Gallows, a hardcore punk band from Watford, Hertfordshire, have been getting quite a bit of attention in NME for a recent gig at a pub London’s Old Blue Pub. Singer Frank Carter was instrumental in leading the crowd to tear the place apart, destroying several chandeliers and a few antique chairs. Having been out of the hardcore/punk loop for many years now, I was a little bit surprised to see such wanton acts of old-school violence getting so much attention from NME.
For a number of reasons, violence has always been tied to the punk rock myth. In the UK during the mid to late 70s, punks rioted and spit to express their frustration with a faltering economy and a broken society. In the United States, much of the violence could be attributed to suburban boredom, as many of the influential hardcore groups came from the suburbs of Washington DC, New York and LA. While I do enjoy going to shows and seeing people dance, and maybe shake each other a bit. But seriously, I am bored by punk violence. There is nothing entertaining about seeing someone getting punched in the face while they’re trying to enjoy a show.
Furthermore, violence at shows is pointless because it can lead to the closure of venues. Thanks to Gallows, it may be possible that no other band may be allowed to play at the Old Blue Pub. That’s fine for them, considering that they’ve got a million dollar deal with Warner Brothers. But for all the little bands that may not have a million places to play this is another hurdle. I remember hearing about VFW halls in New York and New Jersey that refused to have punk or hardcore shows after kids did stupid things like shitting in a cup and leaving it for some old vet to find. It’s sabotage, and it’s stupid.
Gallows' "Staring at the Rude Bois (Ft. Lethal Bizzle)"
BONUS: Footage from the infamous North London Poly Riot, where fans destroyed an entire Student Hall during a performance by the Jesus & Mary Chain.