Ho99o9’s punk-rap provocations are made for performing live. The New Jersey duo’s 2017 debut, United States of Horror, full of sandpaper-throated vocals spilt over Bad Brains-ish guitars and electronic carnage, was compelling but essentially a vessel for their stage show, the pair’s calling card since emerging in 2012.
The duo (pronounced “horror”) still have the energy of those early days, if not quite the same destructive streak. They make this much clear across a set at breakneck pace. Tag-teaming vocalists Eaddy and theOGM don’t emerge in wedding dresses, smashing all equipment in sight like they did on 2015’s Warped Tour, causing their removal. But they still pogo around the stage like misfiring pneumatic drills, as abrasive anthems erupt around them: Mega City Nine from November’s Cyber Cop EP is a molotov cocktail of slasher-movie screams that sends this evening’s sell-out crowd into a panic, while Forest Fires outstrips even the chaos of Death Grips, the Sacramento noiseniks Ho99o9 often draw comparisons to.
“Jump in the pit,” commands theOGM on Internet Thuggin’, dressed in a large wizard’s hat and a fluorescent orange hi-vis jacket. (The pair are clothed today: last week at a show in Berlin they were not, surging naked into a mosh pit in a video posted to Instagram.) A medley of Prodigy covers (Ho99o9 collaborated with the British dance titans on 2018 track Fight Fire With Fire) later prompts chants for late frontman Keith Flint, and more pointedly, a question: are Eaddy and theOGM the Prodigy’s spiritual successors now Flint has passed away?
Their cross-pollinated sound, forged on the internet and cranked to speaker-breaking volumes, might not have the same mainstream potential, but as tonight’s sweaty spectacle shows, Ho99o9 can start fires with just the same fervour.