Modern Life is War + Svalbard + Swain + Whocares? @ The Underworld, Camden

Date: 28 June 2018
Review & Photography by :- David William Hatton (loki)

The Underworld in Camden is in fine condition for tonight’s show, slightly moist by 9 pm, sweating from every corner by 10 pm.

Marshalltown Iowa’s Modern Life is War, known for classic albums like 2003’s My Love My Way and 2005’s Witness, are back in the UK and they’ve put together a nicely varied lineup.

First up are Londoners WhoCares?: too punk for hardcore and too hardcore for punk is a motto that suits them well, and they made no illusion about it. They have come to enjoy the night: frontman Willy has a microphone in one hand and a Newkie Brown in the other.

Throughout the roughly 20 minutes they deliver 11 punchy hardcore anthems like Maybe Baby, Desperate, and Newc’ the World; these songs show a glimpse of their sense of humour.

Their songs are in your face and catchy. My fav song: Newc’ the World!

Great start to the evening. Thanks, WhoCares?.


  • Why bother?”
  • Apology
  • Failure
  • Maybe baby
  • Poor Choices
  • Desperate
  • The pattern repeats
  • Rhetoric
  • Newc’ the world
  • No one
  • Back in step

Next, the Netherlands 4-piece Swain, previously known as This Routine is Hell. They have come to entertain us with their mixed bag of punk rock tunes.

Vocurlist (pun intended) Noam starts his warm-ups bouncing and spinning into the intro of Half Asleep Half Awake, from 2016’s The Long Dark Blue.

Swain are definitely more on the melodic side, but tracks like Punk Rock Messed You Up, Kid! from the above album and Vaarwel, a track from 2015’s Heavy Dancing, are in your face Punk Rock songs.

Never Clean My Room personifies the melodic side of the band’s material, and it’s a pleasant break from the heavier sounds. Swain can’t be accused of lacking energy, they bounced and jumped all over the stage and all over our ears.


  • Half Asleep Half Awake
  • Punk Rock Messed You Up, Kid!
  • Vaarwel
  • Never Clean My Room
  • Kiss Me Hard

Svalbard enter the Underworld stage quietly and calmly. The quiet is soon shattered by opener The Damage Done; the dual vocals/guitars make for an abrasive and dynamic sound.

Svalbard are happy to cross the genres within the metal scene: part post, part black, Feminazi?! is a fine example of their style seamlessly blending the aforementioned subgenres,

For the Sake of the Breed’s haunting melodic vocals show you they aren’t just a scream with anger band, their sound has depth. It’s not difficult to see the passion and conviction in their live performance, it’s an all-out attack to the ears! And I like that kind of thing; if you do too, check them out!


  • The Damage Done
  • Feminazi!?
  • Perspective,
  • Unpaid Intern
  • For the Sake of the Breed
  • Disparity
  • Revenge porn

Modern Life is War enter to a very full and ready venue, with a brief welcome from frontman J Eaton.

They kick straight into Fuck the Sex Pistols! from 2007’s Midnight in America. At 1:04 it’s something fast to warm up the crowd and they oblige, shouting along “hey hey hey hey! Fuck the glory days”.

The Outsiders intro gets people ready to go. I don’t think the venue’s crowd surfing policy will be maintained tonight as the bodies start flying!

Modern Life has two covers in their set, and I would be surprised if anyone in here tonight doesn’t recognise the intro to these songs.

First up is the classic I Wanna be Your Dog: cheers go up around the underworld, as punk anthems go this is a crowd favourite no doubt. This song has a certain punk rock swagger!

We are half way through the set, it’s as hot as hell and its gonna get hotter as drummer Luke Rauch smokes it with the blast beat intro to John & Jimmy, a great hardcore song.

Marshalltown allows the crowd to catch a breath with its slow build up. The second cover tonight is Black Flag’s Nervous Breakdown, followed by D.E.A.D. Ramones, and the mosh pit continues. They close the set out with By the Sea from My Love My Way!

I suspected tonight’s show would be packed, packed full of hardcore fans wanting a hot and sweaty Venue, and they got it.

Four solid bands, this was one of the best hardcore shows I’ve been to.


  • Fuck the Sex Pistols
  • The Outsiders
  • Martin Atchet
  • Breaking the Cycle
  • Late Bloomers
  • Chasing My Tail
  • Momentum
  • Feels Like the End Times
  • I Wanna be Your Dog
  • Dark Water
  • John & Jimmy
  • Marshalltown
  • Young Man Bites
  • Young Man on a Spree
  • Nervous Breakdown
  • D.E.A.D. Ramones
  • First & Ellen
  • By the Sea