Now this was a big-ass tour. Originally hosted at the Garage, for some reason or other it was moved to Ivory Blacks, which is fine as their sound is better even if the beer is slightly more expensive.
I’d actually decided against going as I’d had a couple of screaming toddler and therefore sleepless nights, but on the afternoon of the gig I received an email from Metal Hammer telling me I’d won free tickets and that I had a “Me + 1” on the guest list! I’m so easily swayed…
Unfortunately as it was my son’s birthday, I couldn’t make it for the 5:30 doors opening time as we were stuffing ourselves with pizza and ice cream. I also needed a “+1” and managed to find a random Czech guy called Michel on CouchSurfing.com who jumped at the chance of a free extreme metal gig. We met at 7-ish and walked in to catch the tail end of As They Burn’s set (we missed Make Them Suffer).
Unusual it may be to see black people involved in metal bands (and it’s rare enough that I noted it – I’ll avoid the obvious “black metal” joke. Bugger. I didn’t. Anyway…), this French combo were damn good. We only saw about a song and a half, but the little we did see was enough to make me wish I’d managed to get there 20 minutes earlier. Plenty of movement, some good solid rhythms and enough anger to scare a TV chef away. Definitely a band I’ll be looking out for in future.
A short break later and Gorod took to the stage with a couple of minor electrical issues. Also hailing from France, they show that extreme metal is very much an international scene as they blasted through a very impressive set. Lead singer Julien Deyres (appropriately nicknamed “Nutz”) seems to have been taught at the Mark Greenway / Devin Townsend school of front-manery with mad facial expressions, chest-beating and stares into the distance. Michel had seen them before and I think they were the act he was most looking forward to – they didn’t disappoint. Again, someone else I’ll be checking out.
We then got a little confused as the next two bands swapped places on the billing. We also couldn’t figure out what the hell the band on stage were called as the posters and merch just had their logo on. War From A Harlot’s Mouth was their name (and once you know it, the logo makes a lot of sense), and they powered through roughly thirty minutes of fairly samey material. Despite an energetic and frenetic performance, none of their material really stood out for me. I’ll still have a dig when I get the time and see what I can pull up from their online presence, but they didn’t get my head nodding the way the earlier acts had.
After the confusion of the switch-around, we had Canada’s Beneath The Massacre up next and they put us back on the head-nodding trail. There was a fair bit of variety in their songs with some widdly gaps, a hardcore feel to some of the material and some Machine Head-esque riffs that encouraged a good bounce. Yet another band to add to the “I need to find out more about them” list.
Headliners Job For A Cowboy came on around 10pm. I saw them a couple of months back supporting Dying Fetus and they were a decent enough support act. They played a similar set tonight and they’re still… a decent enough support act. I know people really like them (the crowd towards the front were definitely enjoying themselves), and they’re good entertainers. I just can’t get a hook into any of the songs. Having said that, whenever Jonny Davy announced an “old” song or one from Genesis, they definitely sounded better than the other stuff.
At £13 for six bands – if you got there early enough – it was good value for money and I’d certainly not have begrudged paying it. Thank you again to Metal Hammer for the free tickets though! It’s always good to support and publicise up-and-coming bands, or those who aren’t selling a billion copies (except Bring Me The Horizon – they’re shit). If I could have given As They Burn somewhere to sleep for the night, which they were asking for the night before the gig, I certainly would have. Hell, if I had the cash I’d buy a small house or flat and let passing bands use it as a crash-pad.
In the meantime the least I can do is to urge you to keep an eye out for tours like this. Work out how little the bands will be getting – if anything – from all this hard slog. Buy their merchandise, get tickets, show them your support, download (legally!) their music. These are real musicians who love what they do and who are working their fucking arses off to bring it to you. Not some jumped-up little shit who does OK at karaoke and who happens to look pretty enough for the “Simon Cowell 3-month rolling contract until everyone realises you’re a talentless cunt” method of making a living.