LIVE: Heck, Raketkanon, Zoax @ The Borderline, London

By Lew Trott

The penultimate date of Heck’s album release tour takes place in the heart of Soho. The Borderline has played host to many legendary gigs in its time, I doubt many have bared resemblance to a battlefield before.

“Wel-fucking-come” exclaims Adam Carroll before bursting into song, the entirely excellent Zoax open up the show with all the swagger this tiny North London venue can handle. ‘The Bad Blood’, the first single from the band’s self-titled debut, along with ‘Devils Dance’ and a handful of others are presented in the capital for the first time. The rockier tunes go down well with the bulging crowd, not quite as agro as previous output, regardless of tenacity people hit the dance floor. In a live setting everything is upped tenfold. Seamlessly blending epic melodic breaks with riffs made of stone is clearly a winning combo. The lack of older material is an afterthought, who’s cares when these new ones do the business!?

Belgium isn’t just the home of Eden Hazard and delicious chocolate, oh no, noise rockers Raketkanon happen to hail from there too. The band are even more baffling live than on record, immediately attacking ears with woozy synths, the set explodes into life. Bemusing but oddly calming, long periods of piercing synths combined with chilling feedback make for the most disgusting soundscapes. With a bunch of sweaty oiks in front of them the band couldn’t sound more at home. The fact that Raketkanon don’t have bassist only enforces the general bamboozlement on offer. Bassless but by no means lacking balls, the slack is picked up by the night’s hardest drum hits, an everlasting supply of pedals and crazy Belgium black magic. A small contingent of ultras dance to every note, things really hot up when probably their most well-known song, ‘Florent’ sees singer Pieter-Paul Devos eerily whisper before yelling unforgivingly, providing a masterclass in terrifying mouth noises. Leaping into the crowd at every available opportunity and a classic drum kit trashing meant Raketkanon certainly made their mark.

Just as Heck’s debut ‘Instructions’ takes you on a journey, tonight’s show is quite the trip. Not only is it how you feel after one of their shows, ‘Good As Dead’ is Heck’s opening track. Mirroring the band, the sold out Borderline goes absolutely bananas. ‘Fastback’ clocks in at just over a minute long, played with vicious intensity, tonight the running time was just about halved. There’s no messing around.

Somewhere in the madness a guitar is snapped in half, it almost seemed like a non-event, laughing it off the guitar is thrown to other side of the stage. An excitable Tom Marsh escaped from his kit and headed for the crowd, his trusty kick drum acting as a surfboard. A mess of leads, guitars and mic stands follow the boys across the rooms on their adventures, “Hey Paul, look at the people over here”. Matt Reynolds can hardly believe the amount of people watching his band.

The mammoth ‘I. See The Old Lady Decently II. Buried Although III. Amongst Those Left Are You’ closes the set and with it brings the most stage dives all night, the hardest riffs and a fitting sense of finality. The quiet moments see the whole crowd sit down, lighters up style. After a much needed rest that solo hits, a few more minutes of bonkers action and it’s time to end. Taking their place on top of the sound desk, the centre of the floor and lastly the stage, the night’s final words are let out. “This isn’t over. This will never be over!”.

Catching his breath Reynolds cannot hide his appreciation, “This isn’t just the best show of the tour, it’s the best show of our fucking careers!” Need I say more?