Doom (pic – Elliot capper)
Adversity, the random trials of life strengthening community resolve to strive their way to a better situation. That was a reason why the 1 in 12 club was set up in response to the wonderful success the Tories were making of parts of the country in the 1980’s and what a perfect setting for localish crust legends Doom to host this festival.
The Chile Benefit is Doom’s way of providing direct assistance from themselves and their punk brethren and sisterhood to the families and victims of the shocking tragedy that occurred at their gig in Santiago, Chile recently.
All of us have been in crazy gig situations, have shared these with fellow fans and bands, and have the empathy of feeling of something that should be a cause for exuberance and release could end up being one of loss and disbelief.
The first big festival I went to (Donington ’88) people died, didn’t even know at the time, and it was reported on the news before our parents would even know whether it was us or not, (“mobile phone?”, what is this? Star Trek?).
In finding out afterwards there was this cold hollowness in the pit of the stomach thinking “Shit, that COULD have been us”, things were out of control, chaos, riding the line between fear and excitement, the friendly violent fun.
The circumstances of the Chile gig are explained as close as first hand by Doom drummer Stick here (link), but you can picture it, you can picture your friends and fellow fans being in this situation. And there is already the community of largely like/open-minded fans inspired by the crust punk scene that Doom have been a standard bearer (see “Hail to Sweden“ 😉 ) for, and inspiration to, over decades, who understand about solidarity and support, equality amid anarchy, here and worldwide. Hence a great volunteering of bands that turned a prospective one day event into a weekend and a great attendance of people generous in spirit and actual action.
Friday was a condensed evening session, but blew us away with non-stop quality. Los Pecadores got us in the party mood with their surf punk stylings, a really nice contrast and can’t help but enjoy even if it’s not the heavy or angry. Burning Flag always put in a storming show, great melody and a bouncing power to their metally punk, tunes that really hook you. Wolfbeast Destroyer were an animal indeed, ferocious harsh riffing metallic crust with a battering back beat, the singer spent a lot of time taking the message right to the crowd up front. The Wankys hadn’t really clicked for me before when I’d seen them, the shriek vocals being a bit of an un-acquired taste to me, but this time they were carried along on a tsunami of blistering drumming that was intense and made the whole thing impressive. To finish the night another blast from the past that has just returned from the dead, War Wound. With their connections to Sacrilege and Rat (Varukers/Discharge) fronting them they had as much energy and impact as ever, short and sharp onslaughts of prime UK hardcore, a spot-on celebration of an ending to the evening.
Saturday the cycle started again with morning hair of the dog and a gradual drift back to the club for the early afternoon start. First up were Demise who I think have been relatively recently set up, but still delivered some great relentless heavy d-beat, great drumming as ever from Hank (ex Nu Pogodi among others). Then Stuck In A Rut, who give us a more stripped down US hardcore style, quite laid back in delivery even if their lyrical content is righteously angry. Me old muckahs Skitvarld bring the noise next, I even bum rush the show for a song, but they are really on top form with driving punk noise, great interaction from the two vocalists Agz and Andi. Have to take a break from proceedings myself to go off and gig elsewhere, but the day apparently got better and better until Doom completed the pandemonium party at the end of the night, with the good humour and friendship bonds making for smiles and laughter all round.
Sunday was a bit later afternoon start appropriately for us zombies running on (alcohol) fumes we were eased into the day by a little folk punk from Brian Curran then some sludgy grooves to clear the head, or fog it all the more, who knows! First Lizard Tongue who drew out some lengthy riffs but kept quite a melodic stoner vibe running through their set, undoubtedly heavy but quite a different vibe for this start of the session. Groak next didn’t really accelerate things but their using PA amps for the guitars created a humongous wave of filth that they ground out though their dirges, Ben’s tortured vocals really bringing some emotional resonance to the cacophony. Had our own fast and furious interlude with Emissaries of Syn which was an absolute privilege, hurdling all the technical gremlins and having much fun along the way. Missed the vicious punk sludge of Siege Mentality through sorting our own logistics but was back again for long standing Anarcho heroes Cress. The stomping drum machine beat has a hypnotic, insistent quality that charges along their angry anthems, all against the projected backdrop of appropriately challenging film clips. Great contrast between the fierce and reasoned vocalists too. Always coming up with the goods Skiplickers give one of the most non-stop frenetic performances of the weekend, the vocalist roaring his lungs up amid the thundering, chaotic and raw d-beat attack. A cover of “Banned from the pubs” goes down a storm too, although apparently it robs final act Sedition of the chance to do it as well! There’s an interlude for the raffle first that brings great hilarity and not too much controversy and then we’ve one last race to the finish. You’d never guess these old school Scots hardcore bunch hadn’t done much in ages, they riff with incredible speed and the frontman entertains with great gurning. A wild, and sweat soaked ending to the proceedings
So, from dark days, sparks of inspiration lead to fires in the hearts, people gather to share the warmth, things start getting a bit brighter. Literally thousands of pounds were raised and doubts and dispersions were cast aside as a positive outcome and atmosphere was created and hopefully will carry back to Chile and help pick up the pieces and piece them together over there. And it was great to hear that the club that is this little hub and focus of an alternative world had had its own unexpected bonus with a member donating thousands of pounds of his “Fifteen to One” quiz show winnings to the place! If inspired by this ongoing spirit of genuine generosity and communal consideration, you can pick up a download compilation of all the bands appearing here