On a rare day of Irish sunshine, New Jersey afropunk duo Ho99o9 bring their incendiary live show to Dublin to turn the unbearable heat up to the point of spontaneous combustion. They’ve played a number of festivals here but this is their first headline show and The Workman’s Club welcomes them as they release their debut album, United States Of Horror.
There are still tickets available and, come opening time, there is a queue out the door to get them. The Death Kultists ferocious live reputation has preceded them. As the drummer takes his place, whoops and hollers break out and people push their way to the front of the stage. It’s the opposite formation to the usual in the Workman’s and as a result there is ample space at the back of the room.
A rotating, escalating crescendo of noise builds the atmosphere as TheOGM, in his blue balaclava, stands menacingly motionless. The low tempo intro accelerates suddenly as Eaddy appears and immediately dives into the crowd. They carry him aloft and return him to the stage where he delivers the barking hardcore vitriol of ‘Street Power’ in a manner akin to Jello Biafra around the time of In God We Trust Inc. The lights go out and, lit only by a head-mounted lamp, the duo’s aurally, and viscerally, thrilling theatrical performance has the whole room entranced.
Ho99o9 are possessed of the music creativity of Dalek, the anger and power of Rage Against The Machine and the gut punching performance of hardcore punk. They are quite unlike any other band that this stage has seen. In proper punk style they inspire the crowd to dangerous abandon, and their own air of menace and anger is tempered by an irresistible charm from the dual frontmen.
OGM complains that he has left his weed at home so someone rolls him a joint and passes a bottle of beer to Eaddy. Ho99o9 have created a communal party atmosphere. It’s the hardest part of any public performance but they make it feel like everyone in the room is your friend.
Eaddy splits the crowd and walks out onto the dancefloor. The pit abhors a vacuum and the crowd tense like a coiled spring before the short sharp shock of the next tune unleashes a frenzy and he is lost in a roiling sea of flesh. His audience participation is rewarded with a fresh pint of stout which he gulps down graciously. Seemingly determined to get Eaddy drunk, someone passes him a shoulder of vodka.
Between the heat outside and the velocity of the mosh pit, the venue’s air conditioning is working overtime tonight. The stage-diving and crowdsurfing is unrelenting. To the extent that it continues even after the band have left the stage. This is a powerful and compelling display by an inventive and infectious punk band without parallel.