Live: Sick Of It All / Pay No Respect / War Charge / Kingpin @ The Classic Grand, Glasgow

By Samarth Kanal

The Classic Grand in Glasgow used to be a cinema, though its conversion into a gig venue certainly paid off, providing just as much spectacle as any movie ever could: Four storming hardcore bands and no barrier, coupled with some excellent sound made for a brilliant night.

Kingpin opened the gig with some tight playing and solid vocals. Thrashy hardcore which sometimes verged into metallic territory was belted out with conviction by the local band. It went quickly, but Kingpin provided a promising start.

The next Scottish openers, War Charge, were satisfyingly bassy, with a more raspy side to their vocals. A failed stage-dive was quickly looked over as ‘Repercussions’ got everybody hardcore dancing – solid high intensity cardio.

The last support act, Pay No Respect from Kent, took full advantage of some relentless drumming and excellent vocals. They could well have headlined the venue on another day, playing with so much presence and force. Perhaps it wasn’t weather for mosh shorts as the snow was bearing down on Glasgow, but Pay No Respect warmed up the crowd perfectly.

Sick of It All’s Lou Koller spoke to the crowd before him as if he’d hung out with every single person in the audience and we were all good friends. Unbelievably (for a hardcore show), this ended up being heart-warming as his booming, gravelly, New-York specked accent told everybody in the crowd to “just have a great time whether you’re in the back or up at the front”, before he thanked everybody for coming out on a Wednesday night and Pete Koller’s guitar tone filled up The Classic Grand to capacity.

Yes, it was a Wednesday night and perhaps The Classic Grand wasn’t sold out but Sick Of It All are so accomplished at what they do that they managed to inject so much energy into the venue. 29 years of being a band means that you tend to have that kind of effect on any size of crowd. Really, your enjoyment of them depends on whether you can look past that whole, slightly odd machismo thing. Songs like ‘Clobberin’ Time’ and ‘DNC’ thrived on that but nothing dragged on.

Where the band really came into their element – apart from their rapport with the crowd – was as Pete Koller’s engulfing, distorted guitar met the chugging bass of Craig Setari and Sick of It All belted out the songs that brought them where they are now. ‘Busted’ and ‘Sanctuary’ were examples in themselves as to why Sick Of It All are one of the most enjoyable hardcore bands to witness live. That was topped off with ‘Scratch The Surface’ ending the set, though there was no encore – the band skipped the formalities and delivered it anyway, in their matchless style.