Sturdy Wrists

When I went back to work at 5am on Monday I only had four days off between then and finishing for Christmas. Make that five. As I’ve ended up with an unwelcome sick day today. I wait nearly two years for a day ill and I end up with three in a month or so. Oh well.

On Friday I will be adding Manchester’s Sound Control to a pretty prestigious looking list of venues. The Wheatsheaf, Stoke. JB’s, Dudley. The Foundry, Birmingham. Bradford Rios. Astoria, London. Jilly’s, Manchester. Some of the venues where I’ve spent many an hour in the last three decades. With the exception of the Wheatsheaf which was remodelled as a no music pub, all are now closed and several demolished.

My listing isn’t 100% accurate as I know there are dozens of shows missing from my list of Wheatsheaf gigs, but my top ten venues account for 474 sets witnessed (not actual gigs but the different performances by the bands seen). From those ten stages only four are places I can still look forward to seeing a band in. The tenth on the list is one I haven’t been to since 2001. It sporadically has gigs, but not by any bands I want to see.

In 48 hours the final curtain for me in Sound Control comes down when San Diegan’s Rocket From The Crypt play the venue. At some point in the near future the building will be demolished to make way for student accommodation for the huge university campus less than a mile down Oxford Road. The university grounds are also the first place where I saw the band play in 1996 and I haven’t seen the band in the intervening 21 years either.

Guitarist and vocalist Speedo (John Reis to his parents) and his band of well dressed merry-men formed in 1990. Their early albums are great pieces of melodic punk rock, but their big break in the UK came with the success of album number four Scream, Dracula, Scream! in 1995 which spawned their biggest UK chart hit On A Rope reaching the dizzy heights of number 12. A decade and three albums later the band split bar a one off show until a full reformation in 2013.

Almost four years ago to the day was the last time I should’ve seen the band, again in Manchester, but I was under the weather and didn’t make the show. Fingers crossed that isn’t the case come Friday.

As I found out last time I wrote about the sextet, the official RFTC videos are notoriously hard to find on YouTube, unless I’m looking in the wrong places? Sturdy Wrists is linked here from the Daily Motion site, so I hope it plays OK. The track was released on the 1992 album Circa: Now!

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On A Rope


Tomorrow I should have been heading up to Manchester to catch  San Diegans Rocket From The Crypt play for the first time since 1996. Twenty long years and now still waiting.

Unfortunately this weekends ATP (All Tomorrow’s Parties) festival was scrapped less than seven days beforehand. Officially it’s down to costs and a lack of advance ticket sales. Reading between the lines the promoter appears to be a bit on the unscrupulous side and it appears to be a regular thing with the guy.

I did have a ticket for their show at Manchester’s Gorilla venue a few years back, but with a combination of stupidly early wake up calls for work and feeling under the weather I didn’t go. In recent years their trips here haven’t been exactly prolific so not going was a huge regret.

This cancellation is becoming quite a trend here for UK festivals. Those that do go ahead suffer from real abject turn outs and lose so much money and never make it the following year (F.O.A.D., ‘Kin Hell Fest, Hevy and Ghostfest are a few recent examples).

Or they just appear to be competing for the same spare £150 that other major festivals are. There has been no Sonisphere Festival here since 2011, apparently due to them “not being able to deliver the quality headline acts that we deserve”. It has gone on religiously on mainland Europe every year, but not here.

Sometimes it feels like there is a two or three day festival somewhere in the country every weekend during the summer, but compared to some European festivals we do seem extremely over priced. As an example, Into The Grave festival in Leeuwarden,Holland, is a one stage two day event. Headlined by Slayer on Friday and Kreator on Saturday. For both days €55 (about £44) a ticket to see eight or nine quality bands on the Saturday it’s a measly €15! A day ticket for our biggest festivals here, Download and Reading, are £80+. I think Bloodstock for a day is around the £50 mark.

I think UK festivals need to concentrate on quality over quantity. Give me the days of the old Monsters of Rock events. One stage and eight or nine bands. You get to see every minute from every band if that’s what you want to do and no hikes between five stages to glimpse a few minutes of other bands. Oh, and keep the cost reasonable. Football fans have complained about excessive pricing structures lately and received a partial victory, but music fans appear to accept the ticketing prices and extortionate fees added on top.

And relax.

On A Rope is taken from the bands stunning Scream, Dracula, Scream! album from 1995. This song has been their highest UK singles chart entry to date, peaking at number 12. I can’t find a YouTube link to the proper, all singing and all dancing official video, so see how this Daily Motion link works.

 

 


  

Live Arena 2016.15

Last weeks gigs were a bit hit and miss in the end, mainly due to my reluctance to getting out of bed in time!! A bit of a quiet week until the weekend hits. 

Thursday – Manchester, Club Academy

If I’m here on Thursday then you know I’ll be the evenings designated driver. An evening of Finnish folk metal delivered by joint headliners Korpiklaani and Moonsorrow. 
  

Friday – Bristol, Bierkeller

Who’s ridiculous idea was it to drive 133 miles south on a Friday afternoon in search of death metal? Mine probably. As it stands, at 2am Sunday morning it will take 2 hours and 12 minutes to drive there. I wonder what that will increase to at 4pm Friday? My first gig in Bristol since 1997. 
  

Saturday – Manchester, Victoria Warehouse

A late addition to the diary. Originally it was scheduled to be held at the same place where Hammerfest is sited at Pwllheli, but recently got moved to Manchester. I only know Rocket From The Crypt from the Saturday line up, so a 50 minute drive is preferable over 150 minutes.