Why you should get into the thriving U.K hardcore scene

Posted on 28 December 2023
By Pratham Bhagudia
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Hardcore seems to be having something of a moment right now in 2023. Bands like Turnstile, Knocked Loose and Malevolence seem to sell out arenas instantly, whereas new upstarts such as scowl and sunami are gaining traction on Tik-Tok, bands from the scene such as High Vis and Nothing are getting praise from the critics who would normally never touch the genre with a ten-foot barge pole. 

To the newly iniitiated it might seem that these bands have just come out of nowhere and it’s nothing more than a fad that will be forgotten about soon. But it isn’t. Hardcore has a thriving underground that’s a breeding ground for a host of new acts ready to take over, playing a wide variety of styles with an independent DIY community helping it grow rather than music industry suits watering it down. Independent musician led labels are nurturing and boosting new talent in cities all across the U.K, putting on shows, helping venues thrive. 

Hardcore belongs to these venues and people, so if you want to get into what I think is the last true bastion of real authentic heavy music, skip the expensive live nation tour and go to a local hardcore show.

The capital of the thriving hardcore scene is Leeds. Leeds is home to Boom, which is one of the few venues that is owned by hardcore kids themselves. The city has been a breeding ground for many of the scene’s breakout stars such as the excellent Higher Power to the chaotic and frantic Static Dress. Both these bands got their start cutting their teeth in venues like boom and have now gone on to tour internationally. The venue has also hosted International acts such as Gel and SPY.

This scene is also home to my personal breakout artist of 2023, Pest Control, a band playing nasty, fast in your face crossover-thrash, their debut album Don’t Test the Pest, is my album of the year. I recently managed to catch Pest Control on tour with Obituary, who I hate to say they stole the show from.

Sadly, Boom seems to be facing financial crisis and is threatened with closure, but in true hardcore fashion Static Dress and Higher Power are headlining a two-day fest to save the venue. Other acts appearing include pest control, UKHC titans the Flex and Newcastle brutal bruisers Bloodfury. The fest is now sold out, I was lucky enough to grab a ticker and can’t wait to see some of UK’s finest tear the venue apart.

But it isn’t just Leeds, all over the country there is a thriving scene. In Glasgow the Northern Unrest collective is home to some of the most exciting new bands such as Despize, Demonstration of Power, Hellbound and Nothing but Enemies. Recently the collective took a big leap and in April put on a festival, bringing over U.S bands Mindforce and Gridirion, the festival which took place in a community center was a success and I hope there are more.

 There are also vibrant scenes in Brighton, London, Birmingham, Coventry, and Newcastle.

It would also be criminal of me not to mention our Liverpool hardcore scene with Counterculture Records putting on some of my favourite nights, I was absolutely gutted I had to miss the November all dayer, which featured some of the cream of the crop of U.K hardcore and Swedens Existence headlining. These L1 hardcore nights are regularly held in the city’s Outpost pub and are an excellent way to see some amazing bands and meet some friendly people.

Although tickets to the boom fundraiser gig are sold out you can still donate to try and save the venue: https://www.seetickets.com/event/save-our-home-boom-benefit-show/boom/2858131