This one was highly anticipated. Sepultura’s first time in Glasgow in ages, a small venue and their 30th anniversary tour. When the support – both touring and “local” – were announced, this became a ridiculously good value gig and this was demonstrated by the size of the crowd who turned up.
A good number were there to see openers Reign of Fury who’d driven all the way up from the Midlands. Hardly “local”, but when you’re given the chance to open for Sepultura I guess you just tell them you live around the corner! Along with a handful of die-hards who’d made the 400-mile return journey were a good number of local fans, one of whom was kindly putting the band up for the night afterwards. Such is the community of metal!
With half an hour on stage, Reign of Fury managed to get more than a few fists pumping and heads banging. This is a band who seem to be all over the place playing gigs, and this experience shows. Rattling off a set that was very similar to their Bloodstock opener, their short stint flew by.
Reign of Fury have a lot going for them. Daft haircuts, Bison’s annoyingly perfect teeth and incredible vocal range, quality modern thrash sound… this is a band who know how to entertain. Bison’s a great front-man – he just doesn’t care about social graces. If he’s not wrapping the microphone cable around his neck and headbanging like a loon, he’s stood on the barrier rubbing his armpits in some unsuspecting audience member’s face.
The rest of the band are great, and on-loan guitarist Lenny has done an incredible job of nailing their live set in such a short time. The stage tonight, though, was a little cramped for them to move around much so Bison was the only one who got to really interact with the crowd. This included a rendition of “Born to Die” with half the chorus being sung by a handful of the audience not quite sober enough to dodge the microphone being shoved in their faces.
A short but sweet set and, speaking to the band afterwards, soon to be repeated. They’re aiming to hit Glasgow and Edinburgh early next year as headliners. Can’t wait.
Evile were next up and are a band I’m not too familiar with. One of the Crew, Sean, caught them a few weeks ago when they headlined Audio after postponing twice (the original date being over a year earlier!) and, on the strength of tonight’s short set, it must have been a great night.
Fair play to them, they announced that they’d deliberately aimed to play as many tracks as possible which weren’t on their set list for that gig. Much better value for the fans who’d attended the recent show. Much darker in tone than Reign of Fury, they were a perfect partner in terms of warming up the crowd. Not too much of the same thing, and with that slight death-y edge that would lead us towards Sepultura’s headlining set.
For one worrying moment, it seemed they may be leaving stage early, but a guitar fault was quickly rectified (though Piers is apparently going to be sacked for it…). By the second song, they’d managed to get a decent pit going and as they raged into closer “Thrasher”, the crowd was going pretty mental. Only six songs, but all belters and the sound was top notch.
Whoever was on the sound decks at this point came close to getting punched repeatedly as they – for reasons I can’t understand – decided to put on Bros’ “When Will I Be Famous” at full volume. I buggered off to KFC for dinner to escape it. Mind you, they’d put on lounge music between Reign and Evile which wasn’t any better. Please, Classic Grand – sort this muppet out! By the time I got back we had some Testament on which was far better.
At 8:30 the lights went out and our headliners strolled onto the brightly lit stage. Paulo, the only founder member of the band still there, looks like your friendly old uncle. Short grey hair and a cheeky grin, he seems to spend the set just a little behind the rest of the band watching the beat he helped create lay waste to the audience. Relative new boy Eloy is at the opposite end of the scale agewise (the band is older than he is!) and looks like a young kid as he batters hell out of the skins.
Andreas has that annoying Brazilian knack of seeming to have stopped ageing in his early twenties. He barely looks a year older than he did when I interviewed him back in 1996. The git.
And then we have the behemoth that is Derrick Green. One of the few men I’ve met who comes close to rivalling our own Pit Troll in terms of height (I’ll pop up the photo on the interview we did shortly). A man who didn’t take over from Max Cavalera (around eighteen years ago), but who has succeeded him and helped mould and change the sound of the band in his time with them. Green doesn’t so much have presence as demand attention.
The set, though. Wow. Playing a solid ninety minutes with virtually no breaks, they ploughed through twenty tracks, with the emphasis being on the older material (only five songs were from Green-era Sepultura). Opening with the superb “Troops of Doom”, they jumped to the opposite end of the timescale with “Kairos” next.
Thundering through the likes of “Propaganda”, “Dead Embryonic Cells”, “Policia”, and “Inner Self” then onto more recent efforts such as “Convicted in Life” and – from the most recent album TheMediator… – “The Vatican”. For the encore we were treated to “Bestial Devastation” (it doesn’t get much more historical than that), and the Right Said Fred-influenced “Roots Bloody Roots” as a closer.
If I’m honest, the sound was a little rumbly/excessively bass-y for my liking, though this could be down to the band’s own tunings these days. With Paulo’s bass replacing Max’s downtuned four-stringed rhythm guitar, the sound has dropped in frequency a bit since the last time I saw them in a “proper” headlining gig (that would be Manchester in 1996!). I guess it’s just different. Still, it didn’t take away from the enjoyment factor – by the end of the set the place was going mental. I doubt the Classic Grand has seen a bigger pit in recent history and I hope there wasn’t too much damage done to the structure of the building.
Credit has to go to the security staff who I don’t think were very much prepared for the level of crowdsurfing that occurred. They did their best (which was pretty damn good, to give them credit) and with a smile on their faces at the end. They weren’t alone in the smile stakes – I saw a whole hell of a lot of them as everyone slowly filtered out battered, bruised and buzzing.
Full photo sets coming soon.