[Live Report] Maths + Employed to Serve + Palm Reader @ The Unicorn (London)

maths

To welcome back the reformation of Maths, a long bill of UK screamo and post-hardcore band have been assembled to testify of how dynamic the scene is. The majority of these bands might not be revolutionary or destined to top the charts but they play the music they want to hear.

Human Future

First on the stage, the modern hardcore Human Future plays points strongly towards Comeback Kid but without the immediacy of the Americans. Instead, the British quintet adds a keyboard player to add some texture as well as some more repetitive drum parts to build up the epic feeling they want to convey. Sadly, the songs are not quite there yet and could loose one or two minutes each. These guys are on their way to something but they have not arrived yet.

Charlotte Light and Dark

This trio plays a more straightforward sort of screamo with only a drummer, a singer and a guitar player. The riffs have some good moments and the screechy vocals complements them well but the drumming seems out of place. Instead of offering a manic backbone, the drum kicks is too bass heavy which distracts from the two other musician’s contribution.

We Never Learned to Live

Now, it is hard to fin any fault in We Never Learned to Live‘s performance as they play their screamo very tightly with an added bonus of some post-rock tremolo. It’s nothing new, and I must admit that I didn’t pay attention as much as I should, but I would attribute this more to my own fault rather than their own.

Palm Readers

After playing five shows in one day a couple of weeks ago, the English quartet is still hungry for shows and demonstrates his willingness to destroy. Unlike in Charlotte and Dark, Palm Reader‘s drummer is a powerhouse that fits perfectly in the band’s sound and provides them an edge that most bands of this genre lacks. The genre is question is chaotic hardcore in the vein of Norma Jean (or emo Deadguy) mixed with some Dillinger Escape Plan. The young band performs with such professionalism that it wouldn’t be surprising to see them reach the same level of popularity as Architects in a few years if they keep their performance as energetic as this.

Employed to Serve

It’s amazing how fast Employed to Serve has evolved in a year. When I first saw them opening for Pariso and Wolf Down in December of 2013 they looked like kids who were having fun bashing out one mosh part after another. Now, they have strong songs and all look like a bunch of professionals who know how best to get the most out of the small crowd of fans assembled to seem them. Out of all the bands on the bill, they get the biggest reaction and it’s easy to see why. Now that Pariso have decided to call it quits, they could be the band that takes over the English hardcore underground and maybe also moves out of it. If they continue to progress as fast as they did in a year, who knows where they will be in 2016.

Maths

After a short break, Maths have finally returned and it’s a pleasure to welcome them back. With Throats they represented for a short while an idea of the potential of British hardcore before both bands disappeared. A few years later and both bands are back but the the momentum is probably gone for them to become more than legends of the underground. Truthfully, it does not seem to matter for the three musicians who are happy to play a perfect kind of screamo full of anguish and energy. The melodies are all quite touching and the band’s frontman, although not very charismatic, offers a fitting performance full of anguished vocals and touching monologue in between songs to thank the small crowd for coming and spending their time « way past bed time », as he says. It’s this lack of ego and the excellent performance of the drummer and the guitarist that made their set memorable, and probably the best of the night, despite the lack of a major crowd reaction. Maths offered the kind of show you can expect from a screamo band with all the instrumental mastery and emotion necessary to make this night one to remember.

No revolution in sight, yet, but a strong selection of bands with much to offer and who seem to have the determination to make people listen to what they have to say.

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