Featured image and gallery: Gracie Hall
Heads nod and palms bash thighs as hometown hardcore heroes, Incisions, rampage through their opening slot. “Look into my eyes,” gargles frontman, Jordan. The front row has no choice, as he spends most of the set patrolling the dance floor, mic pointing down towards his gullet, as he practically screams himself into an auto-tracheotomy.
They’re a frenzy of Battle’s lightspeed riffs and Tet’s Geiger counter drumming, and by the close of ‘Corrupted System’, Incisions have a couple of hundred new admirers. Now, get that man some Strepsils.
“I feel at home in Manchester,” says Spiritual Cramp’s leader, Mike Bingham. “It feels like I’m gonna get stabbed around every corner.”
Equal parts The Fonz and every 1980s Kiefer Sutherland villain, Bingham is an unstoppable crucible of charisma in the Californian sextet’s Manchester debut. He grows puce as he spills his guts into ‘Better Off This Way’ and ‘Slick Rick’ from their new self-titled album. His bandmates are no less notable, looking like an A-Team ensemble of semi-reformed bank robbers. Jose Luna, the band’s keyboardist/percussionist/Bez, has come equipped for an Arctic expedition, with a hefty red cagoule zipped around his face.
The band remove their outer layers to reveal fresh MCFC tops, which are met with a mixed pop of cheers and boos, and sweat patches big enough to fill a paddling pool. Although their music is straight-up rock ‘n’ roll – think The Hives or Danko Jones – there’s a sneaking feeling that the bigger the stage, the better they’ll be.
The audience mirrors Ian Shelton’s exuberance. The Militarie Gun vocalist bunny hops around the venue, almost sparking himself out on the Pink Room’s strobe lights, while a pit swirls and recoils below. Crowd surfers take to the waves during a super-charged version of ‘Pressure Cooker’, with one giddy devotee almost skittling bassist, Waylon Trim.
Meanwhile, Will Acuña stays well out of the way. The guitarist hides behind the PA, facing the wall at times, occasionally even resting his head against it, as though eavesdropping on arguing neighbours.
Belying their hardcore roots, the band are at their most potent when they dial down the pace. ‘Seizure of Assets’, ‘Will Logic’ and a stupendous take on ‘My Friends are Having a Hard Time’, all taken from their current Life Under the Gun album, make their earlier material sound uncouth in comparison.
Still, that doesn’t stop the mayhem, with one stage diver face-planting when the pit changes direction at the last second. Undeterred, he tries again later, nailing his landing during the pandemonium of final tune, ‘Do It Faster’.
Militarie Gun sprint through 21 songs in an hour, but with all the fat trimmed, they’d have a deadly shorter set. If they keep progressing, that won’t be an issue on their next album cycle.
Militarie Gun @ YES
Incision @ YES
Spiritual Cramps @ YES