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Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Ready for take off

Sitting outside the boozer on April 21st, reading my book, chugging a few Guinnesses, the sun was shining and I was in high spirits. For April 21st is National Maiden Day. And alas, me and the chaps had tickets to the flight of the century; Flight 666. Not just tickets; Shithouse had booked premier seats (essentially more arse room and a bit of space to stretch out and do double pedal on the floor).

Shithouse and Bandy turned up at the end of pint two, so we had time for another quick 150% of pintage before heading in for a £35 hot dog. The day was going shaggingly well. We also bumped into my mate Jawsome who had made a 10-mile journey on his own for the screening. All four of us were wearing different Eddie colours, along with the other 50 metallers in the vicinity. The look on the faces of the punters who had come for a quiet "rom com" with their partners was rather entertaining.

If you don't know or have been living in an arsehole for the last six months, the film is a rockumentary about the first leg of Maiden's "Somewhere Back In Time" tour - that's the one I went to at Twickenham and you didn't. In your face. Sorry. As you'd expect, it opens with Churchill's speech and quickly into "Aces High", filmed in Mumbai. Seeing tens of thousands of Indians going ballistic to Maiden is, to be honest, a sight to behold. We follow Pilot Bruce and the cartel aboard their Boeing 757 and hitting venues such as Costa Rica (affectionately referred to by one fan as "the ass of the world") and Argentina and at every show, they play with the ferocity and sheer bloody tightness of a band half their age. Nicko McBrain has the most insane ability to gallop a single pedal and Harris's bass strum sounds as natural as a heartbeat (I left that analogy in as it's literally the gayest, most rubbish thing I have ever written).

I'm not going to go into too much detail about this film as, if you're any kind of metal fan, you'd have heard about 20 reviews so far anyway. Quite simply, go and watch the fucking film. Buy it on DVD. And Blu-Ray. And VHS, Betamax, cassette, CD, 12-inch and minidisc. Watching this is like being at a Maiden show (without the flying bottles of piss and crying teenagers trying to escape the pit) but despite having been there, seeing them do this shit in the flesh, it still doesn't prepare you for the way the South Americans, Indians, etc. respond when the boys take the stage. I've never seen a band command pure adoration from a literally global audience.

Get this film. Then go and see Maiden anywhere you can because believe you me possums, you need them in your life.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Hey now, hey now now...

Sorry people but 'tis not my fault. I've been having major issues with my computer at home which means that this MADman has been unable to update El Bloggo. I would do it at work but alas, I have not a moment to spare...

But do you care, is the question? I'll wager not.

Let me take y'all way back when to April 9th as I can hear you all asking "MADman, how were the Sisters Of Mercy?". The fact that Bro Dude and I started drinking at 16:30 suggested a long night was looming...

After smashing a quick cider with my work cartel in an oh-so-civilised way, our only real option was to hit the Crobar for a series of finest Newcastle Browns. I shan't bore you with details. Actually, that's kinda exactly what I'm going to do, and have been doing for over a year. Sorry, I'm all out of sorts today...

Right, so now we're a few beers down and on the tube. A couple of emo kids were standing opposite us talking about seeing "them for the first time in ages". I asked them if they too were venturing to the Town of Kentish for the long awaited Sisters gig. Unsurprisingly, no. Awkward silence for the remainder of the journey (wooooo! Journey! So excited about Download).

20 minutes before the gig = 1 x Brown, 1 x Jaeger, 8 x piss breaks in the Bull & Gate

And we're in. And on the Guinness. By now, Bro Dude and I were effectively steaming so although I think there was a support band, it's a bit hazy (although the haze may have been due to the 9,000 litres of dry ice. God bless the goths. Or not, as the case may be).

If I may be blunt - not James Blunt, he's a fuck - although I have the entire back catalogue of SOM music thanks to Bro Dude's oft-over-zealous music piracy, I don't know a huge amount of their songs without having the track list in front of me. This being said, I did recognise more tunes than expected.

Bro Dude and I were struggling in a big way. I was one tin of black stuff away from vomiting on the theatrically tree dancing goth to my left, Bro Dude's eyes were rolling back like he'd suffered a major head trauma so we had one option left; hit the pit.

I had no laces in my shoes so was expecting to lose them a la Rise Against ("The Pits", Tuesday March 10th) but much to my surprise, it didn't happen. The Sisters ripped through a synth-tastic array of moody anthems but for me, it came to life during Dominion and This Corrosion. The pit was an odd mix of massive hairy sweatfucks, old skool punks and vested trilby-wearers (guilty). Despite Bro Dude's drunken descent to the floor on a couple of occasions, the pit was pretty calm. Mind you, it's pretty tough to get a circle pit going to a 1980s synth beat. But praise Jesus, did we try...

The Sisters Of Mercy played an absolute blinder. They were exceptionally tight but I think a major part of this comes from the fact that their music is not complicated. There aren't hundreds of layers to work in, intricate solos and extensive vocal harmonies. Instead, it's a few blokes from Leeds moaning their way through a couple of hours of stage time. Which is exactly what we, and seemingly the rest of the crowd, were after. Okay, Andrew Eldridge said not one word to the crowd but as a goth icon, can you really expect him to? He's bald, a bit tubby, doesn't interact with the crowd and sings in a pretty monotone voice. But fuck me, doesn't he do it well.

Monday, 13 April 2009


Good lord I've eaten a lot of Easter eggs.

There's been another shedload of bands confirmed for Download, a fair few of whom are unknowns to this MADman. There's always Bring Me The Horizon, though. The fully tattooed teenage reprobates from Sheffield who, despite being increasingly respected since the release of latest joint "Suicide Season", still seem to me to be little more than, well, a troupe of cuntages. I'll go and see them as I don't want to be stuck on their too-many-tatts-too-early and shitwank hair; I'll give them a chance to convert me.....hmmm....
Stone Gods are there; meh. Fightstar are back; gaaaay. Staind have confirmed....I sincerely hope they're not as colon-openingly dull as when I last saw then as they have some awesome tracks in their back catalogue of post-grunge American-ness ("Um, hello???", September 23rd, 2008).

A bit of background reading on Facecage makes them seem an interesting proposition. Hailing from Slipknot's home town of Des Moines, Iowa, they're about to have their fourth album produced by Corey "number 8" Taylor. Could be one to watch....

Sisters Of Mercy review coming soon, if anyone cares.