Happy chocolate egg day you y’all!!

I’m killing a bit of time by procrastinating about doing the dishes before I head out on a convoluted journey to London for a few hours of noise.

Californian power-violence band Infest make a return trip to the U.K. after their apparent one time only trio of dates in Leeds back in 2016. The line up isn’t as stacked as the Leeds show I attended, which includes Doom and Voorhees, bit I get to see a few different bands today. Hopefully we’ll make it to Camden in time to see some of opening band Throatpunch.

They should’ve been over last August for a few shows, and yet another show in Leeds, with DropDead but they got cancelled very quickly though ill health if I remember correctly. That’s probably why there was a photo posted online of them arriving at a U.K. airport on Friday as some kind of proof?

A matinee gig in London that starts at 3pm and is done and dusted by 7 would be ideal for me, especially as trains north stop at 9ish over the weekend. But again the rail companies deem this Easter weekend to be the one where they close one of the capitals busiest stations for the duration of the four day weekend and pretty much prevent easy access to the city from the North West of the country.

Today will involve a 45 minute drive towards Leicester to hop on a train that arrives at a different station in London. Kings Cross isn’t too far away from the original destination and one stop further away on the underground, so it’s not all bad.

Infest have provisionally been given a 6pm finish so if that ends up being the case I should be back in the house just after 9 and still able to enjoy some of this bizarrely sunny spring evening with a few beers before heading off to bed knowing I don’t have to get up at stupid o’clock on Monday morning.


The Morning After

It’s gone 10pm on Friday evening and I’ve had one eye on the football and another on my bed. No work tomorrow so no 4am alarm call, but I don’t get too much longer to rot away in my bed. Nearly three hours sounds like a lie in but I’ll be up by 7 and in the car half an hour later to get the train to Glasgow.

Probably the biggest draw for the weekend (or at least tied with seeing Coroner again) is getting to see Teutonic thrasher Tankard for only a third time, and for the very first time on home turf – almost. It’s also the first time they’ve played Scotland in their 37 year career and Tankard’s first British show for close to a decade.

Since December last year I’d seen three of the Germanic Big Four and the set is completed in less than 24 hours when I can cross Tankard off the imaginary list. I’ve achieved seeing the quartet of bands in a twelve month period a couple of times over the years, but slightly over four months is probably the fastest I’ve achieved it with the most illusive of the four all on these shores.

Considering all four bands (Kreator, Sodom and Destruction being the other three incase you were wondering) have been around since the 1980’s it’s unbelievable how few shows Tankard have played over here in comparison to the others. I know some of them need to hold down full time jobs back in Germany, so I acknowledge something outlandish like a fifteen date British and Irish tour is out of the question, but how have these veteran thrashers been overlooked by a festival like Bloodstock on every one of their 21 editions?

Tankard are probably the Anthrax of the American Big Four or closer to home, Acid Reign of a perceived British quartet, where their humour and lack of straight faces and seriousness seemed to get them overlooked compared to their counterparts.

Looking back on my earlier Tankard posts I was getting excited and planning a trip to Glaschu back in 2017 when the band were the first announcement for Thrashathon. That seemed a very ill fated announcement as it just seemed to fade away into obscurity and not another word about the event was ever uttered again. Two years later and Alba can finally welcome original members Gerre and Frank to its fair land.

Frankfurt’s thrashers will definitely rule tomorrow night and plenty of beer, vodka and whiskey will be drank all night long. Not so much cognac though.


Masked Jackal

Early on Saturday morning I’ll be boarding a train from Crewe for the three hour trundle up to Glasgow for this years edition of the Lords of the Land festival. This year doesn’t offer a strong line up compared to the previous two, but there’s still enough to make the ticket price and travel worthwhile.

Due to various reasons, mainly the uncertainty of Brexit according to the promoters themselves, it was relocated to presumably a smaller venue a few weeks back. I don’t claim to know all the ins and outs surrounding the festival, but on the same post the promoter stated a high percentage of tickets are sold to people travelling from continental Europe, and and they’ve not taken up their tickets. Maybe it’s due to Brexit scaremongering and a lack of concrete information, maybe it’s down to other factors such as the line up?

Throwing my two pence in I’d say the line up hasn’t enticed people to make the journey over the channel in 2019?

In 2018 Dark Angel headlined. Since their reformation they’ve only played a dozen or so shows worldwide and only six in Europe and four of those were on the bill as part of larger outdoor festivals. The year before Autopsy graced the Barrowlands stage. I think that has been one of only four European dates since 2012.

In both cases the headliners were something pretty unique and rare. Even though this weekend marks the first time Tankard have played Scotland and their first British show since 2009, last year the band played around 30 shows in Europe.

Coroner are more elusive, but they did half a dozen gigs in Europe last year and headliners Electric Wizard are pretty regular visitors to the continent. They bookended last year with Euro shows and were here in 2017 and on a very regular basis before that. The same with the Black Dahlia Murder and Rotting Christ.

If the last three Lords of the Land events were in the Netherlands (as an example) I would only feel like paying out for the first two myself as they offered something more unique. For a British show then this year is appealing to me mainly for the scarcity of Tankard and Coroner on these shores. If I lived in mainland Europe I could see those bands easier than jumping on a plane or a ferry to the UK.

Just my thoughts, regardless of any changes I’m still looking forward to catching some quality bands. And to get me into the swing of things it’s time to kick back with some Swiss technicality courtesy of Coroner. It’ll be only my third time seeing them live, so it’s not as if I’m suffering from repetitive overkill with them, unlike some bands in recent years.

Revolution Calling

Well I can’t really say the last 48 hours have been the best. I’ve been laid up for a few days prior and on Wednesday night I had some indigestion issues before going to bed and I had about two hours sleep before I stupidly went into work for 5am.

Yesterday day at work was a hard slog and I ended up pulling over the car on the way home to throw up. Lovely! I eventually got home and went to bed, well I attempted to, but after an hour I was awoken by a shooting pain in my back. Last night I just couldn’t get comfortable enough to sleep or even sit. When my wife came home it was straight on the phone to the 111 line (the NHS’s phone line that can be used before wasting a 999 call).

I’m still actually waiting for an out of hours doctor to get back to me after 16 hours! My pain ended up easing enough to get to sleep and after 12 hours straight in bed I’m feeling much better. What a way to spend my 45th birthday. And needless to say I ended up missing the Incite gig.

As it stands now, I’ve managed to eat a bit and have a few drinks that weren’t water and feeling much better and luckily I had already booked today and tomorrow off work as holidays any way. I’m still a bit snotty but much more human (unlike my wife at the moment).

My second gig of this year was Operation: Mindcrime, Geoff Tate’s post Queensryche vehicle, in Manchester back in January. As he appeared to come to the stage very late and I was tied to the last train leaving I spent most of the set clock watching and ultimately had to leave after eight songs.

Tonight is gig 64 of the year and he plays a little over a mile away at Eleven and there are no worries about timing issues today. I can drive up if I fancy avoiding alcohol, or if I feel more human in the next 10 hours and fancy a belated celebratory birthday scoop or three I also have the taxi option available.

This run is apparently the last time that the band are doing the full run through of the classic album celebrating its 30 year anniversary. For me, Operation: Mindcrime is one of the most complete albums released. There is no weak track over the hour run time and I could happily listen to this album everyday without getting bored of it, and I happily play it regularly. After this run any future shows seem to be his Queensryche output prior to this album, if I understood the blurb correctly.


Dyers Eve

Thirty years ago (somewhere in the world) …And Justice For All was unleashed upon the world. In yet another quirky slice of coincidence tonight I should be seeing a Metallica tribute band in Stoke. Sometimes you think I plan these things.

Although this wasn’t purchased on the day of its release, it was the “newest” album by the band that I had from nearest to its release date, until the self titled album surfaced almost three years later. And as I have no doubt said in a previous Metallica blog, this was the album that kick stared my collecting obsession.

I saw Metal Militia last year sandwiched in between four Metallica shows. It was quite ironic that they performed Spit Out The Bone live before Metallica. When they announced ii they said it was a song Metallica don’t play but we will. About a month later I saw Metallica perform it live twice.

It’s going to be interesting to see how many are in attendance compared to last year. The room was pretty packed for them, but for reasons unknown there are two Metallica tribute bands playing within 5 miles of each other tonight. Moretallica have been announced for the Rigger, but I only learnt about this gig three or four days ago. I don’t think it’s a late booking, probably just poor advertising and social media skills from the venue. I always seem to see posts about their shows 24 hours prior to the event or even the same morning. Oh well, more elbow room for me later. Maybe?

This live version of Dyers Eve is from the bands Français Pour une Nuit live DVD released in 2009. They played the stunning looking Arena of Nîmes in France. The stage was set up in a Roman amphitheater, which dates back to AD70. It’s definitely a place I’d like to have a look around if I ever venture back to France.

Edge Of A Broken Heart

I have one day left at work and then it’s a three day weekend in the UK. The weather is going to be reasonable and hopefully I’ll get chance to venture out if the house. There’s a jazz and blues festival on locally, no acts I’m familiar with apart from Peter Frampton, and that’s only a solitary track of his I know. But there is a record fare happening on Sunday and weather permitting, as it’s held out doors, I’ll go and have a peruse if the boxes of records and make lots of weird sounds that usually translate into “how much!”

Saturday could bring yet another trip to Manchester to another new venue for me. There are two bands playing that I’m intrigued to see. It’s being held in Factory or FAC251, which I think was the head offices for Factory Records, a label synonymous with Joy Division, New Order and Happy Mondays.

Opening up the show is West Midlands band Sister Shotgun. I’ve not had chance to see them live and I’ve heard a few of their tracks. I’m interested to see them off the back of a recommendation from a customer of mine. The guitarist of Crewe based band Fallen used to work in a shop I delivered to and we used to have a chat about music and stuff. His band played with them locally and he said how good they were live. They’ve been getting around a lot just lately and have a new guitarist in the fold.

Headlining is Janet Gardner Page, not exactly a household name, but for people, especially guys, of my age and into rock during the same era she was the front woman and guitarist with the big hair in Vixen. They’re a band I first heard on the Friday Rock Show hosted by Timmy Vance on Radio 1. I think it was the Edge if a Broken Heart single that was played late on the Friday night and by Saturday afternoon I had the 7” vinyl in my hands.

They’d been together since the early 70’s surprisingly, but didn’t gain any mainstream recognition until 1988’s eponymous debut and their sophomore release Rev It Up in 1990. I never heard past that second album and I do t think I’ve ever heard Tangerine.

Richard Marx coproduced the debut album and wrote Edge of a Broken Heart. At the same time the band were getting some big opening slots on tours with the likes of Bon Jovi, Scorpions and KISS. Musical differences lead to a split and there have been several reunions over the years.

I remember watching something on VH1 called bands reunited where they attempted to bring bands back together. The idea was to a specific line up in the same room and it was deemed a success if they performed. I saw odd episodes here and there. A Flock of Seagulls and Berlin were successful. Holly Johnson refused to perform with Frankie Goes to Hollywood and at the time Extreme was a failure. Vixen put aside their differences and did play.

In 2012 a classic reunion was on the cards, but guitarist Jan Kuehnemund was diagnosed with cancer and passed away towards the end of 2013. The three remains classic members have carried on as a tribute to her and an album is planned.

Vixen have been playing live sporadically over the last four years, mainly in the States and a few dates in Canada and Europe. They played Hard Rock Hell in 2016, an event I unfortunately didn’t attend. There was a tour in 2006 for some version of the band which apparently stopped off in Crewe. They played the Limelight and it took me a dozen years to find out. It’s closed now and looking rather dilapidated, but it was one of those venues that never seemed to bother with too much promotion and hoped for word of mouth from regular barflies.

1991 saw them supporting Deep Purple over here. The year before saw some of their own dates and a few supporting Scorpions and on the bill for the prestigious Bon Jovi soirée at the Milton Keynes Bowl.

In all my time I’ve never had chance to see Vixen, and to date Saturday will be the closest I have been. Janet plays some stuff from her self named debut solo album from last year with a smattering of Vixen hits thrown in. They’re due to play the Rockingham event in Nottingham in October with some other AOR and hair bands mainly from yesteryear, but for what I’d have to pay to get in and what I’d get from the weekend it’s currently out of reach of my budget. But never say never.

Smooth Up In Ya

Time to slow things down a bit and subject my ears to something where, as my mum would say, you can understand what they’re saying.

On Tuesday a trip up the road to Eleven is more than likely on the cards to partake in some late 80’s hard rockin’ all the way from Los Angeles. Marq Torien (the only constant member since the bands inception in 1986) brings the BulletBoys to Stoke on Trent.

I’m not the biggest fan of the band by a long shot, but they’re playing less than 2 miles up the road and and I’ve never seen them so it’s an opportunity I can’t really pass up. Some bands I’d considering travelling a decent distance to see, unfortunately some pretty much have to be on my doorstep to tempt me out.

I remember listening to the eponymous album and the follow record Freakshow back in my college days. Even though they rubbed shoulders with the hair bands that frequented the iconic Hollywood venues like the Rainbow Bar and Grill, Whisky A Go Go and the Troubador, the band probably owe more of their sound to Van Halen than Mötley Crüe.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t listen to anything again until I stumbled on their sixth album 10¢ Billionaire some time ago and I know I haven’t listened to any of their three albums released within the last decade. This evening has involved some binge listening of their back catalogue and the solitary track on Spotify that will be featured on their From Out of the Skies album that should be released anytime now via Frontiers Records.

They haven’t frequented these shores too often during their career. Their 2018 dates are the first in ten years, and if you had seen them on their first visit you’d have been waiting almost twenty years to see them second time around. I’m not really sure how popular they were over here. I’m guessing they got swallowed up by most of their more popular contemporaries, and odd songs here and there rose to the top in the rock clubs.

For a ticket price pushing nearly £20 I hope there is a decent crowd in the venue. Considering they’re sharing the stage with Enuff Z’Enuff, another band from the glam metal heyday, it’s pretty decent value for money in my eyes, and especially when you compare it to what I could’ve paid to see Skid Row last week. I’ve read a few negative comments online about poor crowds leading to an inferior performance and a seemingly shortened set. Let’s see what Tuesday brings.

From the self titled debut album, Smooth Up In Ya is one of the bands most well know tracks.