Blood In, Blood Out


Co-headlining the Battle of the Bays tour are thrash pioneers Exodus – one of my top bands in that genre – and probably my favourite death metal band and scene innovators Obituary. 

Earlier this year Californians Exodus hit British and Irish soil for a staggering seventeen shows. I can’t recall many other visiting bands playing so many venues on a tour for a long time. Towards the end of the run I read snippets of an interview with frontman Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza about a touring package that was hitting Europe in the fall. 

Usually if a band does some extensive UK touring the likelihood of that band returning here in the same year is slim to none. When mega packages like this get announced its just a quick scan through to see how many dates are in Germany and maybe, just maybe, a single solitary London date, probably on a Sunday or Monday. How refreshing that this tour is hitting five British cities. Obviously someone is going to be antsy as its not in their back yard, but I’ll take something closer to Stoke over London anytime. Manchester and Birmingham is just a delightful bonus for me. 

I judge packages like this on how many of the bands I’d pay to see at a stand alone show and how far I’d consider travelling. As I’ve travelled a significant amount of miles to see both headliners – and last year I saw both in London and already this year both in the Netherlands – I’d define it as a strong line up. Prong and opening band King Parrot are also bands I’d look at travelling for an hour or so to if our schedules allowed. 

That’s the same reason why I get annoyed when people moan about the price of something like this. Tickets for this cost £25 in advance by the time “service charges” have been loaded on, £5 more if you risk the door. Both headliners could do their own shows for a similar price. A Prong gig would be around the £20 mark and in the current climate King Parrot would be a tenner. That’s the best part of £80 on their own – £25 is an absolute steal. 

Or with Exodus, there’s always the No Holt No Exodus excuse. He’s being paid handsomely (I’d imagine) by Slayer and I’m sure some of those dollars will be ploughed back into the band he once was a roadie for and current longest serving member.  

So far I’ve included two Exodus tracks – one early classic and one from the Rob Dukes era. Now it’s time to view something much more up to date. Released in 2014 here’s the title track of the album Blood In, Blood Out – a majestic return to form from these Richmond veterans who are fast approaching their fourth decade. 


Live Arena 2016.10

Well last week was a wash out!  I attended no gigs at all. I passed up Exodus in Liverpool for a football match that I didn’t go to in the end.  I missed Exodus again on Friday as I woke up late after work.  And for Decapitated on Saturday night I just didn’t feel like it.  Better luck this week then.

Monday – Keele,University Students Union.

Hopefully I’ll be catching Wolf Alice during their  headlining UK run later today.  I’ve been too lazy to grab a ticket yet, so I’m hoping I can rock up to the door later and buy one there.


Friday & Saturday – Haven Holiday Camp, Pwllheli.

The first drive to the Welsh valleys for the combined indoor festivals of Hammerfest and HRH AOR.  No doubt the alcohol levels will be reduced this year with the other half in attendance. Maybe.



Live Arena 2016.9

After the weekends excesses and shenanigans in Tilburg and Eindhoven this coming week is looking pretty sparse again.

After last Thursday’s thrash metal master class I’m tempted to head off to Liverpool or Nottingham later in the week to experience it all over again.

One gig I do have a ticket for, but unable to attend now if for the Together Fest back down in London. It is to be headlined by the  Gorilla Biscuits, but I just can’t get there and back using public transport and be in work for 9am the following Monday morning. I might keep an eye on the set times and see if I can catch anything of any worth before I have to head home.  Doubtful though. 

which is likely to only leave…

Saturday – Manchester, Academy 3

A very unlikely pairing of Polish death metal bad Decapitated co-headlining a UK tour with Reading’s much more technical metal band Sylosis. Another one of those gigs where I’ll be the designated driver, if we go.



War Is My Shepherd

Just home from my jaunt 60 miles south to the Asylum in Birmingham for a master class in thrash metal or a lesson in violence, if you will.

It is ridiculously scary just how good some of these “old” bands are at this moment in time, many are now entering their third decade. Thrash metal, like whiskey, certainly does get better with age and tonight’s 90 minutes of good friendly violent fun proves it yet again.

They may be missing mainstay Gary Holt who’s moonlighting with Slayer on the other side of the Atlantic, but fellow six stringer Kragen Lum from Bay Area neighbours Heathen is proving again to be a more than worthy stand in.

Live Arena 2016.8

This week I’m supposed to be off work for eight days, but I’m already working two of those days. Towards the end of the week I’ve got a few nights entertainment. 

Thursday – Birmingham, Asylum

Bay Arean thrash legends Exodus kick off their European tour with young Finnish upstarts Lost Society in Birmingham. Thursday is the first of 17 dates here covering England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. It’s their longest tour here I’ve ever known them to do. 


Saturday & Sunday – Tilburg, 013

A bit of a hastily arranged trip to the Netherlands for the DeathFest. I looked into this late last year when the line up was announced, but I juggled with the idea  about attending it. Freinds are already heading over so I belatedly arranged to do two of the festivals three days. 


Live Arena 9

Well this weekends superb Nightwish extravaganza brought 2015’s gig diary to a close and now I’m looking forward to 2016.

So far plenty of bands to look forward to seeing over the forthcoming twelve months including a trip to Canada in April and a few continental European visits potentially. But first Christmas and New Year shenanigans to endure!

A few of next years shows I’ll be catching.


The Toxic Waltz

Let’s see how easy this is sitting on a train to London. Tonight is part two for me of the Slayer and Anthrax tour, who will be performing on the Brixton Academy stage. I was so tempted to post another track by each band, but rather than that I’ll look at a couple of bands featuring current members. First up Slayer’s Gary Holt and the might Exodus.

The band was formed way back in 1979 in the San Francisco Bay Area by current Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett and drummer Tom Hunting. Holt was the band’s guitar roadie and joined in 1981 and has been the only member to feature on all their recordings. Hammett left for Metallica just before the band recorded their debut album Bonded By Blood to be replaced by Rick Hunlot.

Like many bands from that era they have been struck by misfortune and a revolving door policy. Thrash bands never seem to make it easy.

Bonded By Blood vocalist Paul Baloff was fired to be replaced by Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza, who in turn left when the band went on hiatus in 1998.

Exodus returned with Baloff for the previously mentioned Thrash of the Titans concert in 2001 but sadly passed away in 2002, the band recruited Souza again – only for him to leave in 2004 and to be replaced by Rob Dukes who in turn was fired for the returning Souza in 2014. Phew!!

There is much debate regarding a fifth band to join the Big 4, Exodus alongside Testament and Overkill are always touted for that fifth spot, I’d rather see the Big 7!

The Toxic Waltz is lifted from the bands third album Fabulous Disaster and is a song about the dancing in a “violent mosh pit” and 26 years later it is still a firm favourite in the Exodus set list.