Total insanity prevailed at the Star and Garter in Manchester on Monday night, as NYC hardcore legends Agnostic Front blitzed their way through a frantic 60 minute set like a heavily-tattooed juggernaut.
Legends is a word that can be banded around too loosely at times, but on this occasion the accolade is fully justified. The band are touring a staggering 30 years since the release of their classic album 'Victim in Pain'; a seminal album (along with 'United Blood') which pushed the band to the forefront of the New York Hardcore scene, and is partially responsible for the development of the hardcore genre itself, along with the aforementioned NYHC scene which produced the likes of Warzone, Cro-Mags and Murphy's Law.
The supporting bands tonight, Strikeout (Preston), Mos Eisley (Manchester) and Night Stalker (Leeds) do remarkably well to support their New York counterparts given the task that's been handed to them, and are given a warm reception by the score of people whove come upstairs to watch them. There were a few teething problems with the microphones and bass amps but fortunately this didnt spoil their respective sets.
Agnostic Front's energy in their live performances has always been held in high regard. This hasn't diminished at all in over 30 years of touring as tonight's performance proves. Vocalist Roger Miret is in to his 50's now, but hes still got a seemingly relentless amount of vigour and vitality at his disposal. He has a formidable stage presence which, coupled with a substantial back catalogue of songs, combines to form a great set list for tonights show and guarantees that a good night is had by all.
They blast off with 'Eliminator', and the crowd is instantly boisterous; bodies flying left right and centre, fists swinging, a circle pit and sporadic anarchy in the ranks of a small but animated mob. This is the theme for the rest of the night, as they rip through classic songs such as 'Friend or Foe', 'Victim in Pain' and more recent songs such as 'My Life, My Way' and 'For my Family'. Crowd pleaser 'Crucified' was requested by one fan after it had already been played, so Miret duly obliged to play the song again. This ultimately spawned the most vicious pit of the night.
In a nice touch by guitarist Vinnie Stigma, he compared The Star & Garter to the infamous CBGB's club in New York, and urged the crowd to keep supporting the venue.
The last song of the night was a tribute to The Ramones in the form of 'Blitzkrieg Bop' with Miret citing the importance of their influence in the creation of the punk and hardcore fraternities.
The set sprints past incredibly quickly and before long the New Yorkers leave the stage.
The crowd leave the venue sweaty, exhausted and somewhat battered and bruised. But they won't care in the slightest; they have been thoroughly pleased with what they've seen tonight.
Agnostic Front did not disappoint, but then again that was never on the cards in the first place.
Dead To Me
My Life My Way
For My Family
Friend Or Foe
Victim In Pain
All Is Not Forgotten
Riot, Riot Upstart
Take Me Back
A Mi Manera