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Monday, 27 October 2008

Master Of Tickets

Terrible title. I think my ability to think of witty and humorous titles to these posts is dwindling. Plus the fact that I'm sitting at my desk surrounded by non-believers in the metal cause makes it a bit tricky to be inspired...oh, the drama.

So WTF? I hear you ask in text speak. Sitting at my desk the other day and T-Bone, my work colleague who has always wished for a good nickname, mentioned that the forthcoming Metallica tour tickets were going on sale at 9am. This was about 8:45am. Now don't get me wrong, I think Metallica are a phenomenal band - "S&M" appears regularly on the ol' MP3, I even like "St. Anger", dare I say it! Anyway, I digress. I thought I'd give Shithouse a bell (see "Who Needs Friends...", June 30th) as after our recent Maiden experience at Twickenham, I thought he might be going to see Hetfield et all.

He answered the phone but I could barely hear him over the stereo in the background. What was he playing? Metallica. If ever there were to be a sign, this was it. He was up for it in a big way. Plus, as he pointed out, Machine Fucking Head are supporting which is a major draw for MADman. So it was settled: I'd buy 4 tickets and we'd reunite the Maiden Twickenham cartel for a Metallica shindig.

£200-odd later, our seats at the O2 on March 2nd are confirmed. Seats. Fuckin' SEATS! Better than nothing. I'm sure we'll manage to muscle our way down to the pit somehow. I've never seen these guys before so the prospect of the crowd pleasers is pretty exciting. I just hope that Nothing Else Matters is the same sitting in a plastic seat with plenty of space as it would be getting crushed to death by 20,000 overweight, denim-wearing sweat boxes.

In the meantime, if you meet one of the c*nts who got hold of standing tickets and put it for sale at double face value straight away, a short, sharp kick to the genitals would be much appreciated by my good self...

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

It's Herman!

Chatting with a mate at work today - I say "chatting", I mean emailing. Do people ever really talk anymore? To be fair, there's no reason to be sociological about it; he does work on another floor in the building so "talking" in the traditional sense of the word can be tricky.
God I'm rambling. I think it's because I've got DragonForce's Inhuman Rampage on and if there's one things that goes on and on and rambles and rambles, it's the 'Force. Which brings me [surprisingly] right on to my next point. Which was actually my first point (fuckin' 'ell, this was meant to be a quick post before I make some dinner...)
Okay, so emailing a mate a work today, who shall be known as Si-KO, he asked me if there was an Asian fellow in that "Dragon" band I went to see. Of course, he's on about good ol' Herman Li. Once we'd established that there was, it turns out Si-KO and Herman Li both train at the same Brazilian Ju Jitsu establishment. He'd asked "the short Asian guy with the long hair" what he did, as is polite, and Herman had replied that he was in a band. Si-KO told me he thought this meant he was unemployed and claiming dole. But lo, 'tis not so.

Imagine knowing Herman Li! Am I the only one who thinks that's cool as shitting fuck??!

Turns out Herm (I can call him that now I reckon) is a nice humble bloke - glad he's not just like that in the magazine interviews. What a thoroughly gnarly acquaintance to have.

Si-KO will be receiving a copy of Inhuman Rampage tomorrow in order to educate himself before their next meeting. He's into his hardcore so I'm not surprised he's never come across DragonForce. Can't see them touring with Sick Of It All any time soon.

There's another dude in the office who's into his Black and Death, although I've only ever seen him in Maiden and Metallica merch. This being said, I heard he was in Emperor clobber last week.

You know what? I think there's probably a little scene at my place. I might start a CD exchange club....

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Local mayhem

Being a firm supporter of all things up-and-coming in the music world (inasmuch as I like seeing unsigned bands play, that's about it), me and Hot Chick dutifully went down to our local converted toilet to watch our new mate and his band thrash one out last night. The place was rammed with at least 20 people but they served Newcastle Brown cold and less than £3 a bottle. Fuckin' A.

It was a battle of the bands-type affair, with the top two bands going through to the next stages. As there were only two bands playing, everyone was on for a good night out. First band on were As World's Collide (I think). Pretty good emo stuff, carbon copy of A Day To Remember but still worth a listen. The bass player's open string twangings left a bit to be desired for but they looked like they were having fun and more power to them.

Then came our mate's band, Rachel's Got A Flamethrower. Loud, aggressive, and painful (for the vocalist). Visually, think Annotations On An Autopsy meets Deftones. Aurally, think metalcore vocals with good old fashioned thrash 'n' roll. These guys would be good in a bigger room as they need the crowd - there was a shit load of energy there wasted on a large amount of empty space as there can't have been more than 40 people there. Still, RGAF won, and through to the next round. Very tight musically; I can see there being a pit next time.

Who'd have thought such a scene existed in the home counties, people?

Monday, 6 October 2008

My brothers, my sisters, my blood

A nice long lie-in after the DragonForce mayhem, a quick sarnie, and the trip to Brixton began. I must confess me and Hot Chick were both incredibly excited by the prospect of seeing "Mad" David Draiman and the boys rip it up for the third time.

The train was empty apart from a group of 5 emo's and a couple of amorous pierced metal heads. My Disturbed hoody got the traditional knowing nod from both parties so I knew we were all headed in the same direction. Arrived and Brixton, off to the boozer. Wandering around this place ain't the most pleasant experience but when you're in a metal army, the whole safety in numbers adage rings true! A few pints of Tuborg later (even Hot Chick, an alcopop-at-the-most kinda drinker polished off one of the "Download pints") and we were in.

Support from Shinedown was pretty good but nothing exceptional. If the CD was 2 for a tenner, it'd make up the numbers. But the atmosphere in the Academy was exceptional. Unlike DragonForce, the crowd here was older, hairier, had more tattoos and had been drinking for longer. It was on.

Disturbed have always split the metal community but in an odd way. Whereas usually you have your old skool NWOBHM blokes vs. metalcore, etc., Disturbed have divided the press and the fans. The press don't get them, don't dig them in any way. The metallers though, fruncking love them. As ol' Davey points out, every time they come back they play bigger rooms (although his "tell ten of your friends to tell ten of their friends and we'll bring this shit to the O2" was a combination of optimism and shameless self-promotion).

Despite this being the Indestructible tour, they dipped into The Sickness, Believe and Ten Thousand Fists for the material tonight. I broke my neck as the opening bars of Voices violated the air and it didn't stop. I'm pretty sure I've dislodged a couple of discs but I'm hoping the pit at December's gigs will save on any orthopedic necessities.

Land Of Confusion was a personal highlight tonight. Take a Phil Collins song, distort the guitar and growl over the lyrics and all of a sudden you've got a metal anthem. Perhaps Anthrax should look at In The Air Tonight, Municipal Waste doing Think Twice would also get my vote.

Mike Wengren's spotlit drum solo wasn't anything special but as it was after the first song in the encore, it could only lead on to one thing. As soon as the telltale opening bars to The Sickness kicked in, the room went ballistic. This song IS Disturbed. Okay, Stricken may have been used in the WWE but only major fans, teenage boys and overweight IT technicians know about this. The Sickness went Hollywood baby (the song on the end credits of Dawn Of The Dead for anyone who doesn't already know).

Draiman gave us all a motivational speech about how we'd feel stronger when we left and got the crowd going with the now-expected:

Mad Davey: "My brothers, my sisters, my blood; we are..."
4,000 oiled metallers: "DISTURBED!"

Say what you want about their early nu-metal stuff but these guys have got eleven years of graft and development under their belt now. When I first saw them back in 2000 supporting Marilyn Manson (I was working security - not a fan of Mazza, although he is a good showman) I was hooked. Okay, David Draiman still comes out strapped to a trolley with a mask on a la Hannibal Lecter, but it's all part of their charm. And you cannot beat a 90+ minute set of singalong songs, beer in hand, fist in the air. I hope they don't get big enough for the O2 as these guys are a band of the people - if they grow much more, they might forget those of us who were with them from day one....

Saturday, 4 October 2008

May the 'Force be with you

After two weeks off of the beer, I was apprehensive about a "sober" gig. So had some beers.

We turned up late and missed Turisas but to be honest, we've seen them before - fun as they are, I wasn't overly devastated. The one thing that did shock and to a degree, appall, was the fact that me and Hot Chick were amongst the oldest 10% of the clientele at Astoria last night. Big deal, says you, but with a combined age of 54, we're hardly over the feckin' hill. But as we stood there watching a group of three lads aged about nine chugging 3 fingers of beer and acting shitface rat-arsed, it suddenly hit home. I looked around, up to the balcony, around the pit - I WAS that old shaven-headed guy that I used to avoid. Mixed emotions, people, mixed emotions.

Anyone, enough of my self-realisation. The 'Force took to the stage and it began. As expected, Sam Totman and Herman Li fucking ruled. It's amazing that they play the solos virtually note for note as they sound on the albums, adding masturbatory hand signals at each other, licking the guitar strings and various other [un]necessary onstage wankery. Beautiful. However, what I wasn't prepared for was quite how piss-bollockingly amazing Dave Mackintosh is on the skins. Combine the biggest drum kit I've ever seen, cage and all, with the most frankly ridiculously fast double pedal in history and you've got a spectacle to behold. For over an hour, the bloke who can't be more than about 5-foot tall owned the stage as far as I was concerned. It must be something about being a short musician - Joey Jordisson, anyone?

Never have I seen a band have so much fun. Frederic Leclercq on the 4-strings did not stop smiling for the whole set, and even ivory tinkler Vadim was going spastic crazy on the keys. ZP Theart did a great job of getting the crowd going, with perhaps the exception of the seated section up top - I know the gig had sold out but really, seating at DragonForce??

Obviously they finished with Through The Fire and The Flames, self-indulgently introduced as "the song that made Guitar Hero III famous" and amidst a flurry of plectrums and sticks, I did notice Dave missing one cymbal but overall, they were spot on.

DragonForce really are the most ludicrous band I have ever seen. Every song follows the same formula, most of the lyrics are pretty much the same, the solos saw Sam and Herman stepping to the front of the stage and taking turns to shred and call each other a wanker for the whole set, and the thunderous double pedal continued non-stop. Nothing original about any song at all. But Judas Priest (stole that from Corey Taylor; I like it) they are tight. They have a gargantuan amount of fun and you can't watch them without smiling. They really do make sure you have a fucking good night out.

Disturbed tonight - hopefully we won't be the oldest again....

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Tickets at the ready

Me and Hot Chick are currently sitting on pairs of tickets for the following:

Alter Bridge
Black Stone Cherry
Cradle Of Filth
Slipknot/Machine Head/Children Of Bodom
Rise Against

Needless to say, things are looking up on the music front.

Having just purchased Cradle's Nymphetamine album, I was leafing through the sleeve notes at work and smiling at some of the, shall we say, provocative imagery. My boss, who's iPod is full of the likes of The Ting Tings (fuck off), Amy Winehouse (too much talent for a ming-riddled tramp) and various funky house nonsensery, decided to have a read of Dani and the boys' work himself. He got as far as the lyrics to Gilded Cunt before deciding perhaps the album wasn't for him. We've decided in a very democratic way that each Friday, we'll put someones MP3 on and listen to some music of their choice. I'm going for:

Napalm Death

Oh what fun it is to have.

Kidneys are fucked at the mo so I'm off the booze. However, with DragonForce's Ultra Beatdown tour, supported by everyone's favourite Finnish warriors Turisas tomorrow, and Disturbed touring the ever-growing-on-me fourth studio album Indestructible on Saturday, I can see this being a challenge.

Could be worse though. I could have had to watch Staind sober.