Photos (c) Simon Holliday
About 6 years ago, the idea of punk-rap hybrids would have produced grimaces. However, the year is 2015, and punk-rap hybrids are very much a thing. Not in the kind of slightly naff, nu-metal way of yesteryear, but instead this ‘genre’ exists within a hand full of sonically aggressive pioneers who masterfully, and seriously, combine the aggressive elements of hip-hop, drill and trap, with sampled guitars, dark lyrics and a shit-tonne of noise. Think of Death Grips as the godfathers, Flatbush Zombies as the weird cousin and early Odd Future as the bratty little brother.
Somewhere in the middle of all of these groups sit Ho99o9, the two piece made up of theOGM and Eaddy from New Jersey, whose own particular brand chews up even heavier influences, Metallica and Slayer, creating songs that swing between ominous, doomsday rap and straight up skate-thrash. So it was a surprise to see them billed on a Sunday night.
Not that you’d have guessed it. From the get go the Louisiana’s upstairs was transformed into a swamp of bodies, with the MC’s diving in and out. Backed by live drums, their already punishing sound took on an extra element, and the noise was deafening. Instead of using live guitars, the band opted for a sampler, perhaps taking away an element of unpredictability from the live set up. theOGM and Eaddy more than made up for it though, lunging about the tiny stage, crowd-surfing and bouncing off each other. Using a sampler helped to also recreate their sound a little more faithfully. The difference between them and a straight up punk band is the fact they sample guitars, not play them. The technique helps to create the devastating riffs and sounds on songs like “Bone Collector”, and adds the hip-hop edge that sets them apart.
“Hey we’re ho99o9, that’s spelt h-o-9-9-o-9,” theOGM tells us half way through their set (incase we forgot the spelling), “We actually came to Bristol yesterday, but it turned out we got the day wrong and we had to drive two more hours to do a shitty gig in Wales.” Not to make any assumptions about what the Welsh crowd the previous night had been like, but it would have been pretty hard to challenge the fervour and frenzy the Bristol crowd whipped themselves into. And Ho99o9 loved it, geeing them up further, saying thank you a bit too politely for a band of their ilk, and even saying that we were their favourite crowd so far. Well Ho99o9, by the looks of things you’re probably a late entry as one of Bristol’s favourite gigs of the year.
Check out ‘DeathKult Disciples (999 Anthem)’ right here: