There’s an outside chance that I could be at a bonus gig tonight, but I’m not wholly convinced that I’ll be bothered to go and shell out probably thirty quid on the door for it.

Over the past weekend I had a slew of shows to go to, but ended up at none. We now have a direct train service from where I live to Birmingham and a dual evening of shows was tempting. Melodic death metal band Frozen in Shadows were a support band in one venue and anarcho punks veterans Warwound were playing elsewhere. Unfortunately no set times were visible so I was unsure if I could make it home after one or both of the shows and actually seen who I wanted to see.

Saturday I could have been at the punk shindig in Manchester, North West Calling or seeing Sister Shotgun in Cannock. There was an outside chance I could’ve seen Oliver Dawson’s version of Saxon, but I opted to watch the yawn fest that was the Champions League Final. You know what they say about hindsight?

Sunday was what I thought was a nailed on trip to Manchester to catch Venom Prison, but getting up feeling ill at 3am and no direct trains yet again due to engineering work coupled with zero stage time annoncenebts yet again made my decision not to go. Better luck next weekend. Hopefully.

Brummie prog rockers Magnum make the short trip up the M6 to play the Kings Hall in Stoke town centre, well I say short, I don’t know if they’re still Birmingham natives or not. They’ve probably flown in from Los Angeles or somewhere more salubrious than Tile Cross and Shard End! I’m not a huge Magnum fan by any stretch of the imagination, but when I saw a local gig announced I was up for it, until I saw the £27 price tag.

I actually saw them in the Potteries back in 1992 when the Sleepwalker tour stopped at the Victoria Hall. I can’t recall much about that night at all as I only went as a friend from college was going along. I’m pretty sure that was the only time I’ve seen them live too. I had a suspicion that they’d played one of the early Bloodstock events, but if they did I can’t see when. Magnum frontman Bob Catley played one of his solo shows at the 2005 event within the Assembly Rooms and that’s been the closest I’ve been to seeing them in the intervening 27 years.

With festival season resuming in less than a fortnight the £30 splashed out tonight could be better used towards my Downland day ticket to see Slayer’s (supposedly) final UK show. At least one of this coming weekends shows is free entry and the other it a paltry fiver so they’re hardly going to break the bank.


United By Hatred

Splitting the American thrash metal monopoly on Thursday night in London is one of the Teutonic Big Four thrashers courtesy of Destruction from the Rhine area of Southern Germany.

The last time I saw Schmier and compatriots was at the HRH United event in 2017. HRH United was basically Hammerfest when they tried to combine it with the AOR line up over a single weekend, that was a bit of a short lived experiment and now they’re both on separate weekends. Prior to that it was also the last time I saw Flotsam & Jetsam live back in 2016.

Some people seem surprised that Destruction are above Flotsam & Jetsam on the bill, but the tour bus they both shared back in 2016 the Germans were headlining then and it’s not a shock to see them in the same order this time.

Destruction are now back to a four piece for the first time in more than two decades, much like Sodom, with the recent addition of Damir Eskic as a second guitarist. For that reason I’m really looking forward to seeing them as a quartet as it seems to have done wonders for Sodom in the live arena. It made them much heavier live and I’m expecting the same outcome on Thursday. Unfortunately they’re not on the Hammerfest bill over the weekend so I only have the one chance of seeing them this weekend.

Talking of the Teutonic Thrash Big Four I’ll have seen all four in the last six months. I got to see Kreator twice at the tail end of 2018 and sandwiched in between those two shows was the Headbangers Ball Tour, again with a trek to London, with a show stealing performance from Sodom with Frank Blackfire back in their ranks. In just under three weeks the Big Four will be rounded off with Tankard up in Glasgow, but more about them in April.

United By Hatred was originally released in 1986 on the Eternal Devastation album, but received a reworking for 2017’s Thrash Anthems II, which is why the video below surfaced.

Talk Dirty To Me

Even though I had to slice the last 20 minutes or so from the Rocket From The Crypt show to get the last train home, I had a thoroughly good time. Oh the joys of working Saturdays!

Before this month is out I think I’ll be sick of the sight of Piccadilly station and its surrounding gridlocked roads, that’s why I try and take the train. I need to keep my blood pressure down and Mancunian roads don’t help. Before the palaver of Christmas Day hits I think I’m in the city another four times and my next encounter could be tomorrow.

As much as I like the glam rock, hair metal, sleaze (call it what you will) genre, it’s probably the one that I’ve seen least bands from. The height of the back combed hair and leopard spandex was a bit too early for me to appreciate. Whether the audience wasn’t there I don’t know, but so few bands I listened to toured around the mid to late 90’s. I’ve probably seen more in the last decade at retro style festivals.

Tomorrow night I’m possibly off to see a pair of tribute bands of bands I’ve never seen live for one reason or another. Guns Or Roses and Poison take to the Ruby Lounge stage and a few hours of glam rock escapism is on the cards.

I never had to see what could be termed as a classic version of Axl Roses’ band. By the time I was going to gigs they’d already taken the world by storm. The club shows over here were well behind them and their Monsters of Rock appearance had seemingly propelled them to arenas, stadiums and outdoor solo and festival headlining events. There are very few UK shows between 1988 and 2006, and that’s when Axl’s band of hired hands and his own tardiness put me off shelling out money to see them.

Having said that though, reports from last years British shows were encouraging and with their participation at Download next year confirmed a reluctant trip could be on the cards to finally strike them off the list.

Bret Michaels and the rest of his Hollywood rogues that made up Poison are even more elusive on British soil. There had been no full electric performance here since 1993, as far as I can see. If the source material is accurate they have only played the island ten times since 1990. Their last foray was an unplugged session in the capital and that was over 17 years ago now.

When social media ask the tired old question of who would you like to see play festival x, y or z (and it’s not a really heavy festival) Poison always get a copious amount of mentions, but still they’ve never played. Do they cost too much? Do they not like the British weather? Or do these question setters just ignore their audience?

For the prices some of the second wave and lesser hair metal bands can charge at some of the more salubrious venues here, one of the 80’s originals could command a high ticket price and you’d have people fighting at 9am on a Friday morning to hand over wads of electronic cash to the ticket agencies. Unless the band really aren’t the big draw I have thought they were?

I can remember buying Look What the Cat Dragged In second hand from Mike Lloyd Music in Hanley. It was in a similar time frame that I purchased that one and Eaten Back to Life, the debut by Cannibal Corpse. The death metal album was from Lotus Records just up the road. With that one I was asked who wound I want to buy that offensive rubbish? It was a shop ran by a devout Christian at the time, so that was a pretty usual statement. They didn’t mind taking your money though.

When I took the Poison CD to the counter the shop assistant looked at the sleeve and as he was putting the disc in the tray he leant over and asked me if I was sure I wanted it. When I queried him his reply was “you know they’re guys and not girls with all that make up on?” I’ve still got the disc so it obviously didn’t cause me too much distress. I wonder what he’d make of some of the cross dressing acts of recent years?

Hopefully if I make it to the Ruby Lounge in 20 hours time, Talk Dirty to Me from the debut album will no doubt be in the set, and both bands will have a lot of songs that I forgot I liked. It’s been way too long since I listened to a Poison album in full, so that will be tomorrow mornings van sound track choice.

Heavy Metal Month Listening Challenge 28/31

Day 28 – Favourite Megadeth song. 

Megadeth – Wake Up Dead

Another one where I could change my mind every time I ask myself the question. Peace Sells? Mary Jane? Hangar 18? In My Darkest Hour? 

It’s yet another example of how few lyrics there seemed to be in metal songs back in the day and the bands let their musicianship do the talking. 

Heavy Metal Month Listening Challenge 20/31

Day 20 – A song about death. 

Dark Angel – Death is Certain (Life is Not)

Another staple subject within the heavy metal genre. Dark Angel put it best though as death is the only thing guaranteed for any body on this planet. How long between life beginning and the grim reaper arriving is a variable. 

Pleasure To Kill

This weekend marks my nineteenth visit to the Bloodstock festival, whether it’s at its inaugural Assembly Rooms home or located somewhere with in the confines of Catton Hall Park. Nineteen represents the total amount of festivals flying the Bloodstock banner, and I can say I’ve attended at least a day at every single one. There can’t be too many people who can claim that, as the first event was only fifteen hundred or so attendees.  

If anyone has read many of my 455 posts to date they might have seen Bloodstock mentioned on a pretty repetitive, and possibly boring, basis. I’ve seen about 280 different sets over those fifteen years, that’s more than double the amount of bands I’ve seen over thirteen Download Festivals.  

I’ve witnessed some stunning performances and I’ve also suffered some diabolical days, whether it be line ups, performances or weather. This weekend falls into the lower end of that equation. Over the two days I’m there I’m hoping to catch about sixteen bands if it all runs to plan. From those sixteen there is only one band I’ve never seen before. Nearly half of those bands I’ve also seen at the festival at some point too. If I took the main stage over the three days I’ve seen exactly half at Bloodstock already, and many of those multiple times. It’s fine if you go infrequently, but year after year with the same bands cropping up it makes you wonder why I keep going. 

More than a music event it’s a time to catch up with people you don’t necessarily see other than at the festival. The people I consider friends seem to be in many of the far flung corners of the UK and as we grow older, many have grown wiser and don’t necessarily go to as many gigs now they are used to. A few beers and much chat is higher on the agenda than most of the bands this year. 

The festival is only 44 miles from my house, so that’s one reason I go religiously. This year though I considered a trip to one of the two festivals in Belgium over the same weekend (Alcatraz and Ieper) or even the Brutal Assault event in the Czech Republic. I was even tempted with Chimpy Fest in London for an all out noise assault.  All because the line ups were offering me a better calibre of bands that I haven’t seen, or seen as much. Maybe next year? 

The one band that made my decision to go this year was a band I’ve seen more than twenty times, so sitting here writing that makes me sound like such a hypocrite after slating repeat performances, but the Teutonic thrashers Kreator are one of my top five bands and to see them again and again doesn’t get at all that stale to me. 

The thing that perplexes me most about their appearance this year is why aren’t they headlining? Over the six years since they last graced this stage they’ve headlined some of the biggest festivals throughout Europe and have a more than worthy stage show to go with their headline credentials. Without my rose tinted glasses on,  I personally feel they deserve it more than Amon Amarth and Ghost. Megadeth have the CV to close the weekend, but it’s something they did as recently as 2014. Maybe it’s not meant to be for them?

This video to Pleasure to Kill was released recently to coincide with the remastered versions of the bands first four offerings. As I’d already got them on CD I wasn’t too bothered about buying them for a second time (repeats again!!) but I listened to them on Spotify and just having a decent audio of the East Berlin show tempted me to part with my cash. 

To carry on with the repetitive theme, here’s Pleasure to Kill again for the second time since last October, but with a more imaginative and befitting video for the track.