Live Review: Overcoming the odds - Hercules Morse deliver high-energy WAMFest set
Fresh off the release of their debut EP Control Your Own just last month, Hercules Morse haven’t shown any signs of discomfort or awkwardness performing their new material live. Playing two shows over the weekend, first at the Hen House Live on Friday the 3rd, then at Tetsuo on the 4th (both WAM showcases), the local hardcore outfit didn’t appear out of energy or enthusiasm, despite rocking out the night before.
Granted, this is expected of musicians: Playing shows back-to-back, while maintaining a certain level of energy, and re-creating their best tunes. That said, there’s something quite special about witnessing the frontman of a band suffer from food-poisoning on stage, vomiting off-stage in-between songs, holding his puke bucket hand-in-hand with the mic – all while pushing out vocals that sound as energetic and raw as their recorded EP.
While it’s a shame that said frontman Richard Patterson-Hyde was in visible discomfort during the show, his determination to match the near-perfect screams of their studio recordings absolutely blew my mind away. He showed no signs of slowing down, even after throwing up off-stage and dry-retching in between songs.
On top of showcasing the band’s determination and love for playing live, Richard’s horribly timed tussle with food poisoning also gave Hercules Morse a chance to prove just how versatile of a band they can be. Despite declaring themselves as “a shitty and average band,” their ability to improvise was outstanding. Guitarist Alex Underwood threw down the guitar and completely took over from Richard while he was either throwing up (or looking like he was about to) to deliver some high-energy vocals.
But the show wouldn’t have been anywhere near as impressive without the help of the rest of the band, bolstering the set with a ridiculously catchy and steady drum beat and laying the foundations for each song. The constant low hum of the bass sent vibrations through each glass laid down on surrounding tables. (This was most apparent during the song 'Start Again', which features a short but stylish bassline). The guitars brought the show alive, exuding the same enthusiastic, energetic, and youthful punk atmosphere the EP emits.
While their performance was amazing – I was enjoying myself throughout each song, singing the words under my breath and through a smile – it was obvious that the band wasn’t reaching their full flair with this show. This sentiment was echoed in my brief chat with Alex and Richard after the show, who expressed that they weren’t able to reach their full potential this time around.
However, once I was filled-in on what their expectations were, I became immediately keen to see them again soon, with Richard apparently dancing around on stage like a madman, jumping into the crowd screaming at the top of his lungs. I can only imagine the amount of energy Hercules Morse put into shows when they’re at 100%.
And with new, heavier music in the works, Hercules Morse are definitely a band to keep on your radar if you’re a fan hardcore-punk! All I can recommend is that you see them perform this EP before they release anything new, so you too can experience the rush of hearing Control Your Own live and in its entirety.