With nearly an hour to kill it was a quick dive into the pub next door waiting for the doors to opens then about two dozen steps to the box office. Fifteen minutes before kick off should’ve sufficed due to the close proximity, even giving a bit of leeway for the small queue we encountered of maybe ten people. We managed to get in about five minutes into Lock Up’s set. Such a painfully slow shuffle into the venue by seemingly incompetent staff. How can it take so long to distribute pre ordered tickets or snatch £24 out of someone’s hand?
We got the bulk of the Lock Up’s grinding racket and a very good twenty minutes it was. With only a quartet of albums to pick from the seven song blast encompassed something from them all. A brace of tracks from the latest opus and three from Hate Breeds Suffering, before Kevin Sharp removed his trademark cowboy hat for set closer After Life In Purgatory.
Originally Iron Reagan were on the bill for the tour, but had to pull out early on. When their replacements Power Trip were announced I for one wasn’t disappointed, but I know many who were.
The quick change around afforded me enough time to check out the merch and return in good time before the Texan thrashers destroyed the Institute. The decent sized crowd for Lock Up looked a bit static from my vantage point, but as soon as Soul Sacrifice kicked in the bodies were flailing. Their thirty five minutes were up in the blink of a eye, but for a thrash band that seem to have been embraced more by the hardcore community they definitely made some new friends tonight.
Multiple band bills on a school night can be often frowned upon, but if the brief set changes like tonight work like a well oiled machine then that’s not a problem. It also helped that three of the bands used the majority of the same drum kit.
I was intrigued to finally see “Mexican” deathgrind band Brujeria and they kept my attention for the first twenty minutes or so then their masked Mexican gangster gimmick started to wear a bit thin. The musicians in the band all looked remarkably similar to the three musicians from Lock Up – even both drummers were wearing the same Jeff Hanneman shirt!
The dual frontmen – the only Mexicans in the band – came on stage clad in plaid and looked like the wrestling stable LAX. The biggest pop during their set was reserved for ¡Viva Presidente Trump! A huge machete made its way onto the stage for the final number and whilst the stage was being dismantled we were treated to an a-cappella version of Marijuana which sounds remarkably like the Macarena.
From Great Barr, Walsall and Sparkhill local heroes Napalm Death took to the stage to rapturous applause, and there’s the Lock Up bass player who looked remarkably similar to the Brujeria bassist for the third time tonight.
Tonight was the second time this year I’ve seen the band and the set lists were pretty similar and spanning the majority of the franchise’s career. All the way back to Scum and Enslavement to Obliteration, via Harmony Corruption and Utopia Banished through to Apex Predator. I can’t tell if frontman Barney is just uncomfortable on stage or if it’s just how he is, but it’s always brings a smile to my face when you see him bounding around the stage with his limbs flailing like a child that has had too many E numbers during the day. He has a very unique style.
Along with the obligatory Dead Kennedys cover we also had short blasts originally from Offenders and Hirax. Apparently the set had to be cut short due to time restraints, if that’s the case I don’t know why it didn’t start a bit earlier.
Overall a great night of noise, but for me Power Trip stole the show, closely followed by Lock Up. Napalm Death did what Napalm Death have been doing for more than thirty years. And as much as I wanted to enjoy Brujeria, for me, their gimmick over stayed it’s welcome with a forty minute set.