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Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Another night in London

You may, or indeed may not, have noticed that of late, I've been updating Metal Harmony on a Friday. I think it's nice to give both of you readers something to look forward to so fear not; an end of week post will follow but I swear to Randy Blythe if I don't tell someone about Saturday's DevilDriver gig my testicles will implode.

A 17:00 (that's 5pm for the special needs kids) start is early as fuck for a metal show but not wanting to miss Malefice, me and Hot Chick arrived as the doors opened. Unfortunately, this coincided with tens of thousands of Arsenal fans leaving Highbury so the atmosphere was a touch tense. However, we got into the Relentless Garage (sounds like the worst club night in history) and straight to the bar for a welcome pint of Tuborg. Yes, it's shit lager but it tastes like Download so LET ME HAVE MY MEMORIES!

Hailing from the bleak wastelands of Berkshire, Malefice kicked off in front of a room that can't have been more than about 40% full, which was a shame as they were pretty fucking solid. Frontman Dale Butler's got a decent death/thrash style and they opened up the evening extremely well. They were by no means extraordinary and I was surprised to learn they've been around for six years but no matter; they still got some heads nodding.

After the roadies had finished clearing the stage for Trigger The Bloodshed, we realised the roadies were Trigger The Bloodshed. Dressed in matching sleeveless black numbers, this collective of young, fresh-faced laddies started by standing in a line with their backs to the crowd in a manner that suggested we were about to hear something more akin to the the Backstreet Boys than Cannibal Corpse. And then it kicked in and yes, they're pretty heavy but the fact that vocalist Jonny Burgan had no sound whatsoever made his wild facial contortions and demonic stares all look a bit laughable. But they shredded out a solid musical performance which got a rudimentary pit going. I bought Jonny a Jaeger after their set as he was sitting on their merch stand looking knackered, and he was a thoroughly nice chap.

And so cometh Suicide Silence. This mob are pretty popular at present and according to a mate of mine, would fucking own the show. The problem was, the sound still kept cocking up and despite the fact that Mitch Lucker sounds like somewhere between a cat giving birth and a gorilla raping a meat grinder when he sings, the atmosphere never quite reached the frenzy I was expecting. There were a few bods in their Suicide Silence t-shirts giving it plenty in the middle but I was still standing about 15 feet from the stage without my pint getting so much as nudged. I'll see them again before I pass judgement though, as No Time To Bleed was pretty fucking brutal.

By now I've had a few beers, said my cursory "hello" to Metal Hammer's Alexander Milas and have purchased my merch, so all is going well. Behemoth take to the stage after what has to be the lengthiest drum tech test I have ever seen - seriously, the dude just sat there and blasted on and off for about half an hour, whilst an atmospheric soundtrack of wind and general weather-type shit came over the PA. Once they'd taken to the stage though, it was worth the wait. They've been on the scene for about 20 years so the Polish mentalists know how to work a room of this size although vocalist Adam Darski's shout of "let me see your cunting horns!" did sound ridiculous. However, there's no denying that Darski's voice was the best so far and the synchronised windmills brought even more atmosphere to what was turning into a savagely evil set. Behemoth recently had their video to "Ov Fire and Void" banned by YouTube (it's still in my "Cool Shit" list though") but combine this with the sheer number of Behemoth shirts there on the night and a confirmed slot at Bloodstock's 10-year-anniversary festival next year and I can see a lot more from this mob in the coming months.

But enough of all this bollocks, onto the point of this post. One or two of you may know that I'm a bit of a DevilDriver fan. I had, however, promised Hot Chick that I'd refrain from the pit having fucked my back up royally during a Throwdown pit earlier in the week. So when Dez Fafara and the boys came out and opened with End of the Line, I dutifully handed Hot Chick my beer and went fucking ballistic. The pit went from a bit of a murmur to an absolute onslaught of fists, legs, teeth, knees, and I'm pretty sure I saw a couple of bollocks rolling across the floor. As a 14-stone skinhead, it was my duty to use the youngsters in the pit as a stepladder, enabling me to surf my way to the front for an awesome manly handshake with Dez - what a fucking moment. The pit didn't stop once as they ripped through numbers like Hold Back The Day, Pray for Villains and of course Clouds Over California. Another highlight from me was the fact that they played Nothing Wrong, the first song off of their eponymous debut album - considering they didn't hit the big time until the third album this was an awesome inclusion in the setlist.

The pace slowed for I've Been Sober but the intensity remained, and when Dez informed us that they were filming the video for Another Night In London that very night, and guaranteed it would never be played anywhere other than in London, the pit exploded like a Peter North facial. I managed to get my carcass up onto the crowd three times and when I came down on the second occasion, there were cameras rolling - I swear here and now, if I'm in that video, I'll cry like a gay watching Bambi.

Once the set had finished, I felt fulfilled. I felt that the whole of this year had been leading to this gig. Not only did a man with tattoos of 9mm handguns on his head compliment my tattoos, not only did I get a few beers in me, not only did I see five heavy-as-fuck bands for less than a score, not only did I crowd surf harder than I ever have before, and get kudos off of the lead singer of my favourite band for it, not only did I do a Jaeger with an upcoming death metal band...I could go on...

Needless to say that 2009 is dead now. Nothing can beat this. And 2010? Okay, Lamb of God, Hatebreed and Machine Head are all going to have a good crack at it but to top this gig is going to be a fucking chore.

I'll enjoy seeing bands try though.

I'm off to eat my dinner.


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