September 2nd marks my 18 year wedding anniversary and my 50th gig of 2018. I’m forever grateful to my (long suffering) wife for allowing me to enjoy my hobby without me receiving too much ear ache for most of the last two decades.
Today should have been my 51st show, but I had a busy day yesterday taking my wife to Manchester for a day of retail therapy at a gaming market. Most definitely not my area of expertise, but apparently she got some games and was pleased with her purchases.
I was hoping to be back home around 3pm (but in reality I knew that was very optimistic) which would give me nearly four hours at home to unwind from the hustle of the Mancunian streets and get fed and watered before the 60 mile drive back up towards Manchester and a dozen miles further on into Bolton for my second Hatchet show in a row.
I tend to be someone who will cut their nose off to spite their face and I ultimately spent last night at home watching Disenchantment on Netflix. I missed out in seeing Vulgore at the Rigger and Acid Reign’s frontman H doing his stand up comedy in Burslem as I was all geared up for Bolton and didn’t really explore any back up options.
Last nights venue posted a reminder about the show and I asked about timings. I was only interested in seeing Hatchet and I couldn’t leave Stoke until 7pm, the same time doors opened at the Alma Inn. With the ridiculously long roadworks stretch on the northbound M6 I wasn’t probably looking at getting to Bolton until 8:15 at best, and that was assuming I wouldn’t take a wrong turn in the town and find the venue and parking easily which would add a bit more time.
The promoter replied with
I’ll keep my cash in my pocket then. I’m from out of the area, admittedly only 60 miles, but still probably further away than any of the others who attended and promoters feel it’s fine not to expand on information on their own events? In an ideal world everyone is there from doors opening to closing and seeing every band on the bill then departing. In reality that doesn’t happen.
The same promoters were behind the Liverpool gig 24 hours earlier. Once again there were no advertised times but on Friday I knew I could be in the city just before 7pm and have time to find the venue and grab a beer in the Brewdog and be inside before Hatchet.
Whether it was the promoter or the venues lack of promotion, or just Raven not being a very big draw and still living with the legend of them having Metallica support them in 1983, there was a pathetically small turn out for a gig on a Friday night in one of the UK’s biggest cities.
I’ve said it several times before and I’m sure it won’t be the last time – venues, promoters, bands please furnish your fans with times as early and often as possible. Not every one lives in the area where the show is being held. People will travel, but might need time to arrange travel details. I’ve been attending concerts since 1989 and timings weren’t readily available back then and there was no social media so it wasn’t a necessity. Nearly 30 years later people’s lives run so much differently so what’s the harm in supplying information so more people might venture out? It might make a difference to those running to a tight schedule or even someone looking for something to do last minute.
I’ve got some domestic stuff to get done and dusted in the next 6 hours then it’s on a train to Nuneaton for a few beers and probably my last experience of Hatchet on this run. They played an absolute blinder in Phase One in Friday, covering stuff from all of their back catalogue. I’m really gutted though there wasn’t substantially more people there to see them. I didn’t look around the corner when they were on, but I’d say there were less than 20 people there during their set and not many more by the time I left 30 minutes in to the Raven set.
I just really think the San Franciscans are an unknown quantity over here. Even though their fourth album has been released by Combat and their first via Metal Blade, I wasn’t able to physically buy any in the few branches of HMV I visited and I ended up buying the most recent CD when I was at the Bloodstock Festival from a German store who’s set up there for the weekend. Plus with them being announced so late there was no real promotional push, but then again they probably wouldn’t have been featured anywhere anyway. Thrash metal in the UK doesn’t seem to have much of a pulse within the music scene.
As a treat here’s another video from Hatchet. This one was taken from their previous album Fear Beyond Lunacy from 2016.