This was the third time Comeback Kid played in Serbia and my third time to see them live. First, we met at Exit festival, back in 2009 and even now, I can remember that show quite well. Dark on the stage during the opening 'Partners in Crime,' Andrew Neufeld standing on the loudspeakers during 'Industry Standards,' or a massive moshpit during 'Wake The Dead' at the very end. It had been almost eight years since I saw them again in Vienna last February, and despite Andrew's throat infection, once again they delivered a real hardcore show. However, I missed their Belgrade show back in 2015, so this was the chance to settle the score.
Comeback Kid is one of the bands I could watch any given day, while their last year's effort 'Outsider' was easily my favorite hardcore record of 2017. Adding a small club, and around 200 fans to the equation only made things better. Yes, I know it's a bit selfish, I know it's better for bands themselves to play in front of a bigger crowd, but I just can't help it. With some bands, with some shows, less is more, and the impression is much stronger. Energy is more raw, more direct. And that's exactly what happened.
At this point in their career, Comeback Kid is more than capable of delivering a monstrous set, filled with bangers. Even better, they can do it without much effort. From the opening with 'Do Yourself a Favor' and 'Surrender Control' madness started. The new record is already well-received by the fans, causing big sing-alongs, as much as the old hits did. Mixing new tracks such as 'Somewhere Somehow,' 'Absolute' and 'Hell of a Scene' with the old crowd-pleasers such as 'False Idols Fall,' 'Broadcasting,' 'Should Know Better' and 'Wasted Arrows' the band had the crowd going all the time. Not the mention the huge sing along on 'Didn't Even Mind,' when Neufeld took the opportunity to thank the authors of the mural which was inspired the song. As the show was getting to an end, the band touched on every phase of their career, including the first song they ever wrote - 'All In a Year.' Without the encore, as they didn't want to leave the stage, the band finished off the only way they could - causing the total mayhem with the anthem - 'Wake the Dead.'
For this part of their South East, and South European tour, the Canadian five-piece went on their own, so the supporting slots were given to Serbian hardcore heavyweights Blankfile and Lazarath. Considering differences in their music, the combination of these two bands was just perfect to show both sides of Comeback Kid's sound. While openers, Novi Sad six-piece Lazarath offered their raw, thrashcore infused stuff, Belgrade band Blankfile gravitated to a more polished, metalcore-influenced sound, heavily influenced by the likes of Architects and While She Sleeps. However, both bands delivered strong sets, bringing loads of energy and justifying their place on the stage.
Over the years, I've seen both bands more than a few times, but I can't remember any of them sound so good. They both had some lineup changes since the last time saw them, but the difference was especially felt with the openers which now, with three guitars, sound better than ever. The club was almost full from the very beginning, and although a bit reserved during the first few songs, the crowd was quick to repay the bands for the energy they were sending.Serbian hardcore scene is not a big one, and having a full club for a DIY show, in the middle of a week is certainly a great success. There were people from all over the country, some of them traveling for six or seven hours to be there, and bands knew how to appreciate that. Just how it's supposed to be on a hardcore show.