There’s something about appearances being deceptive. Take Spiritworld. They’ve come from Las Vegas to be here tonight. You look at Stu Folsom in his sparkly red jacket, or the guitarists in their Stetsons and you reckon you’re about to watch some glam band from the Sunset Strip. Yeah. Good luck. Sunset strop maybe? Whatever. This is not for the faint of heart. Justin Fornof of Wristmeetrazor is on the bass and this is an exercise in brutality for the most part. One of their number Nick Brundy, is listed as providing “noise” and that’s cool. You can dress it up however you like and “Unholy Passages” is still vicious. That said, there’s the guitar leads. They are rock n roll. It all makes for a rather unsettling spectacle. Their album “Pagan Rhythms” came out about this time last year and as its title track dies down here, it’s genuinely unclear what you have just seen. That might make Spiritworld unique, it might not, but my goodness they are compelling.

Any mention of Charger seems to be accompanied by the thought that Matt Freeman (once of Rancid and Operation Ivy) is on bass and vocals. “Did anyone see Rancid when we came over the first time?” He enquires. There’s silence. Then, after a whoop or two, Freeman acerbically notes “too late, no one saw us”. That lack of bullshit and pretensions has been evident all the way through the trio’s set. Right from the moment they start (two seconds earlier they’d been tuning up) with a simple “hey, we’re Charger” there’s nothing approaching “excess”. Hey ho and away we go indeed, with “Stand Fight Or Die” this is greasy, Motorhead style punk n roll with an eye on the back alley. “Black Motor”, “Crackdown” or “Watch Your Back” come and go and even when this is balanced out when Jason Willer once of UK Subs and Jello Biafra’s Guantanamo School of Medicine sings “Victim” while thrashing his kit like some punk rock Phil Collins, the general vibe is the same. Andrew McGee pumps out riffs and the anger comes through brilliantly on “Devastator”. They’ve got a swagger, and air of violence. Its impossible to tell if Charger enjoyed this, but you wouldn’t want to cross them.

They are towards of their set tonight when Vinnie Stigma – the only man who has been both incarnations of Agnostic Front since the start – screams into his microphone. “Never Surrender. Always chase the battle”. As sloganeering goes, it’s up there, but its impossible not to hear those words in the context of the band.

Give or take six years in the 90s when they weren’t around, Agnostic Front have been doing just that since 1980 – and the best thing about them? Time hasn’t diminished their rage in any way.

For an hour tonight they are the Kings of New York Hardcore. No one does this better than them, no one has a sound that is at once as brutal, yet as welcoming, and so full of melody.

They start with “AF Stomp”. Essentially just a riff, just a groove, but once Roger Miret (he’s been in the band almost as long as Stigma and thankfully recovered from his cancer diagnosis) has joined them, they are turbo charged.

One of those bands where the actual songs don’t matter as much as the passion, that said, there are some brilliant tracks here. Whether it’s “My Life My Way”, “Only In America” or the anthemic “Old New York”, they are all delivered as if they are the most important thing in the world.

It strikes you that you are either with them or against them, there’s no half measures, no grey areas, no sitting on the fence. “For My Family” or “Friend Or Foe” basically make that clear. And “Victim In Pain”, together with “Blind Justice” are both 38 years old and prove they’ve always been the same. The most authentic band there is? Maybe.

Happy to know their punk history – Iron Cross’ “Crucified” is dedicated to “the old school hooligans” –  but also to have fun  – witness Stigma’s incredible rendition of “Pauly The Dog”, there are moments when it is clear that no one can touch AF. They are without hardcore peers. “Gotta Go” is one of these, but you can’t fail to smile when they end with “Blitzkrieg Bop” and Stigma hands his guitar to someone else just so he can run around the stage hitting people with an inflatable version.

After 40 years, they still love this, its clear. And whilst you don’t get to play for this long if you aren’t superb, it bears repeating. In the right circles, Agnostic Front are accurately described as “legends”. And if the average person in the street might not have heard of them, that was never the aim.  Stigma, Miret and the rest are quite simply the best at what they do.