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Hondo Maclean
Reasons to Remain
Shards Of Glass
Rating: n/a

A band like Hondo Maclean passing through the forum’s doors is really quite a relief from the boring and basically shite Ska scene that seems to be more-than-irritatingly taking over a land that can produce much better. A metal bill at the forum seems all-too rare – the last decent metal bill in a long time being Beecher’s Sunday night performance here over a month ago. As for this hard-working, hard-playing Welsh Metalcore quintet, it’s their second show here since their supporting slot with SikTH last October; this show being part of the band’s first headlining tour. From the attendance tonight it is obvious that either that support show made a big impact on a lot of people (To be honest they did, rather politely, upstage SikTH) or recent vids for the already-classic “Animated Antics” and “Lola’s Picture” being aired on Scuzz have caught the eyes of the unexpecting! First up, Shards of Glass barely have a chance to play to anyone as they arrive onstage whilst most people are still left outside queuing. There by-numbers emo and rather strange appearance makes them little more than stand-there-and-watch-politely material. Being in the company of the Hondo guys and definitely not wanting to go anywhere else I rarely got a glimpse of the band but from what could be seen, both their appearance and their music made them a little too hard to take seriously. Next up, Reasons to Remain seem lost on many too. Again another by-numbers Emo lot that don’t exactly make much of an impression on the on-lookers. Maybe it’s because of their seemingly irritating vocalist who appears to be “in it for the ladies” more than anything else. Wearing a by-common-standards fashionable scarf and perfectly crafted hair, it seems he would be more at home working in Burton’s menswear or with the local “Trendie crew”. After witnessing this I can safely say I’d much rather be in the company of five smelly Welshmen! I myself am not the only believer of this; an argument did arise on the Hondo message board after the boy-in-subject stated “It was cold”. Next up, Midasuno make a noticeably positive impression on the audience and are probably quite chuffed to have the Hondo guys as fans! Midasuno actually deserve to have the respect of Hondo Maclean, being the only of the three support bands worthy of that title. Their music is a complex mix of Dillinger Escape Plan style intensity and insanity, Funeral for a Friend/100 Reasons-esque emo and traditional hard rock. Thrashing their instruments around the stage Dillinger-style with literally larger-than-life drummer somehow hitting his way through the set, it leaves quite a few unexpecting onlookers literally stunned. The fast growing and ever loyal Hondo fan base is strongly evident in the build up both to this show and them actually taking the stage. Chants arise from various sides of the crowd which soon turns into an ear-piercing scream once they take to the stage. A death-grunt courtesy of vocalist Ben soon catches the attention of the screaming audience before they rip into a note perfect Animated Antics. The performance that then unfolds is simply awe-inspiring; the band’s energy and general in-your-face attitude makes this one of the best performances I’ve ever witnessed here and quickly shrugs off ANY comparison whatsoever to Welsh emo brooders Funeral for a Friend. The energy and simple heaviness of their music on CD and live demonstrates how firmly placed they are in within the metal scene rather than the post-hardcore and emo scenes they regularly get tagged to. Already fan faves such as “Don’t Forget to Feed the Fish” and “You’re Addicted to Disco Baby” follow and are met with screams that suggest Hondo are going to be something big! Each song is played note perfect without sacrificing a drop of stage performance, each of them throwing themselves around as if they don’t feel pain: Ben’s frequent dives into the moshpit end up with him lying beneath a torrent of flying bodies yet he still manages not to miss a single note and even guitarist Gavin’s abilities are put to the test when he rather amusingly falls off of the stage after announcing “I’m pissed off” and proceeding to basically throw himself against the walls all whilst never missing a single riff or note. It is a wonder how they can even function as human beings after witnessing in person all five of them manage to get through the equivalent of a bottle and vodka and two crates of beer before even getting on stage, let alone play everything perfectly and keep up a highly entertaining stage performance. If anyone has witnessed a Dillinger Escape Plan gig, they will know what stage energy means, but Hondo even go beyond this with a matching personality of general attitude and highly amusing jokes. The apparent sound problems (They don’t sacrifice anything of Hondo’s performance) just add to their attitude after guitarist Gavin announces “I’m pissed off” and the band release that anger and attitude more than double through their music and performance. This performance can only show one thing: Hondo Maclean are THE next big thing and the album due later this year will no-doubt be their trophy of success.

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