Up River can not be compared to anything I’ve heard before, as I don’t think I’ve ever been exposed to the raw power that they gave us during a short set on Saturday. Their performance was part of a Holy Roar Records showcase in their home town of Brighton.
The band recently completed another European tour, where their brand of hardcore metal goes down really well. They put the miles in and should be going places.
Up River are singer, drums, two guitars and bass (Curtis was playing his last gig with the band) and come with a massive dose of attitude.They sound like a runaway train full of nuclear warheads falling into a volcano. Pure explosive energy – mainly thanks to Harry Huntington.
Harry is the lanky, tattooed and brooding front-man, who unleashes something from the bottom of his dark soul when he gets on stage. His vocals are indecipherable to an untrained ear, but the noise he makes arches through the spines of the audience, who were blown away by his performance in this early evening slot.
Harry lurches over the monitor speaker and looked like he was about to destroy the mosher at the front of the stage. He goes down on the bass drum between bouts of screaming, almost putting his head inside it to absorb the thumping. He grabs his mic stand as is if he would probably fall over without it. Mesmeric.
Harry kneels at the front of the stage and seems to be suffering excruciating torture. The final song sees him collapse to his hands and knees – and he needs to be helped up by the band to get back to his feet. At the merch stand, five minutes later, he looks a shattered man – as if his whole being has been ripped from him – and he is trying to find a way to beg for it back.
If you haven’t seen Up River, try to get to a gig in order to experience their performance. Live, the music is frantic and very, very hardcore (it sounds like organised chaos to my untrained ear). The other Harry in the band, Harry Rawson, the drummer, says that their recent stuff is a lot more melodic than their older style, and the band is influenced by the likes of American Nightmare, Rise and Fall, Modern Life is War, and The Hope Conspiracy (I wonder if he is making these names up).
Up River plays in a niche within a niche, and it is debatable whether they will break into the mainstream despite having had support from Holy Roar records for a few years. Their latest EP is If there is a God that is Judging Me Constantly, which also features great art work.
If you have an ageing relative you want to shock or you want to stretch your own musical boundaries, give them a listen – and don’t forget to take a ride on that train with Mr Huntington….if you dare.
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