LIVE: Grieved / Rough Hands / Watchcries @ Old Blue Last, London

By James Davenport

Mid-week and tonight The Old Blue last plays host to one of our very own Punktastic events. Stockholm’s Grieved are performing their final London show before calling it quits. The quintet recently announced that they were “over it” and had decided to disband once they had completed their ‘farewell tour’ which included five UK dates, starting this evening in London.

Support comes from two Brighton based groups the first of which is Watchcries. Featuring ex-members of Torpor and Dopefight, Watchcries quickly establish themselves as they rip into their discordant blend of death metal and hardcore. With breakdowns and grooves that are simply impossible not to headbang to, vocalist Nats Spada brings her intense performance down to floor level, making Watchcries act simply inescapable.

Up next is Rough Hands who’ve come a long way since their earlier years, opting to let their style and sound mature over time rather than churn out the same typical hardcore record time and time again. Incorporating some slightly more atmospheric ideas into their music, Rough Hands have managed to create an entirely unique sound of their own. Their performance is both mesmerising and almost haunting at times, chilling chords that send a shiver down the spine compliment their devastating breakdowns. Both of which are adorned by Alex Dench’s piercingly high pitch screams as he looms above the crowd with a slightly contorted but dominant presence. There is an air of mystery surrounding Rough Hands and despite seeing them in the flesh, it seems nobody is any the wiser as to what that is exactly.

As “Sweden’s loudest boy band” Grieved take the stage there’s a bittersweet feeling to their act. For a band that have a considerable number of releases under their belt, it does feel as though this band never quite got the attention they deserved which feels even more evident by the number of people in attendance. Head counts aside, Grieved put on a formidable show playing their own brand of darkened hardcore at volume levels that one might only imagine possible on a of Spinal Tap amplifier.

A whirlwind of raw emotion and snarling aggression, frontman Marcus Lundqvist delivers each and every lyric as though it’s his last desperate breath. As well as clouting himself in the head with his microphone Lundqvist and Grieved give a spectacular, note for note perfect performance.

As the evening and this exhibit of young talent draws to a close there’s no obviously sad or upset emotions on display but rather a room full of people looking on with respect as Grieved’s swan song comes to an end. It’s more upsetting that Grieved never seemed to get the attention they deserved but those who weren’t there to witness their relatively short run as a band are sure to be the ones kicking themselves in the future. There’s not many current bands that perform with such passion and conviction as Grieved which is why it’s such a shame to see them go.