Botch // Great Falls // Bad Breeding // Live Review // The Camden Electric Ballroom // London

Tonight’s show is 20 years in the making. Botch‘s departure from the mathcore scene was a huge blow. But thankfully regrouping in 2022 the band has returned for their final bow tonight at London’s legendary Electric Ballroom.

It might be an early 6 pm doors but the venue is packed for tonight’s openers. Stevenages, Bad Breeding. Bringing their take on classic fast punk these guys quickly fill the audience with energy.

Bad Breedings frontman Chris Dodd stage presence keeps your eyes on the stage. His frantic screaming & great back-and-forth pacing keeps the intensity high. These guys are locked in, Some breakneck speed tracks getting close to grindcore or power violence these guys stay firmly locked & loaded. Bad Breeding is one of those rare cases of a first band captivating a crowd, soon patrons are skanking & throwing fists in the air. This is a band I would love to see in a smaller venue with an up-and-close personal setting but tonight they have also been able to bring that DIY homegrown punk sound to a large venue & still pack a superb punch.

Next up is Great Falls. Most notable for having their hands in some of the best early years hardcore bands like Undertow & members having an early-2000s noisecore band Playing Enemy and the experimental duo Hemingway. This Seattle-based group is a fierce blend of heavy noise rock & sludgy heavy discordant riffing. Tonight is also a great surprise as Australian singer & vocalist Lillian Alazi who contributed to the band’s newest album has joined the band for a few shows to add to the live shows & boy does she.

As the band’s set starts vocalist & guitarist Demian Johnston’s clean guitar rings as he screams towards the crowd with no microphone in this anguish-riddled tone, as the band start to increase the power huge bass tones & thunderous drums join in. “Dragged Home Alive” & “Trap Feeding” the band’s first two numbers are like a sonic nightmare. Filled with dread & anxiety but you can’t take your eyes off their performance. The band is giving every drop of sweat & ounce of energy they have & it adds too much to the performance. Lillian Alazi’s added opera-like tones & textural spoken elements bring the group’s sound together for tonight’s performance. This is a group that as soon as I left the show I had to listen to them for my journey home so I could soak up every element they have to offer & they are quickly becoming my favourite new group! A great & breathtaking performance from these scene legends.

Now for the final act, Botch. As the lights dim you can feel something in the air, the spirit for tonight is palpable. As the group take the stage and rips right into “To Our Friends in the Great White North” (which is a mathcore anthem) I’ve never seen a crowd erupt this much” Everyone is moving. Tonight feels like something so special & the band is on top form.

“Mondrian Was a Liar” is followed up quickly & the band still keep their frenetic signature sound precise & solid. You wouldn’t honestly think these guys had been away for so long.  Adding “Thank God for Worker Bees” into their set was a personal highlight as it’s one of the band’s most heavy & chaotic tracks & for a track too fast paced the band nailed it 1000%. These guys haven’t slowed down at all.

Vocalist Dave Verellen’s enigmatic stage presence just shows how much fun the band are having regrouping & finally playing these songs for a sold out London crowd tonight.

For the groups closing tracks “C. Thomas Howell as the “Soul Man”
& “Saint Matthew Returns to the Womb” are their perfect back to back bangers. Dave Knudson’s amazing song writing & guitar playing abilities have been on show all night but these two tracks he put every little last bit of power he has into these infectious guitar riffs & lead sections.

It might be the last few moments of the night as the crowd has one last time to sing along & for those last few crowd surfers to have their moment. Botch really showcased tonight what a powerhouse their legacy was & will always be. A true celebration happened tonight within these walls, this might be the final time london gets to hear these songs live but it will be in the hearts of everyone’s hearts who attended tonight forever.

Review: Guy Williams