The Campaign for Musical Destruction Tour 2017 @ Birmingham Institute – 9.5.17

Due to the potentially stellar line up of this package we were on a train down to the Second City earlier than we’d usually be just to ensure we’d be inside in plenty of time to see Lock Up. 

With nearly an hour to kill it was a quick dive into the pub next door waiting for the doors to opens then about two dozen steps to the box office. Fifteen minutes before kick off should’ve sufficed due to the close proximity, even giving a bit of leeway for the small queue we encountered of maybe ten people. We managed to get in about five minutes into Lock Up’s set. Such a painfully slow shuffle into the venue by seemingly incompetent staff. How can it take so long to distribute pre ordered tickets or snatch £24 out of someone’s hand? 

We got the bulk of the Lock Up’s grinding racket and a very good twenty minutes it was. With only a quartet of albums to pick from the seven song blast encompassed something from them all. A brace of tracks from the latest opus and three from Hate Breeds Suffering, before Kevin Sharp removed his trademark cowboy hat for set closer After Life In Purgatory. 

Originally Iron Reagan were on the bill for the tour, but had to pull out early on. When their replacements Power Trip were announced I for one wasn’t disappointed, but I know many who were. 

The quick change around afforded me enough time to check out the merch and return in good time before the Texan thrashers destroyed the Institute. The decent sized crowd for Lock Up looked a bit static from my vantage point, but as soon as Soul Sacrifice kicked in the bodies were flailing. Their thirty five minutes were up in the blink of a eye, but for a thrash band that seem to have been embraced more by the hardcore community they definitely made some new friends tonight. 

Multiple band bills on a school night can be often frowned upon, but if the brief set changes like tonight work like a well oiled machine then that’s not a problem. It also helped that three of the bands used the majority of the same drum kit. 

I was intrigued to finally see “Mexican” deathgrind band Brujeria and they kept my attention for the first twenty minutes or so then their masked Mexican gangster gimmick started to wear a bit thin. The musicians in the band all looked remarkably similar to the three musicians from Lock Up – even both drummers were wearing the same Jeff Hanneman shirt! 

The dual frontmen – the only Mexicans in the band – came on stage clad in plaid and looked like the wrestling stable LAX. The biggest pop during their set was reserved for ¡Viva Presidente Trump! A huge machete made its way onto the stage for the final number and whilst the stage was being dismantled we were treated to an a-cappella version of Marijuana which sounds remarkably like the Macarena. 

From Great Barr, Walsall and Sparkhill local heroes Napalm Death took to the stage to rapturous applause, and there’s the Lock Up bass player who looked remarkably similar to the Brujeria bassist for the third time tonight. 

Tonight was the second time this year I’ve seen the band and the set lists were pretty similar and spanning the majority of the franchise’s career. All the way back to Scum and Enslavement to Obliteration, via Harmony Corruption and Utopia Banished through to Apex Predator. I can’t tell if frontman Barney is just uncomfortable on stage or if it’s just how he is, but it’s always brings a smile to my face when you see him bounding around the stage with his limbs flailing like a child that has had too many E numbers during the day. He has a very unique style. 

Along with the obligatory Dead Kennedys cover we also had short blasts originally from Offenders and Hirax. Apparently the set had to be cut short due to time restraints, if that’s the case I don’t know why it didn’t start a bit earlier. 

Overall a great night of noise, but for me Power Trip stole the show, closely followed by Lock Up. Napalm Death did what Napalm Death have been doing for more than thirty years. And as much as I wanted to enjoy Brujeria, for me, their gimmick over stayed it’s welcome with a forty minute set. 
 

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Accelerated Mutation

Once again Iron Maiden were stunning last night in Manchester. Unusually for them they were a bit sloppy in places, but nothing to serious to detract from the overall ambiance of the evening. Tonight sees a change in direction and aggression though. 

A quarter of a century after the first Campaign for Musical Destruction tour featuring Napalm Death, Obituary and Dismember, international grindcore “super group” Lock Up are opening up proceedings. Since their inception in 1998 it’s always been a Shane Embury and friends project. Over the years members of Terrorizer, Criminal, Cradle of Filth, Nuclear Assault, Hypocrisy, At The Gates, Brutal Truth and Carcass have all been involved with the band in some way.  

 

I thought I’d seen them live before, a long time ago, but apparently tonight will be my first time. I had a suspicion I’d seen them in Stoke, but I think I’m confusing that with another band with a bassist that appeared with Brujeria – Divine Heresy. I was also pretty sure they’d played Bloodstock but that is a negative too. 

They played the ‘kin hell fest in Leeds in 2014 which I was at but unfortunately I was at the wrong day of the three. They played on Friday and I was only in attendance for the Sunday. 

Looking trough the setlist.fm site they’ve only performed six times prior to this run (again assuming it’s accurate and up to date). I surprised myself to see that I wasn’t at the 2009 edition of the Damnation festival where they played alongside Destruction and Life of Agony, two bands I’ll travel to see. Maybe it was the majority of that years line up that put me off?

They are another band that have passed me by over the last eighteen years. Their debut album came out in 1999 when I was being a bit more adult by arranging and saving for my wedding the year later. There’s a bleak period in my gig timeline where shows completely tailed off for a number of years and it was definitely more quality over quantity to my gigging and purchasing. 

Friends raved about how good the Demonization album released this year was so I checked it out via Spotify with some trepidation, I think I was expecting not to like it as I’ve never been a fan of Brutal Truth’s vocals and Kevin Sharp from said band is supplying the vocal barrage for the album and subsequent tour. I’m glad I gave it a go as I was suitably enthralled. It just means i now have to be in Birmingham and Manchester early to catch them as doors open. 

Accelerated Mutation is from the Necropolis Transparent album from 2011.