Shelter + The Geeks + Vision Quest @ The Dome, Tufnell Park on 4th November 2019


Tonight’s openers Vision Quest hail from the South Coast and play a brand of hardcore that’s both unrelentingly punishing yet grooves with an inherent swing. Wasting little time on between song banalities each song delivered like a well aimed punch. In Sam the band have an effervescent vocalist whose enthusiasm is highly contagious and with huge chunky guitar riffs, and a rhythm section that comprises of a pounding bass and a hard hitting drummer what’s not to like?

Proving that hardcore is a truly global affair South Korea’s The Geeks are up next. Now in their twentieth year they display an energy that’d put many younger bands to shame. ‘Open Your Eyes’ kicks things off in suitably raucous style and it doesn’t take long for a huge pit to erupt. Obviously influenced by the Youth Crew movement they recall a time when hardcore bands sang about important topics but for all their love of bands like Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today they’ve put their own stamp on proceedings with tracks like ‘More Than Ever’ and ‘PMA (Positive Mental Action)’. These songs about inner strength and unity really please the crowd and a cover of ‘Betrayal’ ensures they bow out on a high.

Yesterday three members of Shelter (Ray, Sammy and Porcell) performed on this very stage in their previous incarnation as hardcore heroes Youth of Today. When that band came to an end Shelter found them taking a more measured approach and in the process they pioneered the whole Krishnacore genre. Swapping sonic fury for spirituality Shelter drew inspiration from the ISKCON movement so it’s no surprise that a chanting mantra and the smell of incense heralds the arrival of the band. Like a flint creating a spark opening salvo ‘Message of the Bhagavat’ sets the venue aflame as waves of affection radiate between band and crowd. Tonight’s set is largely culled from their classic 1995 album Mantra with ‘Civilized Man’, ‘Empathy’ and ‘Appreciation’ successively encouraging more and more stage divers until we’re faced with something approaching a tsunami. It’s a very positive experience as vocalist Ray Cappo intersperses songs with wisdom from the Bhagavad-gīta and, aside from a few grey hairs, it’s like time hasn’t passed as Sammy hits the drums exceptionally hard while guitarist Porcell throws his trademark shapes. The effect Shelter had on hardcore cannot be overstated with members appearing in legendary bands Judge, Project X and Better Than a Thousand (amongst others). As you’d expect from such a pedigree they turn in faithful interpretations of their back catalogue with ‘Progressive Man’ and ‘My Song’, with it’s chuggy riff, being definite highlights. Penultimate track ‘Here We Go Again’ is closed with another chanted mantra, which provides a karmic symmetry, before a raging rendition of the eponymous ‘Shelter’ is perfect as a finale.

Reviewed by Peter Dennis.