Bullet & A Badge

Another week and another Long Island band rolls through the Potteries. Metalcore quartet Stray From The Path arrive in town on Tuesday evening to play the Underground after performing as part of the humongous Slam Dunk Festival over the three days prior to hitting Stoke. 

Last week had been pretty weird overall. I went to bed on Monday with news circulating around social media about a speaker exploding at a concert in Manchester earlier in the evening. I awoke on Tuesday to the news that 19 people had died – later to rise to 22. Rather than a speaker failing it turned out to be a suicide bomber. 

Work has been unusually hectic for this time of year and for the weather that encompassed the UK over the tail end of last week. I just couldn’t be bothered to make the effort to catch gigs on Thursday and Friday and I missed a matinee show in Stoke Town on Saturday.  

The sole show of the weekend has been the Sheer Attack show in a pizza shop up in Liverpool. Four bands for a fiver in a tiny room. DIY shows still have an element of charm even after all these years. 

Today is a bank holiday here which means a bonus day off work, but it’s back to the grind stone at 5am tomorrow, but it’s half term over locallt, which in a nutshell means the kids are off school and traffic is non existent until noon when they all seem to head towards the shopping centres and I can, in theory, get my job done in less time and stress. 

If the theory goes to plan I can get home earlier than usual and partake in a power nap before I head out to the metal show. I’m not a dyed in the wool metalcore diehard and I’ve not heard a great deal by Stray From The Path and I’ve heard even less than that by the other three bands on the bill (Black Coast, Empires and Cale Lane). 

It’s a local show and I like to do my bit as much as I can for local shows, so in my eyes handing over whatever the entrance fee is on the night keeps a steady flow of bands coming to the city. At 43 years young though I’ll be very surprised if there are many more people in the Underground older than I. 

Considering metalcore is a relatively new offshoot of the hardcore scene that I’ve been “involved” with since the early 90’s I’m was sorely tempted to buy a shirt I saw online a while back. The back print bore the legend “hardcore was better when I was your age” and as a bitter and twisted pensioner, I’d have to agree whole heartedly with it. There was a time when it felt a so much more inclusive and welcoming scene. Twenty years on it seems like a massive clique. 

Thomas Williams has fronted the band since 2001, and is the only original member left. The album that Badge & a Bullet is from (Anonymous) is their sixth album and their last album surfaced in 2015.