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Review: Knocked Loose @ SWX

“This is our third time playing this venue", the band exclaimed onstage: "every time it gets crazier”

Off the back of their biggest show anywhere to date in Manchester the previous night, Kentucky’s very own Knocked Loose headed a bill ranging from the serene to the positively barbaric.

By Scott Owen, Third Year Accounting and Finance

The 1100-strong contingent inside SWX were set in motion by Headbussa, the latest in a long line of French hardcore bands to tear up the UK circuit. Charged by the impassioned screams and dynamism of frontman Loic Le Goff, their offering was a headlong tour of their two EPs with a nod to NJ outfit Shattered Mercy- a faithful, albeit fearful, tribute.

A brief recovery period followed, and we readied ourselves for the often overwhelming, immersive experience that a Deafheaven set provides. Despite their distinct sonic differences from the surrounding groups, they seemed to relish the opportunity to perform in this environment and were met with a rousing reception. Highlights from Sunbather and New Bermuda abound, their performance was a not-so-quiet reminder of the unique place they hold in the metal landscape.

Headbussa @ SWX | Scott Owen

After the wave had crested, shimmering reverb still ringing in the ears, the wait began. There was some grit from Boldy James on the pre-set playlist but events were about to get decidedly more brutal, as the smoke rose and light faded. Only the anxiety-inducing feedback preceding 'Deep In The Willow' was present now, a call-to-arms of sorts for a crowd swelling with agitation. Within seconds, disquiet had collapsed into carnage. Knocked Loose had wandered south.

This is a band that commands respect. Soaring interest and crossover appeal is so often the cue to dilute. Not this band. Not ever. Their unrelenting intensity and awe-inspiring extremity is matched only by their devotion to the styles to which they owe their existence. To see Knocked Loose in 2024 is to witness a mastery of metalcore and beatdown, and if you dare to venture into the pit, you’ll be participating in something akin to warfare.

Deafhaven @ SWX | Scott Owen

They hammered through the first half of the set, including relative oldie 'Deadringer' and the throttling 'God Knows', complete with a guest appearance from Deafheaven vocalist George Clarke. You get the impression this is all just one big family. When you’re swinging, stomping and living in this filth for an hour, you are part of that family.

If Blinding Faith is an indication of what is to come, then I fear for the uninitiated throwing themselves into the band’s forthcoming third album. Success has not dulled the knife. These may be the most abrasive three minutes in the Knocked Loose arsenal.

Knocked Loose @ SWX | Scott Owen

For all their instrumental muscle, vocalist Bryan Garris’ astonishing array of hollers and wails only grows more apparent as the night nears its end. Once he has paid tribute to those in attendance, he bounds around his stage for the final time. 'Everything Is Quiet Now'- a fitting, flattening way to close proceedings. Coming to the relief of my weary bones, the harsh reality that all good things must come to an end, that even this lot need some rest before the procession returns from whence they came.

Knocked Loose is Bryan Garris, Isaac Hale, Nicko Calderon, Kevin Otten and Kevin Kaine. You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To is the band’s forthcoming third studio album out May 10th on Pure Noise Records.

Featured Image: Scott Owen

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