It was a wet and windy night in Plymouth on Saturday, so it was something of a relief to descend into the relative warmth of The Underground where Max Raptor were headlining. Aptly named because of its underground location, the venue is slightly smaller than Cavern, if you rearranged it a bit. When we arrived fifteen minutes before the first band went on stage, there were only about three other people in the room who weren’t in a band, related to one of the bands, or that worked in the venue. Two support bands kicked off the night although (to my great confusion) neither of them were the support band listed on the tour information. Ten Zero One were enjoyable and had good energy, although let themselves down by starting with a cover when their own music was much better. Super Secret Club fell a little flat; musically it was lax and the energy just wasn’t there.
By the time Max Raptor came on stage the room had filled out more, although there still couldn’t have been more than 25 people. This didn’t matter though; I have seen Max Raptor several times now, and it doesn’t matter whether they are playing to a full tent at a festival or twenty five people in a room in Plymouth, within three songs they always have people moving and moshing, and this night was no different. The crowd formed so there was a semi-circle of space in front of the stage, in which frontman Wil charged around, singing in the faces of the crowd. Meanwhile, guitarist Ben and bassist Matt threw themselves around the stage. The four of them, including drummer Pete, never give the impression that they are giving less than everything to any show they play.
The set list was a mix of songs from all three EP and album releases. The show kicked off with album favourite Evangeline, and contained obvious classics like The Great And The Good and The Patron Saint Of Nothing. They also played three songs from their brand new EP, which were received with the same enthusiasm as the rest of the set. Throughout the whole show, whether they were playing old tracks or new, nothing changed from beginning to end. Musically it was tight throughout, despite all the head-banging and bouncing around, and the whole band kept up the intense energy from start to finish. In return, the crowd did the same and there wasn’t one song where the commitment dropped from either party. This phenomenon doesn’t happen often and it makes this band something special. Seeing them live feels like rock gigs how they should be done.
As is tradition, Max Raptor finished the night with mammoth track The King Is Dead from their 2011 EP. This time it’s not just Wil in the crowd, but bassist Matt as well. Everyone gets involved; moshing and jumping and singing along to the anthem. The bass line at beginning sends shivers. It is fast and fun and it is always a crowd favourite.
Max Raptor brought a small room of people to life on Saturday night and I was not surprised as I have seen them do it countless times before. Max Raptor have never disappointed and in The Underground in Plymouth they once again showed that they have found something a lot of other bands are missing. Fun, loud and full to the brim with punk energy – a brilliant Saturday night.