h2o@Newcastle Think Tank?, May 22 2015

It’s no secret that over the years the music and values that hardcore punk is all about have taken a back seat: whether you’re straight edged with a tattoo to prove it has become more important.

This fashion-led outlook has aggravated a lot of hardcore bands who’ve dedicated their lifetime to spreading its message, and NYC’s H2O are the epitome of what it is to hate the modern scene. 

Newcastle’s Think Tank venue is quickly becoming the new and cosy home for hardcore bands looking to deliver a chaotic and intimate assault, and H2O’s performance definitely didn’t fall short.

Frontman Toby Morse had the crowd eating out the palm of his hand within minutes of hitting the stage, and opening track 1995, from 2008’s Nothing To Prove, showed that the band really didn’t have a thing to prove.

Crunching guitars and an abundance of fist pumping gang vocals sent the mosh pit into a frenzy, and what it lacked in size it definitely made up for in brutality – showing no mercy even for the middle-aged woman with a walking stick violently head banging in the midst of it.

Morse paced up and down the stage and it wasn’t long until he started taking requests from the crowd. Although the band offered to play something new from upcoming release Use Your Voice, it seemed everyone was more interested in hearing older classics such as Thicker Thank Water’s Eveready and F.T.T.W’s Guilt by Association.

H2O’s lyrics may not be the most articulate, but the band have always shown that their passion for hardcore and its message is what’s more important – and Morse couldn’t help but preach this to the crowd before closing the set.

So, is hardcore really that bad now? H2O may like to think that they’re the older and bitter dads of a washed up scene but after seeing how much they enjoyed performing and their love for the fans, they have a funny way of showing it.

Emma Carter