at Reds Bar, Northumbria University, Newcastle, U.K., November 16, 2023

MADBALL (Live at Reds Bar, Northumbria University, Newcastle, U.K., November 16, 2023)
Photo: Mick Burgess

New York hardcore veterans, Madball made a return to Newcastle after a four year absence and wasted no time whipping up a storm with “Set It Off”, “Smell The Bacon” and the titanic “Hardcore Lives” complete with bone crunching mid-section breakdown, all coming in an opening salvo of utter savagery.

Frontman Freddy Cricien, never still for a second, stomped his way across the stage venting his fury and contempt at the system while also expressing his displeasure at the security barrier at the front preventing the hordes of Madball fans from invading the stage in traditional Hardcore fashion. Not that it stopped Cricien from climbing on the barrier to lean into the crowd for some assistance with the chant-a-long gang vocals during “Pride (Times Are Changing)” backed by the chugging riffs of Mike Gurnari.

From the safety of the rear raised area, it was fascinating watching the swirling mass of bodies in the moshpit storm, kick and flail furiously to “Rev Up” and “Freight Train”. To the untrained eye it looked as though a huge bar room fight had kicked off yet the etiquette of the pit decreed that those who fall are helped to their feet.

With Madball flying the flag like no other, Cricien proclaimed that Hardcore was as old as Hip Hop yet not as rich with a wry smile on his face before launching into a ferocious “Doc Marten Stomp” bringing the show to a storming end, laying waste to Newcastle in a smash and grab raid quite unlike any other leaving those in attendance breathless, sweating and utterly exhausted.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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