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Wisdom In Chains, Argy Bargy, Injury Time, Proven @ The Underworld, Camden, London (UK)

WISDOM IN CHAINS / Argy Bargy / Injury Time / Proven
in Wednesday, 20 July 2016 at The Underworld Camden
by Anton Sanatov

Strength, integrity, solidarity, respect…all of these words – and many more of equal weight – may be assigned to describe the socio-musical construct that is the Hardcore Punk scene. The monochromatic simplicity of structure and absence of pretence of this genre allow for the development of character that is righteously intimidating but at the same time inherently virtuous; like a priest on a chopped hog.

It must be said that I was both eager and hesitant to undertake my first Punk reportage; for this was more than a simple concert outing – it was an overt infiltration of a sub-cultural community; a step into bellies full of yeast in the tattooed streets under the towers of iron values. I was an outsider – no ink upon my skin, no metal threading my cartilage, no ties to the slums – yet I was welcomed (permitted) to enter a close knit circle of dedicated comrades that resembled a family rather than a crowd – a sentiment that was also reflected in the performers.

The first to mount the stage were the local outfit PROVEN, who, after acknowledging the hardship of being an opening band, went on to be presented the kind of response that any primary act would be blessed to receive. Although not the most musically proficient, the band’s leaping enthusiasm and brutal honesty had the still somewhat scarcely-clad floor receive its share of pounding from a few enthusiastic Hardcore fans.

After extending an invitation to join them at a local pub for a drink to polish off the night, PROVEN allowed INJURY TIME to take to the stage – without a change of bassist – to ride the wave of kindred excitement. The band drove straight in, interacting with the crowd as if at a Sunday dinner table – even pulling a member of the audience (possibly a fellow musical ally) on stage to join them in a song.

Unfortunately, INJURY TIME were far from the most memorable collective of the night and were quickly overshadowed by the steamroller performance of the following outfit ARGY BARGY. The latter’s old-school flavour and road-worn attitude received instant recognition from the crowd and they proceeded to deliver a set full of energy – particularly from the untameable bassist Nicky Baxter - and skill, only to reap the well-deserved respect of the fans; pure class.

WISDOM IN CHAINS, who were all this time diligently observing their lesser-known contemporaries with the air of pure recognition, opened up the maelstrom of anarchy to its brim soon after ARGY BARGY completed their supercharged set. WISDOM IN CHAINS’ blend of Hardcore Punk and Heavy Metal had sent the audience into instantaneous fits of moshing and chanting; as well as aeronautical bouts of stage flight. As the front row – including yours truly - ended up being pressed like juiced fruit into the front of the stage, there was a strange sensation one felt as the bodies meshed together –one of a vicious yet passionate brotherly hug.

It was a night of unity and shared cause. The bands gave all they had and so did the audience – for that is what family does. Upon leaving the circle of that underground community after watching them break bread, I realised that I witnessed more than just a musical scene; I observed a way of life. And as I climbed back to the surface I could still hear the crowd yelling “WHOA OH OH OHHH” somewhere in the hollow of the city.

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