick turn around, Fort Hope brought their set forward half an hour, not wanting to leave their crowd waiting under such difficult circumstances. The elegant piano introduction of ‘Plans’ chimed in, followed by that distinctive guitar line that launches the band into the fiery verse and within an instant, the mood in the venue has changed and Fort Hope have full control.

This headline UK tour stint has been in celebration of their latest self-titled EP and though it’s only been available a matter of weeks, the audience chant back every word, with ‘Sick’ being the most powerful of the night. On record the track has an intensity about it that really flaunts Fort Hope at their finest, but when you hear 200 odd people singing back the empowering chorus it certainly leaves an impression.

They continue on, with frontman Jon Gaskin working the stage like a true performer, his voice soaring above and beyond. Though, if we have one nag it’s that the addition of voice effects were totally unnecessary, with moments of added echo and electronic effects, it almost ruined the real sound of Gaskin’s voice. That aside, their performance as a unit was solid and the addition of material from 2014’s ‘Courage’ was definitely a treat, reminding us all of why this band grabbed our attention in the first place. ‘I’m On Fire’ took a stripped-back, acoustic approach, giving it a gentle twist that wasn’t expected but actually, it totally worked and offered a moment of rest from the pounding drums and throbbing bass lines that had dominated much of the set.

‘Control’ brought the evening to a close triumphantly. The first single they released as a band and still, over a year later it’s the one that receives the warmest welcome from the crowd, as their screams and chants take over. It’s been a night of ups and downs, and the venue didn’t allow them to fully play to their strengths, but Fort Hope pulled it out the bag and will undoubtedly grow to bigger and better things from here on out.