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Review by Chloe Waterhouse.
As a newly established five piece, London-based punk rockers Counterfeit released their blistering debut Together We Are Stronger last month, consecutively touring Europe to promote it. With actor-turned-musician Jamie Campbell Bower fronting the band, I had high hopes for a captivating first time experiencing their music in the flesh.
Southampton quartet Faux open the show, with some mesmerising melodies that leave me wanting more. Although unfamiliar with Newcastle, Faux manage to deliver an impressive string of rock tracks to the crowd, emulating the style of the main act. Pop-rockers Tigress follow, boasting tracks from their LP Human as feisty vocalist Katy Jackson fist-pumps her way into their energizing set. Finishing with their catchy upcoming single ‘Powerlines’, the crowd is left satisfied, now eagerly awaiting the main act.
Enter Counterfeit. With a maniacal gleam in his eyes, Bower struts on stage alongside his band of anarchists, gearing up to conquer the intimate crowd congregating at the barrier. Erupting into the encapsulating riffs of ‘Washed Out’, the band establish an adrenaline-fuelled pace, which they maintain throughout the night. By the third track, ‘Addiction’, Bower has already jumped into the crowd, erratically belting out its memorable chorus from within the audience. This personal proximity is unique, and showcases the band’s passion to engage their fans; I find myself awestruck by their integrity. Back to the stage, they delve into the clichéd Rock ‘n Roll anthem of ‘Romeo’, as the lyrics are snarled back to the crowd and hands are thrust into the air like salutations.
The atmosphere changes as Bower enters the crowd once again, this time to deliver the raw, melancholic ballad ‘Letters to the Lost’: he heart-wrenchingly dedicates it to a friend who took his own life, alerting the crowd of his aims to raise awareness of such an issue. This speech makes a profound impact on the crowd, as the song is encased in a respectful silence.
The mood is ramped back up by the sleazy, in-your-face distortion of ‘For the Thrill of It’ as the band fearlessly kick their way through the track, creating a sort of controlled chaos that reflects onto the crowd. Bower then compels the crowd to put their phones away, driving them to open into a circle: the band then explode into fan favourite ‘Come Get Some’, as both dancing and untamed headbanging ensue. Finally the set closes with a euphoric bang, finishing with the industrial, Manson-esque growls of ‘Enough’, as Bower fully integrates into the crowd’s final mosh pit.
Counterfeit proves that Together We Are Stronger, delivering the purest form of gritty punk rock to their (hopefully ever-growing) fanbase.