Thursday, 15 June 2017

Live Review: Nasty + support @ Levontin 7, Tel Aviv [25th May 2017]

Ostra Torn

There are some bands that I thought might never come to this country and when they actually do, it's not something to miss out. Tonight, a variety of people from the different hardcore scenes in Tel Aviv have gathered at Levontin 7 to witness the crazily heavy beatdowns of Belgian hardcore crew Nasty.

Östra Torn

Starting off tonight's proceedings is Haifa trio, Östra Torn. I've already reviewed these guys recently when they supported Zaga Zaga and I was really impressed by their doomy/sludgy hardcore. They did a very similar set tonight, set up in a triangle and just making the loudest noise possible. The band walks the fine line of playing loose enough that the music feels more natural and free-flowing but tight enough that no-one is loosing their place and they're all on the same page. The band hasn't got anything recorded yet (soon to come, though, I believe..) but watching them live is essential. You find yourself in some sort of tennis-spectator mode, as your eyes bounce from screaming bassist Nir to more growly guitarist Dean while drummer Ofer goes crazy amidst the heavy riffs and rumbling bass. I think that even when they do eventually release something, this is a band that can also be solely enjoyed live without needing to be familiar with the material. As long as you like things slow, heavy and energetic, you'll be smiling the whole show.



It was quite disappointing to hear shortly beforehand that tonight is 03's (Efes Shalosh) last show, so I think there's a lot of people who have come almost exclusively in support of them. Like Östra Torn, I have reviewed 03 before but with varying reviews. They've definitely become the tough hardcore powerhouse that they are now since the addition of guitarist Lemmy, who always jumps about the stage like his guitar's a kid's toy! With the recent release of their first album This Is Survival, Not A Revival, more people have gotten to hear exactly what this band does and have therefore gained more recognition. I still wouldn't go as far as saying that they're breaking any new ground in hardcore but they've certainly helped bridge that gap between hardcore and metalcore in this country, even bringing both fanbases to their shows.

As always, singer Jenia struts about the stage and the venue floor with his razor blade vocals blasting out of the speakers while the band delivers their Born From Pain meets Madball hardcore with infectious energy that rubs off on the crowd. The track Bruce Lee will forever be the band's Clobberin' Time; like the Sick Of It All song, it's less than a minute's worth of thunderous instrumental hardcore that just gets everyone pumped, making it the highlight of every show. They definitely have the right grooves to get people moving and a general likability but it just always feels like they're lacking something that separates them from the rest of the hardcore world.

 Hopefully, the band are not splitting up completely but just taking a break for a while and will come back with some fresh new material.



All these years, I've wondered what kind of people would turn up to see some proper European beatdown hardcore. Tonight, there's a bunch of faces I've never really seen before as well as a few familiar ones. I was still unsure by what the reaction would be as normally any form of hardcore show out here tends to be still pretty "punk" in terms of the dancing and the general attitude. Although 03's set saw a bit of "violence", things went up a notch for Belgian posse Nasty.

Pretty much from the start, the pit has opened up and we see some 2-stepping, spin kicks, windmilling and stage diving as Nasty plough through their low-tuned, boisterous, hip-hop tinged hardcore. Frontman, Matthi, roams about the stage, getting everyone fired up and encouraging all the pit-action. The rest of the band also give it their all on stage, with Paddy (guitar) and Berri (bass) bouncing around and Nash smashing the kit behind them.

To be honest, the rest of the show becomes a bit of a blur as it just gets so crazy (and a literal blur because I took my glasses off to avoid any mishaps). As the band plays hits like Shokka, Lying When They Love Us and Slave To The Rich, bodies start flying all over the place, knocking the monitors off the stands in front of the stage. This leads to Matthi deciding to move all the monitors to the side of the stage and leave the front completely free for stag diving and sing-a-longs.

Whereas you can sometimes come across bands who are in the mindset of just turning up, plugging in and playing, it seems as though Nasty are genuinely excited to be experiencing a show in Tel Aviv, making sure that everyone's having a good time and especially that there's some carnage. There's very minimal talking between songs and nothing gets too "preachy". Even when it gets to the finale of anti-fascist anthem Zero Tolerance, Matthi mostly spreads some PMA instead of getting political.

This has to be one of the most "hardcore" shows I've ever been to in Israel, in terms of seeing some of the dancing I grew up seeing in the London scene. Maybe it's because of my age but I actually felt too intimidated to join in as much as I would have liked to. That said, it was still cool to just watch from the sidelines. Where I once originally thought of Nasty in a similar way as a band like Emmure (i.e. immature heavy music for college jocks), my views have changed. Nasty are simply a tough hardcore band with some solid beatdowns and try to touch upon serious topics in the most aggressive yet also fun ways possible. 


All photos courtesy of Miguel St Labao

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