LIVE: Judge, Survival, Inherit, xRepentancex @ The Dome, Tuffnell Park

By Glen Bushell

Hardcore by its very nature is a genre filled with superlative statements through the years such as “It will never happen again”, “The last time ever” and so on. It is because of statements like these that when Judge announced their return at The Black and Blue Bowl in New York last year the hardcore community was overjoyed, and kids around the world would wonder if this was a one off event, or something more.

Fast-forward just over a year later, the anticipation that fills the air for Judge’s first – and possibly only – UK show could be cut with a knife. This is something that for most people in the room, a spectacle they thought they would never see, and the look of excitement for tonight’s show is clear on people’s faces.

First up though are xRepentancex, who’s metallic hardcore transforms the dance floor of The Dome into what can only be described as a warzone from the moment they hit their first note. They are followed by the equally blistering Inherit, bringing a heavier edge to the classic old school hardcore sound. Manchester’s Survival then hit the stage like a ball of energy, clearly expanding their ever-growing fan base. All three of these support bands prove once again that hardcore in the UK is alive and well, and warm the crowd up in a fine fashion, but there is really only one reason anyone is here tonight.

The lights go down, the ‘Imperial March’ from Star Wars blasts through the PA, and Judge enter the stage blasting straight into ‘Take Me Away’. The next 45 minutes are complete carnage, as front man Mike Judge prowls the stage, taking charge of the crowd that is now a sea of flailing bodies and raised fists. The band churn through classic anthems ‘Bringin’ It Down’, ‘Fed Up!’, the goose bump inducing ‘The Storm’, and ‘I’ve Lost..’ with guitarist John Porcell bounding around the stage leading the charge and avoiding countless stage divers, and the ever looming presence of Mike Judge screaming every word like he means it, just as much as would have done in 1988. Before you can even catch a breath, the closing highlights of ‘Where It Went’, and ‘New York Crew’ ring out, it’s done. Judge brought the storm to London.

This was not just a trip down memory lane for both the band, and those in attendance, it was a reminder of the important role that Judge have played in shaping hardcore as it is today. If this is the one and only time we ever see Judge in the UK, then in years to come people will say “Where were you when Judge played in London?” because this was one of the most special nights the hardcore community has witnessed in years.