Taste of Chaos Tour - Newport Centre
Live Review

Taste of Chaos Tour – Newport Centre

Downgraded from the rather roomy confines of the C.I.A, this years Welsh stop of the annual Taste of Chaos tour has moved down the road and set up camp in wait for it….. ..a leisure centre. Yes you read that right, complete with the ever present aroma of chlorine, and an women’s aerobics class in the bar and all (seriously). Sure, the Newport Centre isn’t the most typical of surroundings for your average punk rock gig, but dodgy venue and Lycra clad mums aside, it’s the music that matters tonight, and hey; at least your feet aren’t getting stuck in some sub-human ooze on the floor, and it doesn’t smell like a P.E teachers armpit.

Kicking off proceedings tonight are local boys and scene favourites The Blackout, who seem to have pulled off the rather nifty trick of turning up about five years too late. Peddling a rather limp version of the sort of post-hardcore with which Funeral For A Friend made their name before they decided singing about the sea was a much better idea; and sporting a set of fringes any self respecting Myspace enthusiast would be proud of , The Blackout seem to be devoid of literally any ideas of their own to add to the already rather over saturated and outdated mix. Cliché is heaped upon cliché throughout the duration of their set, with the scream/sing/scream dynamic rolled out at every available opportunity, while each and every riff is so pedestrian, that all of a sudden playing with the traffic seems like a good idea.

The award for best intro music this evening (and quite possibly ever), goes to Gallows, who stroll out to the theme tune from Only Fools And Horses. Quite simply GENIUS. Usually so vital and literally in your face in the live arena, tonight the Watford fivesome just aren’t at their volatile best. Perhaps it’s the rather muted reaction of the crowd, (most of whom it appears are much too busy applying their eye-liner in anticipation of Aiden to be interested) or maybe it’s the muddy sounding mix that blunts their impact, but either way, tonight’s performance lacks the explosive energy that has become their trademark. That’s not to say that the whole set was without its highlights however, In The Belly Of A Shark is delivered with the sort of force usually associated with a bouncers etiquette, while the now customary set closer / riot inducer Orchestra Of Wolves is as feral and ferocious as ever.

Following Gallows is no easy task, but apparently if you’re Aiden and you have your very own miniature army of make up clad fans baying at your every gesture, no matter how insignificant, apparently it’s no big deal. However, if you don’t happen to be here accompanied by your (rather bemused and embarrassed looking) parents this evening, the phrase style over substance jumps quickly to mind. Clumsily mashing together elements of The Misfits and The Cure and hoping for the best is not big, nor is it clever, no matter if you do dress it up with some nicely choreographed stage moves and a flashy light show.

Faking it is not an accusation that could be easily levelled at Rise Against however. With a back catalogue of straight up, no nonsense punk rock older than a lot of the members of tonight’s audience to draw from, and a reputation as one of the best live bands currently doing the rounds, there’s certainly a sense of expectation to be met; and tonight they certainly don’t disappoint. From the moment the opening chords of Black Masks and Gasoline ring out, there is literally no let up from a constant assault of machine gun drums and buzz-saw riffing. Effortlessly commanding frontman Tim Lambesis sings every note like he really means it, and isn’t just here to remind you that ‘hey we have some merch to sell at the back’, while the crowd respond in the only way that is really appropriate; by throwing themselves about with total reckless abandon, this Glasswerk writer included. Hell, it’d be rude not to.

The job of closing proceedings this evening falls to The Used who, flanked by a backdrop of cut-outs of iconic Americans (why exactly still remains unclear ), are about as flat as the cardboard their stage set has been assembled from. Intensity of performance, which is admittedly pretty high this evening, can only hide the fact that you haven’t really got the songs to back it up for so long, and then, as is the case here, well, it all seems rather forced and ‘professional’, two words not commonly associated, i hope you’ll agree, with having a good time.

Like Aiden before them, they clearly have massively devoted fan-base, (although what exactly they’re devoted too is somewhat suspect), that means even if they just turned up and played the kazoo for a bit, the whole room would probably leave exclaiming they had just witnessed the single greatest musical event ever to have graced the face of the Earth. The reality of the situation however, is unfortunately somewhat less exciting, some might even say (in hushed tones of course, lest you get accosted by a militant Used fanatic) not very exciting at all.

It’s a somewhat anti-climactic way to end the evening, but despite that, as the sweaty masses fall out into the night it seems that whatever you came looking for at this years Taste Of Chaos, be it a hefty slice of hardcore punk or an extra large dose of Aiden, bizarrely enough, you more than likely found it tonight in a leisure centre in Newport.

Picture by Dan Ryan

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