Sheer Heart Attack

I’ve finally finished work for the week, only four days later than expected though. Tomorrow we’re off to the seaside for an elongated weekend and I have the misfortune of attending my first ever Queen convention over in Mablethorpe. 

The wife and I have experienced a few Doctor Who gatherings over the last few years, but I feel this weekend is going to be something completely different. Wall to wall Queen geeks who, in the main, will know their Day at the Races and a Night at the Opera inside out. 

All fans have their diehards and some of that fanbase will be of the über fan variety. Geekiness in all fandoms is on a sliding scale of casual through to obsessive, and without a doubt there will be a massive dose of one up man-ship throughout the duration. Whether it’s from that obscure tour shirt from ’76 someone is adorned in or some piece of useless information offered up as an answer in the inevitable quiz, fans always try to impress, intentionally or subliminally is another question though. 

Every fan of every band claims their fans are the best in the world, it’s hard to disagree with them as that’s the way they perceive their musical world from within their rose tinted bubble. Having said that though I think I’m a fan of bands with some of the most rabid and reverent followers on the planet. 

Metallica and Iron Maiden announce tours and bookings and flights from every corner of the world descend upon every city on the tour. I’ve travelled over Europe to see both bands over the years, I’ve even hopped over to North America to see them both. Bars around the arenas are heaving with black clad metal heads wearing a plethora of tour merch form all over the world and spanning the decades. I used to assume I was the only person in a crowd in Toronto for a show then you overhear dozens of British accents amongst the buzz of the Canadian drawl. 

One of the first forays on to foreign shores for the reluctant wife and I was to Paris to see Iron Maiden at the Bercy. Pretty much a day there in a coach and a day back with nothing but Maiden fans. And what was played through the buses sound system during the trip? An assortment of Maiden tunes from varying live releases and studio albums. Definitely three days of Iron Maiden overkill, but most people wouldn’t have it any other way. 

I have no doubt a Queen fan, or a fanatic of any other artist from all genres is as fanatical, but I do think metal fans have that edge in fanaticism. I’ve never seen a Queen fan carve the bands name into their skin outside a venue. Slayer on the other hand… Metallica’s imminent British tour sold out in minutes of some of the countries biggest sheds and that’s with a ticket price leaving peanuts from a £100 note if such a thing was legal tender. 

Even if it’s not the high priced ticket at the arenas of the world, the fans that traverse the country week after week to catch the up and coming act (or in some cases the fading star of yesterday) are just as, if not more, of a fan. It takes much more effort and will power to drag yourself to the venues in the middle of nowhere to see that band play a half hour set to you, one man and his dog on a snowy January evening then head off home. You just know one day that night with a handful of people will be one of those shows that all in sundry will we talking about when the band breaks into the big time. 

To kick off what might be a Queen themed weekend on this blog (internet permitting – but I’m not hopefully) here’s something from Queen. Quel surprise! 

October 28th marks the forty year anniversary of the bands sixth album News of the World, and from the bite size pieces of information I have seen in relation to this years convention it is based around this album. Confusingly the track Sheer Heart Attack featured on this album rather than the album of the same name released three years earlier. This live version of the track is taken from the live album Queen Rock Montreal (recorded in 1981). Without consulting iTunes I’ve probably played this track more than most of their tracks. 


 

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Cosmic Dreams

After last weekends jaunt into deepest, darkest  Essex for a wedding it’s now time to get back into inane rambling mode. I’ve been off work for a week now and I’ve got three days to go. Time to finish of the holiday with a few bands I think?

The blueprints in my head consists of three small and cheap shows in as many days, but we all know how that seems to work just lately. Friday night should be my first gig in Shrewsbury and also my first in a prison! W.A.S.P. tribute band Electric Circus UK are playing a rock night at the HM Prison Shrewsbury. Thankfully it closed to inmates in 2013, so we won’t feel like the new fish in there. Whether the metal heads will be allowed out afterwards is another question. 

Saturday sees another tribute band grace the stage at the local venue Eleven. Metallica kicked off their European tour last Saturday in Copenhagen. They played a pair of shows in Amsterdam at the start of the week and finish it with a brace of Paris gigs. I was hoping to snag tickets for a show or two, the whole reason why I had this week off. Alas I didn’t score entry to any, so instead I’ll save myself £95 alone on entrance fees and see the Metallica tribute act Metal Militia for a fiver.  

Fingers crossed, it all kicks off tonight with Leeds science fiction obsessed death / thrash metal quartet Cryptic Shift who have a free shindig at Grand Central in Manchester. I don’t have to be up for work at stupid o’clock Friday morning, so I can finally check out one of the venues free Thursday night showcases. 

This evening is a bit of a reinvention of the free Thursday night gigs the venue had been putting on for a long time now but the ones I wanted to go to have fallen on work days and seemed to have a post 11pm finish. The band I want to see (and the only one I’ve heard of) hit the stage at 9:30pm if things run like clockwork, so I have a few train options to get myself there and home comfortably.  

Cryptic Shift are another one of those bands I seem to miss on a regular basis since I first encountered them with their cover of Sepultura’s Arise a few years ago. I managed to see them in Manchester twice last year, the last time was with their participation on the Vektor show at the Star and Garter last August. Their technical approach to the genre mixes the trash of Voi-Vod and Vektor together with the technical death metal of Gorguts and latter day Death. Fans are still waiting for a full length release after seven years, but there have been a few singles and an EP. in the interim.  Cosmic Dreams, a new track, surfaced from the other side of the Pennines earlier this year and can be found with the rest of their back catalogue at their Bandcamp page

Heavy Metal Month Listening Challenge 26/31

Day 26 – A crazy guitar solo.

Judas Priest – Painkiller

Another musicians question, which I’m not overly stuck on, but in hindsight I’m sure I could think of something to fit the crazy part a bit better, maybe Trivium or DragonForce? But I like Judas Priest more and I want them in my 30 bands for August. 

Give Me Fire

It’s been a very long time since I saw any of the second wave of punk bands on stage, unless it’s been Discharge. But tonight, sobriety willing, I’m hoping to make it up town to see GBH.  

I’ve seen them, along with the likes of the UK Subs, Exploited, Sham 69 and Anti Nowhere League, loads of times over the years. But I fear using online technology isn’t very punk rock so my last recorded sighting of the Brummie punx was way back in 1996. I must’ve seen them in the 21 years since? 

A lot of those bands passed through the Potteries in the mid to late 90’s and I saw most of them locally. If ’96 was the last time I saw them, then tonight will be the first time I’ve seen them whilst I’m in a state of inebriation! 

A lot of the bands are still treading the boards, but more so now they appear to be confined to a more festival style setting. A series of all day events under the Calling banner have been going strong over the last few years. Even though I’m slap bang centre of North West Calling (Manchester) and Midlands Calling (usually Wolverhampton), I’m yet to take the plunge and get along to any, mainly because I have other gigs planned. The same with the long standing Rebellion weekend in Blackpool, a veritable who’s who of punk spread over four days and multiple stages on the coast of the Irish sea. Usually this weekend has clashed with Bloodstock. 

I was seriously tempted with a drive to the Golden Mile this year to experience the punk showcase as there were a few bands I’d like to have seen. But once the stage times were released into the public domain that put paid to that idea. Virtually every band I wanted to see was spread over all four days and due to hit the stage post 9pm, in a few cases after the witching hour and I was working the next day. Saved me some cash anyway  

Tomorrow’s stumbling block is my towns annual beer festival. I’m supposed to be off work all of this week. Today is my fifth and final day that I’ve worked this week. We have plans Saturday, so that only leaves tonight to sample some fine (and not so fine) ales. Let’s wait and see how that pans out. 

Give Me Fire was released as a single by Clay Records in 1982, but never made it onto a studio album until the 2002 reissue on Captain Oi! Records of City Baby’s Revenge. 

Heavy Metal Month Listening Challenge 18/31

Day 18 – A song about vehicles / ships.

Iron Maiden – Empire of the Clouds

An airship answers the question, so why not the epic culmination of Maiden’s last album The Book of Souls? 

This 18 minute epic is one song that I’d really love to see live at some point. If they ever perform it I think it’ll be at something special rather than a run of the mill tour date.