36 CRAZYFISTS + Poison The Well. O2 Academy, Oxford. 06.03.09

This isn’t a gig, it’s a party. A really loud and really sweaty party.
From the second he bounds on stage, 36 Crazyfists vocalist and talented grizzly bear impersonator Brock Lindow treats tonight like it’s a hometown shindig and his best friends are moshing below him. The man’s attitude is downright infectious too and though the first strains of ‘I’ll Go Until My Heart Stops’ are harrowed screams, it’s impossible not to have a great time tonight.

Of course it’s difficult to be down when you’ve just seen Poison The Well play. The pioneering hardcore band might not share as many jokes as the headliners but from the opening assault of ‘Letter Thing’ to the fantastic final flurry of ‘Nerdy’, they’re perfect. Fucking perfect. And a lengthy set (rather than the 20-minute outings PTW have endured on these shores recently) means they’re able to pick from a back catalogue that has amazed, astounded, and confused people over the last decade with greedy glee. ‘Artist’s Rendering Of Me’ is a the same firebomb of a song it was 10 years ago, ‘Botchla’ is achingly beautiful but raw and aggressive as well, and if the two new songs aired tonight are anything to by then the band’s forthcoming fifth album (Titled ‘Tropic Rot’ if we heard Jeff Moriera correctly) is going to fit in perfectly.

Which should probably be quite hard to follow. Except as 36 Crazyfists really get their set going it becomes very clear who the crowd have come to see. The whole room turns into a fantastically off-key choir for the big choruses of ‘At The End Of August’ and ‘Bloodwork’, spins into a huge circle pit powered by the barreling power of ‘Elysium’, and goes suitably apeshit for metallic ragers like ‘We Gave It Hell’. And it’s fun and all (even the wall of death is good-natured) but for a group that started in the wintry wastes of Alaska, survived the major-label wringer, and were supposed to have disappeared with nu-metal, it’s very impressive stuff. See these bands live as soon as possible.

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