Click the m:h logo to follow me on Twitter

Friday, 28 November 2008

Can it really be??

Every Wednesday I get my TicketWeb email alert, and 90% of the time the content is pretty dire (although I did find out about Rise Against's 2009 tour through there so it aint all bad). As much as I'd love to go and see Girls Aloud and Britney at The O2, sometimes you've got to pass these opportunities up.
I opened the email this week and couldn't believe what I saw. Three words which made my heart skip a beat - "Lynyrd", "Skynyrd" and "Brixton". I love Skynyrd. To me, they're the ultimate old skool, unkempt, dirty rock band. The drummer's name is Artemis, for Christ's sake - can you get more Southern rawk than that?? So anyway, the email tells me that the Skynyrd boys are playing in Brixton on Suday March 31st. Tickets went on sale this morning at 9am, I had my "downstairs; standing" confirmed by 9:01. These guys play the big shit in the USA and I always thought that, should they cross the pond, it'd be Wembley. a 3,000 capacity venue for one of the biggest rock and roll bands of all time? No-brainer mate.

Don't get me wrong, I know its not the original line-up (I'm not a complete spastic shitfuckwanktard) but it's as good as my white ass will ever see. Plus, it's a Van Zant singing and that to me is authentic. It's the first time I've ever got tickets to a gig and phoned my mum; that's how excited I am. Plus, I think she appreciates Skynyrd more than if I phoned her to let her know I had tickets to Cradle Of Filth.

Imagine seeing "Free Bird" live? Just imagine it! I can now categorically state (split infinitive; sue me) that I WILL cry if, no, when they play "Simple Man" as it one of my all time favourite all time songs of all time.

Today is a good day for music. Plus, in less that lots of hours, the two nights of carnage begins....

Sunday, 23 November 2008

I stand corrected...

Despite my less than positive reaction to "Kirisute Gomen" as a taster of Trivium's then-forthcoming album, "Shogun" ("All Hope IS Still There", Sunday, 3 August 2008), I got an email through the other day about an intimate gig the Floridian metallers were playing about 5 minutes from my office on December 9th. Seeing as "Ascendancy" is one of my top metal albums of all time, I thought I'd dip my hand in my pocket and further add to the ticket pile. I also invested in "Shogun", a touch reluctantly but I hate being at gigs and not knowing the lion's share of the material.

My laptop has been out of action for a few days so I've had "Shogun", AC/DC's new joint "Black Ice" and "Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire" by Hatebreed, which Si-KO leant to me, all sitting on my table waiting to be uploaded onto the ol' MP3 (strictly speaking an MP4 but let's not split hairs...). I finally got "Shogun" on and hit play.

Opens with "Kirisute Gomen" but this time, it sounded a hell of a lot better. Still not perfect but a shit load more guts than when I first downloaded it a couple of months back. "This ain't too bad", thinks I. As with "Dying In Your Arms" from "Ascendancy", "Shogun" has a stand-out single and soon-to-be-confirmed crowd pleaser "Into The Mouth Of Hell We March". However, there is a pure fucking raw aggression to tunes like "He Who Spawned The Furies", proving that Corey Beaulieu has more than enough ability to take on the guttural growling since Matt Heafy has relinquished responsibility of the growly stuff. There are shades of Devildriver drums and Travis Smith has clearly been given free rein on the double pedal; something that was sorely missed with "The Crusade". "Shogun" is the album that "The Crusade" should have been - more mature than "Ascendancy" but with the passion and ferocity intact. Instead, "The Crusade" undid a shit load of the hard work that Trivium had put in, and wrote them off to many as another MOR Metallica covers band. "Shogun" corrects this - December 9th, 300 people, this lot on stage. What a fucking night it'll be.

"Black Ice"? Pure, old fashioned AC/DC. 30-odd years after the seminal "Back In Black" album, they've come back with another absolute winner. It's just a continuation of tunes about rockin', rollin, humpin' and-a drinkin' and to be honest, I can understand why their UK gigs sold out in about 0.3 seconds. It's still not polished, Brian Johnson's vocals are still like a strangled chicken and the fact that Angus Young still insists on dressing like a schoolboy well into his 50's is bordering on laughable but you know what? They can get away with it. Why? Because they don't fucking care. And that's rock and roll.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Eat my beer

So the plan was, me and Bro Dude rock up to Brixton for about 16:00, meet with Axeman and Skinsman from Nobody's Hero and pound beers for a few hours, then wander down to the Academy for Alter Bridge. A simple plan, perfectly executed.

After 5 or 6 of Download's finest beer, Tuborg, we pounded a quick can in the queue and we're in. Obviously the first stop was the bar as it had been at least 7 minutes since out last beverage. A quick stop at the merch stand for the traditional tour t-shirt, a few pisses and off we went to the front.

We caught the end of Logan but didn't see enough for me to pass judgement. Hot Leg, bastard child of former Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins, was another matter. Don't get me wrong, I'm open to any new music and Skinsman was looking forward to some old Darkness tunes. However, what we were greeted with was a wannabe 80's glam metal performance by a group of frankly terrible try-hards. Alter Bridge are not a huge band in this country but their fans are loyal - everyone was buzzing for them but Hot Leg just killed it. They were, frankly, gash.

I'm not a heckler by nature. If I don't approve, I don't watch. Or I keep schtum. But this was a whole new level of cack. The crowd were baying for blood so me and the chaps thought it only right that we take the moral high ground. By annihilating the stage with half-empty pints. Bro Dude was surprised at the velocity of a washback-laden Guinness as it narrowly missed the "guitarist". The cheers for us beat the cheers for Hot Leg. Hot Leg? Hot Shit more like.

Enough of this. Alter Bridge came on with "Come To Life" as they did at Download and the crowd caught fire. Bro Dude hit the toilet and the bar, the rest of us muscled our way down to the front. I was expecting a bit of moshing but not a full on fucking shit fight. As they plowed through the "Blackbird" album, I couldn't hold back any longer so got my carcass up onto the heads and surfed my way to the front. One thing I'll say for the security, they helped me down and just pushed me out. No bollocking, no nothing. However, when "Ties That Bind" kicked in and I went over again, I did get a wee warning not to do it again or I'd be expelled. Buzzkills.

As "Blackbird" entered it's sixth minute, me and the lads were arms in air, sweating, I was shirtless and scratched to fuck, and some random bloke put his arm round my waist and told me he loved me. "Metallingus" kicked us into overdrive and by the end of the set, 2,000 people realised they'd been beating the shit out of their mates for an hour and had screamed their throats raw (as one song finished, I removed the inexplicable headlock I had on Skinsman...)

We met up with Bro Dude outside who was buzzing, plus Axeman's dad who'd been at the bar chugging lager with roadies for the set, and off we rode into the Brixton sunset. Well done lads; it was a fucking belter.

Alter Bridge do a headline tour once a year. Here's hoping that Myles Kennedy's rumoured presence on the forthcoming Led Zep tour doesn't stop this happening again in 2009.