The 21 hottest live bands on earth right now

These are the greatest bands performing live right now. Catch them while you can!

The 21 hottest live bands on earth right now
Dan Slessor, David McLaughlin, Luke Morton, Mischa Pearlman, Nick Ruskell, Paul Travers, Sam Law
Andy Ford, Angela Owens, Nick Sayers, Nat Wood

There’s nothing quite like walking away from a gig knowing that you’ve just witnessed something very, very special indeed. Allow us, then, to introduce you to The Hottest Live Acts On The Planet right now: 21 emerging talents, breakout bands and superstars of tomorrow who are currently setting venues ablaze on their ascent up the rock ranks. Trust us – you’re going to want to say, ‘I was there…’ about these shows in years to come…


Anyone for a hip-hop/punk-metal/noise petrol bomb? These New Jersey maniacs have got you covered…

There is nothing that can adequately prepare you for an encounter with Ho99o9. A hip-hop outfit welding their beats and raps to the explosive energy of punk and the roar of metal, it’s more like an assault than music. Live, when you’ve got theOGM and Eaddy hanging off the ceiling, throwing themselves into one another and looking like someone could get hurt at any moment, it’s basically a riot in gig form.

When they joined The Dillinger Escape Plan as support on that band’s final tour on these shores, they were still relatively unknown over here. However, ‘Who?’ quickly turned into ‘WTF?’ as their harsh sounds, blinding strobes and violent performances proved the headliners’ spirit of music-as-a-weapon was in safe (or, indeed, dangerous) hands. That The Prodigy took the band out and even collaborated on merch with them only solidifies Ho99o9’s pedigree. Untroubled by genre or physical limitations, they are quite simply one of the most visceral and exciting live experiences you will ever see.

Amyl And The Sniffers

An extremely feral, fun and ferocious force of nature from Down Under…

Given that Melbourne’s Amyl And The Sniffers formed, wrote, recorded and released their debut EP Giddy Up in the space of just 12 hours – yes, you read that right – it’s little surprise that the Australian garage punks’ live shows are equally as frenzied.

And while the four-piece’s brash and acerbic songs are matched wholeheartedly by their energetic gigs, it’s really the antics of frontwoman Amy Taylor that make the band stand out. Why? Because it’s clear she absolutely doesn’t give a single fuck. Except maybe about whipping the crowd into a whirlwind of delirious excitement.

This is something she does without fail at every gig, giving each breakneck blast of throwback punk all she’s got to give. And she’s not afraid of getting right in amongst it, ensuring that by the end of each set she’s covered in sweat and thick, smeared black eyeliner, making her look both terrifying and unhinged. Couple that with a vocabulary that would make you – let alone your mother – blush and it’s a winning combination for one of the most refreshing and wild live experiences around.

Yet for all the band’s fiery onstage antics – fistfights between band members, for example – there’s more to it than sheer spectacle. Much of the appeal and charm is in the noise backing it all up, channelling old-school ’70s punk legends like The Stooges and The Damned, but updated for this generation. Far from affectation, mind, this lot walk it like they talk it, living the only way they know how – fast, loud and with joyful, reckless abandon.

It’s hard to imagine that they’ll keep this up forever. Theirs isn’t the kind of band who are likely to stick around for decades. Nor should they. But right now, they’re one of the most vital live acts in the world. So go see them while you still can.


A fucked-up and frothing expulsion of innermost fears and furies, for which nothing can prepare you…

Blood. Sweat. Saliva. Vomit. They’re all in a night’s work for Alexis Marshall and his disjointed, no-wave noisemongers Daughters.

Whether they’re crammed inside our Brooklyn K! Pit or playing to thousands of horrified onlookers at this year’s Roadburn festival in the Netherlands, the Rhode Island experimentalists can turn any venue into a suffocating pit of anguish and despair.

Rarely spending any time onstage, the Daughters atmosphere is nothing short of intense, with Alexis barking into fans’ faces and clambering over bodies, while screaming venomous bile into the air. Band and audience alike enter a trancelike state thanks to the punishing, hypnotic nature of the music and the nightmarish aura that surrounds them.

On the surface they’re frightening and antagonistic, but there’s an undercurrent of vulnerability, too, creating a unique cocktail of fear and adrenaline, as if anything could happen at any moment. It’s a delicate balancing act of extremity in all forms, but whatever you do, don’t get in Alexis’ way.


The leading charges in the blackgaze explosion beguile onstage in ways not even their studio albums can capture…

Black metal has always depended on the dark theatre of the live performance. In their own twisted way, San Francisco’s Deafheaven are cutting-edge revisionists of that murky tradition. Revelling in the subversion of genre in the live arena as much as on record – practically inviting more of a punishing backlash from entrenched ‘trve black metal’ acolytes – shows contrast with the customary unhinged excesses of traditionalist Scandi lunatics as masterclasses in understated control. Wielding that frostbitten severity is one thing, but seeing its underlying fragility is another entirely.

Owing much to the post-metal of bands like Altar Of Plagues and Alcest’s deeply-textured ‘blackgaze’ – and an increasing debt to British indie-rock – 2013’s spectacular Sunbather LP left audiences delirious. Hipsters clashed with experimental music geeks and the corpse-painted brigade. Hell, Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil was spotted lurking at the back of a 300-cap room in Glasgow. Different fans found different inspiration in different aspects of the show.

Across 2015’s New Bermuda and last year’s fourth LP Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, the picture has become more complex yet more coherent – that thrilling dynamism between sheer chaos and dark delicacy at the root of a euphoric experience. George Clarke has evolved from the American Psycho of old into a far more compelling frontman capable of mastering every shade in his band’s depthless arsenal. The pace with which new songs like Canary Yellow and Honeycomb have displaced those of the earlier era truly has been dizzying, but that’s testament to the unstoppable evolution of a band on metal’s very cutting edge. Take the opportunity to bathe in an aura – an awe-inspiring metallic ecstasy – that, at its best, is unlike any other.

Slow Crush

From Belgium, with glumness – prepare to give yourself over to the most glorious wave of noise…

Miserabilism can be a tough sell in live music, especially when its the last thing most people would choose as a destination of their ‘escape’. As the world spills slowly over the brink, however, there’s a sense of doomed romance about Belgian collective Slow Crush that’s simply irresistible.

Dealing in penumbral shades of black and blue, their depthless shoegaze isn’t the sort to shoot 10,000 volts into the heart of the mosh pit. But gaze long enough into the hypnotic hues of tracks like Drift and Tremble from last year’s stunning debut LP Aurora – flickers of sadness and societal indignation piercing a swirling instrumental milieu – and they’ll drag you helplessly under.

At the heart of the drifting storm is Manchester-born bassist/vocalist Isa Holliday. “It’s a lifestyle,” she told us last summer, of a longstanding friend-group energised by the prospect of impending peril. “It’s about looking out for people and beings other than ourselves.” It’s a message – indeed, a movement – that picks up momentum, dredging in fresh disciples, with each passing performance. We’re headed for hell in a handbasket, but there’s strange solace in these sounds’ constrictive embrace.

Spanish Love Songs

Songs from the heart to stir the soul and get you singing along, when everything seems truly awful…

When the prevailing feeling in the world is one of abject hopelessness, a few comforting songs can go a long way.

It’s unlikely that was Spanish Love Songs’ intention when they started out in LA in 2014, born of frustration, loneliness and a lack of anything better to do, but that may become their primary function and service as we peer off into the abyss of an uncertain and bleak future.

Yet it’s live where mainman Dylan Slocum’s sorrowful yet spirited songs about self-loathing and the desire to be better really come to life. At their handful of visits to these shores so far, the Pure Noise signings have brought the singalongs, wringing catharsis from a shared sense of insecurity and modern life ennui.

Their beer and sweat-soaked confessionals feel like being let in on a secret that you want to keep and protect for yourself, but if Spanish Love Songs keep on soaring as they have so far, it won’t be long until lots of people are seeking solace in their special brand of sadness.

The Interrupters

The good-vibes-only ska-punk family welcoming everyone into the fold…

For The Interrupters, it’s all about family. Many bands claim to feel like one on the road, but for these Californian ska-punks that’s literally the case.

Lead vocalist Aimee Interrupter is married to guitarist Kevin Bivona, while his younger twin brothers Justin and Jesse complete the line-up on bass and drums respectively. This close-knit sense of inclusivity doesn’t just extend to the band members, however. Aimee cites their song Got Each Other as a prime example. “The lyric goes, ‘We will be your confidants / Your sisters and your brothers / We don’t have much / But we got each other’”, she says. “We really feel that every night when we’re performing.”

“We are literally a travelling family band and most of our songs are about togetherness and unity,” Kevin adds. “That all plays into that same energy,”

In the live arena, that familial feeling translates into a huge, celebratory sense of community complete with singalongs and ska-dancing.

It’s been no overnight success, however. The band have been honing their skills through near-constant touring since forming in 2011.

“The post-tour blues? We haven’t really experienced it, because we never stop touring,” laughs Aimee. “We get home, we do laundry, then we head out again.”

The Interrupters have had to battle to get to this point. They’ve recently played knockout shows at both Slam Dunk and Download, and that never-ending work ethic will see them play their biggest UK headlining tour at the start of next year. And it’s only getting bigger from here, so catch them at club level while you still can.


A masterclass in bone-breaking brutality that’s only just getting warmed up…

February 20, 2019 at the tiny New Cross Inn, mere seconds into Vein’s debut London show and frontman Anthony DiDio is already flailing his way through the masses of people invading the stage.

Right from the off there are bodies flying around the room. Not long afterwards, guitarist Jeremy Martin is screaming into people’s faces with blood streaming down his own; the result of having headbutted the ceiling while dancing on top of the rig.

This wasn’t a one-off, either. Ask anyone who was lucky enough to be present at the Boston hardcore crew’s first full UK tour and you’ll find recurring themes: chaos, mayhem, and a genuine sense of danger.

“Imagine the Dillinger Escape Plan playing in your garage and you’ve got some idea of the levels of intensity bouncing off these walls,” the Kerrang! live review noted, as we got caught up in the fire and fury.

Vein have exploded in a very short space of time. The fuse was lit back in 2013, but only fully ignited last summer. There was a tour with Code Orange, the release of last year’s debut album Errorzone and a pivotal mid-afternoon slot at Outbreak Fest 2018 in Leeds.

“That was a huge turning point,” says Anthony. “We toured Europe for two weeks and we hadn’t seen anything like that before. It was our first time in England and getting that level of reaction was one of the most surreal feelings ever. It was huge.”

That might have been the start of Vein’s explosion, but there’s absolutely no way that this will be the height of their rise. Catch them while you can, but don’t blame us if you get burned.

Carpenter Brut

An all-sensory, noise and nostalgia-filled assault that proves that you don’t always need guitars to be super heavy…

With his banks of keyboards, reluctance to show his face, and absolutely mad projections that, at times, look like a weird mash-up of violent grindhouse video nasties and big-haired, Lycra-clad ‘80s exercise videos, the Carpenter Brut live experience really is quite unlike any other rock show on Earth.

With a DJ’s skill at bringing up and taking down the energy in the room, alongside an upbringing in metal (not to mention producing mysterious French black metallers Deathspell Omega), the result is an utterly bonkers, hard-hitting synth-fest that grabs hold of your ears, eyes and brain, and chucks them into Carpenter’s own lurid, neon world.

It is a place in which you can dance like no-one’s watching, lose yourself in the narrative unfolding behind the music on the big screens, or simply have your mind absolutely blown from the sensory overload of it all. Either way, you’ll be having to put the jigsaw pieces of your brain back together again after Carpenter and his band have finished taking it on a trip to the furthest reaches of the ‘80s and back.


A vital force for good in a world gone bad, fuelled on art and activism…

While they were together, LA’s letlive. gained a reputation as one of the most incendiary live bands in rock, thanks to frontman Jason Aalon Butler’s untamed, unpredictable showmanship. Indeed, when they called it quits, it seemed unlikely he would find another outlet to channel his wild, visceral energy to the same degree.

But then, nobody could have anticipated FEVER 333, whose first ever gig was a pop-up in the back of a truck in the car park of a donut shop on – appropriately enough – Independence Day 2017. Not only do guitarist Stephen Harrison and drummer Aric Improta match Jason’s vivacious stage presence bead of sweat by bead of sweat, but – driven by a sheer rage at systemic racism, police brutality, wealth inequality and a thoroughly corrupt political system – the trio harness a truly unrivalled and volatile power that flows through every single performance.

That’s only intensified by the trio’s aesthetic, which is modelled on the Black Panther Party. A now-defunct militant political organisation formed in 1966, its original intent was to monitor the behaviour of the Oakland police force against black people. Fiercely anti-fascist, anti-imperialist and anti-racist, the Black Panthers also tried to make the lives of black Americans better through a series of social programmes. Sadly, things aren’t much better some 50 years later. No wonder, then, that FEVER 333 gigs – which the band aptly call ‘demonstrations’ – often feel like they’re on the verge of turning into full-blown riots. Even if you want to ignore the politics and simply mosh, they are an insanely vital and essential live band, but with the U.S. seemingly on the verge of fascism they may also be one of the most important. Judging by the crowd reactions at their festival appearances and the growing size of their headline demonstrations, more and more people agree.


This is hardcore – pure, unrelenting, visceral and nasty, and oh so deliciously so…

Get in their way and Candy will absolutely crush you. Since the release of their astonishing Good To Feel album on Triple-B Records last year, the Richmond, Virginia hardcore crew’s name has become one of the most talked about in new brutality.

Live, they are an absolute juggernaut – a gnarly, visceral beast from which their awesome, original take on this music explodes like a distorted petrol bomb. This, obviously, isn’t necessarily new in hardcore, particularly not for a band as vicious as Candy. But there’s a fresh, teeth-gnashing energy to what they do onstage that provides a cathartic hit that not many bands ever manage to deliver. And whether you’re in the pit, or simply stood watching their attack from a safe distance, the impact is the same: a devastating, exhilarating blow that only comes from the truly hungry. The best bit is, Candy don’t feel like they’ve reached anything even approaching their final form yet – a truly terrifying prospect.

Power Trip

Texan crossover dons with the might and drive to mix it with the big boys…

On November 30, in Los Angeles’ Forum, Slayer will play their last ever show, leaving a void in the metal scene that’s harder, perhaps, than any other to fill. Those are some seriously big boots to step into.

And yet it feels almost cliched at this stage to suggest that Texan crossover savages Power Trip could be the band to take their place. Channelling the brawn and severity of the mid-‘80s while eschewing the gimmicky schlock of so many other thrash revivalists, their 2017 second LP Nightmare Logic felt like a record with enough spark to kickstart a million mosh pits. As anyone who’s had the concussive pleasure of catching them in the flesh will confirm, that undersells the actual madness of a Power Trip show. This is music with no soft edges, no safety barriers and nowhere to hide. It is not for those of a fragile disposition.

They’ve got ravenous ambition, too. When frontman Riley Gale declared that this year’s Download festival wasn’t just the biggest show they’d ever played, but one of the best, it felt like a vote of self-confidence in owning stages of that size. Accordingly, while cuts like Murderer’s Row off 2013’s aptly-titled Manifest Decimation still boast the crossover attitude with which they burst on to the scene, they’ve been quickly superseded by the likes of Crucifixation, Soul Sacrifice and Executioner’s Tax (Swing Of The Axe).

Best of all, they’re pushing that old-school heaviosity across new frontiers, with shows alongside of New York brutalists Cannibal Corpse and Virginian groove-metal titans Lamb Of God complemented by the support slots they’ve afforded outsiders like Philadelphian garage rockers Sheer Mag.

It’s all brewing towards something truly spectacular when they return with new music and fresh resolve to fight for the future at maximum ferocity.


Midlands riff-wizards acting as living proof of just how much good several thousand road-miles will do for you…

In March, Conjurer embarked on their first U.S. tour, as support to Pennsylvania crushers Rivers Of Nihil on their Kerrang!-sponsored, 32-date trek.

Conjurer were already a killer live band; absolute alchemists when it comes to wielding the power of a riff in a manner that rivals Mastodon or Converge, as proven on last year’s 5K-rated Mire debut. But the next time we saw them on home turf it was, frankly, staggering to see just what five weeks of road punishment had done to them. They now stand as one of the most powerful and exhilarating forces in British metal. And whether it’s the sheer weight of the riffs that gets you, or bassist Conor Marshall windmilling away from the middle of the pit, you will walk away in full agreement. Their diary is full for the rest of the year – how good they’re going to be after that is a truly exciting proposition.

Wage War

Metalcore bruisers from Florida preparing to battle their way up to the big leagues…

Metalcore is having quite a moment right now.

Employed To Serve have swerved the cutting edge back towards snarling sounds from the tail end of nu-metal. The likes of Bring Me The Horizon and Bad Omens are crossing new frontiers of poppy accessibility. Architects and While She Sleeps are doing their damnedest to drive their particular chaos and catharsis into arenas. Finely poised to shake the scene up next are Florida mob Wage War, who are determined to prove they are more than just another band with breakdowns.

Hit their pit, and you’ll find weighty satisfaction in that regard as well, of course. But the sublime interplay between frontman Briton Bond’s roar and guitarist Cody Quistad’s croon is key to their appeal, as the growing legions of fans will attest. From the lurching fury of Don’t Let Me Fade Away to the more cosmic pull of Gravity, they already boast an arsenal of tracks to leave audiences smashing bodies and singing along. Still, their third LP Pressure is a quantum-leap up in songwriting and performance. You’ll be hearing a lot more about this lot.

Boston Manor

Finally, something truly thrilling emerges from Blackpool’s infamous nightlife…

Boston Manor’s journey so far has been akin to a white-knuckle ride on the Pleasure Beach in their hometown of Blackpool.

There have been some lurching lows, like the time their beat-up red postal van broke down on their first European tour, leaving them stranded in the outskirts of Paris. But there have been even more highs, like playing the 2017 Warped Tour in the States and the Kerrang! Tour in the UK the same year, opening the main stage (and kicking off the entire festival) at Download last year and working their way up to a show-stopping slot at this year’s Slam Dunk.

“If I was to give advice to any band just starting out, it would be, ‘Don’t be disheartened,’” says frontman Henry Cox. “Have loads of fun with it, because some of the best times of our lives have been on those crazy DIY tours. Some shows might suck, but they hone you and allow you to develop your live performances in every setting. And I think a good band should be able to play in both a basement and an arena.”

Boston Manor aren’t quite at the point of headlining arenas just yet, but if their trajectory continues to rise as steeply as it has across the past couple of years, you wouldn’t rule the possibility out in the not-too-distant future. This is partly due to the fact that the band have evolved considerably since their pop-punk beginnings, with second album Welcome To The Neighbourhood (2018) taking a much more diverse and adventurous tack.

“I watch some early videos and we were like a different band. I also think, ‘Holy shit, we weren’t very good,’” laughs Henry.

In 2019 that’s certainly not the case. They now stand proudly as one of the UK’s most dynamic and genre-defying young rock bands, and their live shows are suitably unmissable.

Code Orange

A punishing, nightmarish wall of white noise that takes no prisoners…

‘Here comes the pain,’ read the headline for Code Orange’s debut Kerrang! cover in autumn 2017. And we weren’t fucking kidding. Stripping hardcore back to its skeletal brutality, then tooling it up – like some sort of sonic Terminator – with the darkest, most oppressive elements of industrial metal, the Pittsburgh band’s career thus far has felt like the establishment and refinement of a nightmare soundtrack to deep trauma and violent catharsis. Even as the world gets more terrifying on the daily, they’re three steps ahead.

A gang of sonic extremists who very much live their lives in line with the hard edge of their music, their live shows have become the stuff of smash-mouth legend. Treading on – and often over – the thin line between exhilaration and injury, they’re unrelenting exercises in sheer aggression, audiences relishing the strange intimacy of shared pain. As their mythos continues to grow, even the hardest brutalists enter the fray with their guards up.

From the shapeshifting electro-grunge of Bleeding In The Blur to the sheer viciousness of Forever, the band lean heavily on 2017’s LP of the same name. The oppressive, hellish volume of 2014’s I Am King still acts as a reminder of the terrifying and primitive sounds with which Code Orange Kids musically came of age, while the likes of 2018 single The Hunt stress their eagerness for the next step.

Frustratingly, completion of album four comes at the expense of those who hoped to catch their new reality at Bloodstock Festival or on the short accompanying UK run, with ‘scheduling conflicts’ seeing their complete cancellation. Hopefully they’ll be busy poring over calendars in an effort to rectify that disappointment as soon as possible.

Looking on the bright side, though: it’s further confirmation that Code Orange remain as utterly uncompromised or as uncompromising as ever; a promise that their new evolution will be as bloody and beautiful as the last.

Pack a mouthguard for their inevitably punishing return. No half measures. No pulled punches. No body left unbattered.


A unique and haunting journey into the heart of darkness, courtesy of a most singular and captivating artist…

LINGUA IGNOTA lurks in the darkness, discernible only by the light shining off the lamps she carries onstage with her, making her shows feel less like gigs and more like watching a mystic figure sharing real-life ghost stories.

Often performing on the floor, the Rhode Island musician (real name Kristin Hayter) stands surrounded by fans, sharing her harrowing, emotional tales of abuse and violence through a vicious, haunting mix of opera and noise-rock. A genuine sense of community swirls around venues, as onlookers stand in stunned silence, letting the sound of Kristin’s suffering wash over them, while her voice draws you in like a moth to a flame, before shattering your synapses with the sheer power of the performance.

It’s an honest, unshakeable bond between artist and audience, that might be born from the shadows, but it’s one that lasts long after the sun comes up.


From cult concern to festival main stages in little under two years, it’s no mystery why the Utah group have blown up…

When journeyman bassist Dallon Weekes departed Panic! At The Disco on December 27, 2017, few would have rated his chances of hauling himself on to Reading & Leeds main stages as a frontman in his own right within 20 short months.

That he managed the feat on the back of a single EP (last year’s superb 1981 Extended Play) this August bank holiday weekend is part of the impossible magic of I Don’t Know How But They Found Me. Their trademark single might proclaim Nobody Likes The Opening Band, but we’ve got a feeling they’ll go down just fine.

iDKHOW may have built their reputation in the studio with an absorbingly mysterious aesthetic of crackling cassette mixtapes and well-worn VHS footage, but sparse in-the-flesh appearances thus far have unfolded as masterclasses in infectious pop-rock – equal parts ‘60s garage, ‘70s glam and ’80s too-cool-for-school new wave. Seek them out for a joyous trip back to the future.


Helping change the world – or forget it for a while, at least – one show at a time…

Modern life is grim. Music is our escape. Blinding production, eye-catching gimmicks and hazardous pits distract from the grinding mundanity, but there’s something therapeutic about fighting through, instead. Stripping punk rock to its bare, disenfranchised bones, Toronto quartet PUP deliver just that.

On the surface, they’re the quintessential slackers (that moniker is an abbreviation of ‘Pathetic Use of Potential’ if you didn’t know), and their shows coast by on waves of chucked beer and good-humoured momentum. Look a little closer, however, and you’ll find a distillation of the dissatisfied millennial experience – of youth left behind finding catharsis in the visceral thrill of screaming themselves hoarse to catchy choruses and chucking bodies stage-ward when the notion takes.

They’re acknowledgements of the Morbid Stuff of this year’s cracking third LP – the bleak reality of limited opportunity, fury at socially mobile generations past pulling the ladder up behind them, and being simply bored as fuck. There’s not just a sense of communion in their chaos as grievances are raged against together, but one of community, too, with local charities – the real heroes working to right those wrongs – invited along to each date of the band’s last UK tour. “The world sucks right now,” mused frontman Stefan Babcock in April at the band’s London Garage show, “what they’re doing doesn’t.”

We couldn’t ask for better hold music while awaiting the revolution. Inhabiting that sweet spot between anthemic and scrappy, songs only truly come to life with the extra dimension – those ‘ohs and ahhhs’ – of live performance, with older tracks like My Life Is Over And I Couldn’t Be Happier winking with their wryly societal gallows humour, while fresher cuts like See You At Your Funeral stack on extra layers. With the feel of a phenomenon destined to burn bright and fast, punters looking to live loud should catch these dogs on their dazzling darkest days.

Knocked Loose

Chaos, carnage and ass-kicking catharsis – mouthguards at the ready…

If you’ve been lucky enough to see Knocked Loose live – not least at their K! Pit show in New York – you’ll know that when the Kentucky hardcore band play they pretty much turn any room into a dense sea of bodies, with arms and legs sticking out at all angles.

The five-piece are so devastating in the flesh that their heavy (and, at times, almost sludgy) brand of hardcore feels like it’s designed to make you lose all sense of self-control and self-awareness. That’s not just limited to those watching either, with frontman Bryan Garris getting in the face of the audience as much as possible, too. Unrelentingly forceful, Knocked Loose make the kind of noise that drains the energy from your bones, but also, somehow invigorates at the same time. And even though they’re playing bigger and bigger venues as their popularity increases, the intense, frenzied and brutal intimacy at the heart and soul of it all hasn’t diminished.

For Bryan himself, the whole thing is an exercise in catharsis, allowing him to let go of his demons and release the pent-up anger trapped inside. It’s an incredible thing to witness, but be warned – enter the pits at your own risk, because it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Otherwise you and your teeth may well find out why the band are named Knocked Loose.

Dream State

Honest, heart-on-sleeve post-hardcore offering some comfort and light in the darkness…

It’s too easy, sometimes, to take good things for granted. Indeed, having endlessly traversed theses isles for the past half-decade, the sheer ubiquity of South Welsh post-hardcore quartet Dream State has seen them go tragically underappreciated. Anyone who’s been paying close attention, however – and particularly those present to witness the brilliance of their main stage bow at 2000trees this summer – will know that big things are already underway.

“I’m not used to there being so many of you,” smiled singer CJ Gilpin coyly, to the thousands sprawled out in the sun at Upcote Farm. It’s hard to imagine she’ll have the same problem this time next year. From the Paramore-esque thrust of White Lies to Hand In Hand’s slinking attitude and the synth-stained pound of new single Primrose, they boast deceptively complex songs that lose none of their cutting edge when taken onstage. In CJ, too, they have a unique presence whose lyrical bravery and vocal prowess should see them rise and rise.

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