Ho99o9 are a volatile band, both on record and live. They’ve been kicked off Warped tours, chucked out of SXSW but, when they are allowed to stay, they give nothing more than 100% which is reciprocated by their devoted, almost unhinged crowds. Their show at The Haunt was no different, in a gig that saw mad moshpits, insane crowd surfing and loud punk-rap music. Ho99o9 are truly a band like no other and there’s no other group that can get a reaction from a crowd like Ho99o9 can.
First of all, though, I had the misfortune of seeing the support band Kate Mo$$. If they were a two-piece they would be an average band at best, but it’s the fact they’re a four-piece – made up of a drummer, a rapper, a man that does absolutely nothing but smoke, drink beer and shout at the crowd and a half naked woman crawling around on her knees at their beck and call – that makes them one of the most disgusting, degrading and offensive bands I’ve ever had the displeasure of seeing. They turned the atmosphere nasty and made the crowd uncomfortable with their distasteful on-stage antics.
Luckily, Ho99o9 were on hand to change the atmosphere. Initially, Ho99o9 won over audiences with their superb mix of punk, heavy rock and hip-hop, but it’s their live show where they’ve succeeded in keeping these fans. Throughout both The OGM and Eaddy, along with their live Black Flag drummer Brandon Pertzborn, don’t let up for a single second. Keeping on-stage chat to an absolute minimum, their one goal for the night was to rock every nook and cranny of The Haunt and, by all accounts, they can be branded as successful. There’s an unpredictability to their live show, you never quite know where it’s going next. At one point, in the craziest action of the night, Eaddy climbed the speakers, made his way up onto the balcony a good 12 feet high, and jumped off into the moshing crowd. It was wild, it was frantic and, like most heavy gigs, it was unpredictable.
It’s not just their antics that’s impressive, however, as their music is fantastic. An immense mixture of the intense, apocalyptic and powerful, it’s like a party at the end of the world. Ho99o9 described their music as a “crossbreed mutant”, which is clear with their intimidating brand of genre bending, noisy sounds. ‘Splash’ displays the aggressive, bass-boosted penchant frequently seen in trap and dance music. While the main-set ending ‘Knuckle Up’ sounds like metallic hardcore band Code Orange with its powerful chorus.
Ho99o9’s prominence for political pessimism, harmonic clutter, and self-sabotage often sees them compared to Death Grips, but there’s an imperative difference. There’s a lightness to Ho99o9, a funny side if you were, where they seem playful. Throughout the night they taunt the crowd, telling them that they can do better, asking them to get them drinks. For all the seriousness of their musical output, they’re a band that know how to have fun and that’s exactly what they brought to The Haunt on a wintery Friday night. Like a Tarantino film meets Trump’s America, Ho99o9 are a weaponised, volatile beast that wants to bring peace and harmony in the loudest, most cacophonous way.