Max & Iggor Cavalera, Kentish Town Forum, London

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

I saw Max and Iggor last year absolutely destroy the Roots album and as soon as they confirmed a new show I grabbed tickets for it.

I was feeling like crap and super sleepy so on the way to the venue I grabbed a can of Monster, 2 pork pies and a scotch egg to munch in the queue. On arrival at the venue there were only a handful of folks around, I guess they were in the pub as it was cold. I just had enough time to eat the food and down the Monster before doors. The Monster drink seemed to cure everything in one go, makes you wonder what other shit is in that stuff!

With the early doors I headed into grab my normal spot at the side but its closed off along with the other side, I check with security and it’s because upstairs is closed tonight. They used these areas for additional accessibility areas which is fine by me. I therefore needed a new location and went back to my old one in this venue behind the sound desk. I shall not be returning to the sides again, the easy access to the beer isn’t enough compared to where I was last night, the view and space is so much better.

Tonights event is part of MTV’s Headbangers Ball which is a bit odd as MTV haven’t rocked since sometime in the 90s. Nonetheless the line up is as heavy as fuck, support came from Deserted Fear, Insomnium and Over Kill.

Deserted Fear are first up, they are full on Death Metal from Germany, everywhere you look there are hair windmills from the few who have made it in to the venue for this early start. Next up are Insomnium, a black metal band from Finland who had some great riffs. Even though neither of these bands are my cup of tea, they were both way better support bands than some of what I’ve seen in recent weeks.

Over Kill from the US were next to hit the stage and really got the already crazy crowd into overdrive. Security already had a lot of work prior to them appearing but now there were even more crowd surfers. Tonight they really earned their money, there won’t be many nights where they deal with so many people coming over the barrier and the good thing is everyone seemed to enjoy it, well maybe not the front row who must have been kicked in the head every few seconds.

Max & Iggor hit the stage and tear straight into Roots Blooody Roots, the crowd go fucking mental with the pit exploding into even more life. I’m glad where I am as I’d not have the energy to still be in there after whats gone on so far. Circle pits are breaking out left, right and center and there has to be at least 3 crowd surfers up at all times for the remainder of the gig, even between the songs!

They play the classic Sepultura Roots album in full and in order before playing a new track. The encore consists of Ace Of Spaces and the faster version of Roots Blooody Roots.

All in all this wasn’t quite as good as the show last year, my guessing is that I kind of knew what was going to happen, having said that this gig for sure is in the top 10 gigs of 2017 for me.

A funny thing also happened during their set, my iPhone decided that I must have been driving and enabled the safety feature.

Mastodon, Brixton Academy, London

Sunday, December 10, 2017

We saw Mastodon at the Golden Gods Awards earlier in the year, and while it was a short set it was pretty decent, enough to buy a ticket to their show at Brixton.

It had snowed the night before and I felt like crap during the day so we headed to the venue late, which was perfect as we were more or less straight into the venue by switching the sim cards in Kristina’s phone.

We met Jim and Diana in the usual spot but as Sean and Alisa were also there I headed down the front to say hello. As there was loads of space I said to the rest lets try it here, as the sound might be better. I’ve not liked the sound at my recent visits to Brixton.

Initially I didn’t think the sound was that bad here during the support acts Russian Circles and Red Fang, but during Mastodon‘s set it became obvious it wasn’t good at all. The guitars and bass were so loud it drowned out the vocals. Diana decided she’d had enough and headed home after just a few songs. Jim, Kristina and I headed back to our normal corner at the back, where the sound was a bit better, we still left early as it was a pretty boring gig to be honest.

Marilyn Manson, Wembley Arena, London

Saturday, December 9, 2017

We headed to Wembley quite late, as we’d been out for a walk on the South Coast with Betty (my parents Basset Hound). We managed to catch the end of Amazonica‘s set, something we were more than happy to miss. Lets be frank here, what is the difference between a DJ playing on stage or a spotify playlist? DJs are great in a club setting but crap at a gig. If you’re going to have a DJ then the best way to do it is to have them play at the side of the stage, in between the acts.

We were quite a way back during Amazonica and felt it was time to find a better spot for Marilyn Manson, one which was located right down the front of the venue. Manson’s recent injury has meant he’s got a protective boot on his right leg which hampers his movment around the stage. This hasn’t stopped the show from working, in a way it’s improved as his first couple of songs are performed in a mechanical wheelchair. He’s then joined on stage for the remainder of the set with 2 medics who help him around the stage with various hospital props.

They weren’t the only people to join the stage tonight, Johnny Depp also made a guest appearance on guitar for both The Dope Show & Beautiful People.

The set was short tonight with just thirteen tracks, but given his current injuries I don’t really have any problem with that, it is better than the show getting cancelled. All in all a good gig, and far better than the time I saw Manson at Brixton Academy a few years back.

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, Brixton Academy, London

Friday, December 8, 2017

Didn’t see either Funhole or Ecca Vandal as we opted for dinner instead, we caught Basement, I only knew one of the tracks myself.

I don’t know much of Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, just a couple of their singles to be honest but attended as Tim was interested in going. There was a nice moment before Wild Flowers where he encouraged all the girls to crowd surf without fear of being touched, something which should be the case everywhere, not just at gigs. Many obliged and security had an even busier night on their hands.

The sound once again wasn’t right, there’s definitely something wrong with the sound at Brixton Academy right now as this is the third show in a row where it wasn’t up to scratch IMO.

Stone Sour, Brixton Academy, London

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Pretty Reckless were Pretty Shite. Stone Sour were decent enough.

Second show in a row where I’ve thought the sound at Brixton wasn’t as good as it should have been. Not sure if this is to do with our location or not in the venue. Personally I don’t think it is as we weren’t that far from where we stood for Papa Roach, although the pillars on the raised area to the side might have been the problem.

Nipped to the bar for a pint, some dude was there who was 50 pence short for his pints, you can’t leave a man dry at a gig so I funded his beers for the evening. He says “Thanks man, if you want any photos from the show then contact me”. I head back explain it to Kristina and show her the guys website.

To much amusement it turns out that I had just helped pay for the drinks of John McMurtrie, the official Iron Maiden photographer.

Royal Republic, Koko, Camden, London

Friday, December 1, 2017

First up was Aaron Buchanan & The Cult Classics, an act that I feel works really well with Royal Republic. Buchanan states early on in the show that the band are not backing musicians and the banner should simply read The Cult Classics, only time will tell if that is the case or not. Either way the band work really well together and they are by far the best support act I’ve seen in a really long time.

I’d seen Royal Republic earlier in the year at Camden Rocks and was super impressed by what I saw. I wasn’t disappointed at all tonight, they were once again fantastic. They played more or less their entire album along with a couple of covers, Roxanne by The Police and Fear of the Dark by Iron Maiden. Overall this was one of the best gigs of 2017 for me, truly excellent.

PVRIS, Brixton Academy, London

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Met Jim in the dreaded spoons, waited for Kristina and then headed for the venue. Jim had somehow purchased a seating ticket and was refused entry to the stalls, so Kristina and I did the old switcheroo on the tickets to get him downstairs with us.

It was lucky that Jim had purchased the ticket as Simon was also here, but upstairs in the VIP area. Simon hadn’t planned to come down to the show but a nice turn of events happened to him at their Birmingham show. I used Jim’s ticket to nip up there and say hello, some security guard who had little woman syndrome decided to tell me I had to walk the long way around. despite the fact Simon was 5 meters away from me. I have a chat and he and Alice decided to join downstairs for a bit, on the way out the twat tells me if I come upstairs again I’ll be removed from the venue, pretty sure I told her to fuck off and I walked away.

Tyne were first up and I didn’t think much at all. Coin were slightly better, but again nothing fantastic.

The sound in Brixton tonight was really poor, and I think this hampered my opinion of PVRIS‘s set, for me their show at Kentish Town Forum was better.

The Virginmarys, Water Rats, London

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Just Jim and I for this one, we met in the main bar at Water Rats which soon started to get busy, so we made our way into the back room while the sound checks were going on. Some guy, possibly The Virginmarys manager told us we can’t be in here yet as it’s the soundcheck, I didn’t like his attitude so we ignored him and took our places at the bar to watch the soundcheck anyway. Twenty or so minutes later Jim needs a pee so leaves me there, while he is peeing a doorman arrives. Jim now can’t get back in, so instead of saying “My pint is on the bar” he says, “my mate is in there” I then get turfed out, for 2 minutes because apparently I can’t see their equipment before its ready and they need to check my ticket, the later I agree with but I’ve been in here for nearly 30 minutes watching the support band sound check, I’ve seen all their equipment and more already. Not only that but I am told to join the queue at a door with a window in it, I can still see their equipment…

Support came from Valeras tonight, they were OK to be fair to them, by far the best support act I’ve seen this week thats for sure.

I know Water Rats isn’t the largest. but the crowd for The Virginmarys was the biggest I’ve seen for one of their shows which is good. They also played the longest set I’ve seen them do as well. We watched from the bar which was a new experience considering I’ve only ever been down the front for them in the past, it was also strange not seeing as many of the regular Virginmary fans at the show, there was only a couple I knew, whereas normally I recognise at least 10 of them.

Royal Blood, Alexandra Palace, London

Monday, November 20, 2017

Firstly I really don’t like gigs at the Alexandra Palace. I know the location doesn’t really help but putting that aside I think it is a really poor music venue, a facility which holds 10,000 yet it doesn’t even have a good number of toilets plumbed into the main water supply. This might be perfectly acceptable for 6,000 drunk darts fans, most of whom piss through the fence outside, but it’s not really acceptable for day to day gig goers. This place could be so much better if some thought went into the set up and some money spent on it. The food stand area is OK, but there just isn’t enough seating.

The second thing to note is that I wasn’t really in much of a mood for a gig, travelling there after work I felt like I was going to puke and I was also pretty tired, therefore my judgement could have been a little blurred for that reason.

Black Honey opened the night, from the evidence I saw there was nothing to write home about here. I’m sure the label is backing them financially to get airplay and onto tours so they might break through for a bit.

At The Drive In were up next, I know a couple of their songs like One Armed Scissor and Incurably Innocent for example, on record they sound quite rocky. Live however they are far more heavy than on record, and to be honest it sounded like a load of shit to me. Too much shouty singing and not enough clear vocals. Shouting doesn’t make you a great live act, you’d have thought that a band who have been around a few years would have learnt this by now.

Finally Royal Blood show up, they play a solid set from start to finish, making the evening more enjoyable than the start of it. They also seem to have a couple of backing singers in their ranks these days, not sure if they are really required to be honest. They also had a really cool lighting/laser rig suspended above them with a massive screen within it.

Alice Cooper, Wembley Arena, London

Thursday, November 16, 2017

It’s a pretty quick trip up to Wembley as I’m currently working near Euston Square which is good news as the next few weeks I’ll be heading there a lot.

The Tubes (the band, not my mode of transport) were odd, the oldies seemed to like them a lot. As for The Mission, more of the same which I witnessed a few months back in Shepard’s Bush.

Alice Cooper was OK, but not as spectacular as I’d have hoped, I thought Airbourne the night before was the better show.