September 11, 2019 at Paradise Rock Club
Energy. This is the only word that accurately describes Uniform’s performance at Paradise Rock Club on September 11. No soundcheck. No talking. No breaks. Pure energy. Guitarist Ben Greenberg gave the crowd no time to even put ear plugs in before providing the audience with immense distortion and a fantastic stage presence. Greenberg’s playing complemented the pounding drums from the band’s live drummer (as they do not have one in the studio) so well and showed great technical ability to provide some screeching lead parts while maintaining impeccable rhythm.
Uniform’s newest collaboration project with The Body, “Everything That Dies Someday Comes Back,” whose name originates from a Springsteen track, is an industrial tour-de-force that offers some of the band’s best tracks. However, this calculated and synth-heavy studio approach is far from the band’s live performance. Instead, Uniform channels the essence of the hardcore scene of old, playing to the crowd and supplying some of the most head-bangable riffs. However, even though they come from the haven of hardcore, New York City, the band does not mimic any of their predecessors. This is not Sick of It All or Agnostic Front, this is Uniform. Frontman and avid horror fan Michael Berdan feeds off the energy from the crowd and makes taunting gestures and a phenomenal vocal performance. At one point, Berdan’s microphone disconnected and the lead vocalist did not miss a beat, reverting to screaming his lyrics while fixing the technical issue himself. This summed up the entire performance as Berdan and Greenberg were absorbed by their art.
When he wasn’t making throat-slitting gestures or searching for balance on an audience member’s head, Berdan was applying industrial synth clips to add to the frantic and high-energy nature of their music. The band did not rest. Uniform’s sound filled the entire stage floor and instilled the same raw energy onto onlookers in the balcony, something not so easily done. This is all without mentioning that Uniform came on before Boris, hardly an easy band to proceed, and almost stole the show. When Boris brought on Greenberg and Berdan for one final song, the band did not miss a single beat, jumping back in with the same level of intensity they showed in their 45 minute set. Uniform’s music may have a dark and intense feel to it but the band’s future is bright.
From doing DIY shows to touring with established names like Deafhaven to now touring with one of the most critically acclaimed hardcore acts since the run of the century, Uniform should be optimistic of their ascent. For anyone who’s not afraid of distortion and the occasional elbow in the pit, Uniform is a must-see act that offers an intensity like no other… but there might be some whiplash in the morning.