LIVE: Ho99o9 @ The Underworld, Camden

By Christopher Lee

American hip-hop come punk band Ho99o9 return to London to once again demonstrate just why they’re quickly becoming one of the best live bands around. On the hottest day recorded in June for over 40 years, The Underworld feels more akin to a sauna than a music venue and it’s about to get a whole lot hotter up in here.

You can cut the anticipation in the sold out venue with a knife and it feels like there’s even more people in this wonderful venue than normal. Predictably, there’s a huge roar as the venue is plunged into darkness but this feels different – this almost feels like an immovable object is about to smash right through Camden.

As the bass quite literally shakes the earth, the band’s two frontmen, theOGM and Eaddy, enter the fray to a cacophony of screams from the crowd. The former, sports his trademark blue balaclava which, unsurprisingly in this heat, doesn’t make it past the first track ‘Bone Collector’. The venue is almost instantly transformed into a sea of crowd surfers and bouncing as everyone seemingly loses their minds.

Throughout the evening, they employ the expert drumming skills of Brandon Pertzborn who, when he’s not tearing it up with Ho99o9, is either on tour destroying venue after venue with the mighty vegan warrior Doyle or Black Flag. Together, they forge a sound which is something of a cross old school hip hop and furious punk, yet is better than a lot of acts out there pertaining to be one genre or the other. The beautiful mix and flow of their raps, lyrics and, sometimes, obscure screams all contribute to forming their incredibly unique sound.

Blending these two genres together in their own way, Ho99o9 are the perfect example that sometimes it pays not to conform to any standards. After all, music is ultimately a form of artistic expression which Ho99o9 sum up perfectly in their refreshingly honest words of “we are Ho99o9 and we do what the fuck we want with our shit.”

What’s undoubtable is their ability to orchestrate complete and utter chaos wherever they go. The scenes created by their almost sadistic support is a sight to behold as there’s barely a second where a body or three can’t be seen floating above the crowd or diving from the stage. With scenes like this, it’s easy to see why their recent showcase at SXSW was shut down almost before it had even begun. However, there are no rules in music and Ho99o9 are not about to start adhering to anything or anyone as they demand circle pits and walls of death during the show.

That being said, Ho99o9 are an entity entirely unique from almost everything else currently out there; more importantly, their ‘don’t give a shit’ attitude to what they do is a beautiful thing. Ho99o9 are the future and if you don’t know about them now, you soon will.