Now that I’ve lowered the tone a bit and reminisced about days of old it’s time to get a bit more up to date and have a look at some of the upcoming gigs that I may, or may not, be attending over the next couple of weeks.
First up it’s possible that I could be inside Mama Roux’s in Birmingham for the Trap Them show. Until last night I’d not heard anything by the band and I’m still trying to figure out if the music I know to travel time ratio is worth the effort. My main reason for going was to catch South Wales heavyweights Venom Prison for the third time this year.
I stumbled upon the band during the Rituals Festival in Leeds earlier this year. They just finished their sound check and launched into a blistering death metal and hardcore hybrid. Besides Grave who were my main reason for going over the Pennines, I didn’t know many of the other bands on the line up and thanks to a hold up on the motorway, a bit of car trouble, some blustery snow on the high ground and the obligatory getting lost in Leeds I managed to miss those bands.
They supported Renounced in the Star & Garter a month or so ago and it was another no nonsense blitzkrieg on the Manchester crowd. They played their set with zero interaction with the audience then promptly walked off the rickety stage. Job done.
Debut album Animus hit the shelves last Friday via the Prosthetic label and I’m yet to snag a copy. But if the two live performances are any indication of what to expect then there with be plenty of death metal with some hardcore style slow bits with growls and screeches supplied by Larissa Stupar in abundance. Imagine a much more unforgiving and brutal Arch Enemy mixed with Walls of Jericho – but better on both counts – and you wouldn’t be too far off.
It’s so weird seeing bands like this that transverse genres and scenes effortlessly. The hardcore kids love them as much as the death metal brethren do. Unlike some of the more hardcore sounding metal core bands, Venom Prison sit in the death metal camp much more easily. Pummelling death metal punctuated with hardcore breakdowns – and it works.
It’s 50/50 at the moment if I’m in Birmingham on Wednesday evening, but if I am I’m witnessing a shining light of the future within the UK musical scene. They’ve only been together for a few years and already getting rave reviews in the major metal magazines.
Well another evening of the Euros 2016 and tonight is the first semi final between Portugal and Britain, like Andy Murray in the tennis they’ll both be British until they lose and then it’ll revert to Welsh and Scottish.
I’ve been wracking my brain for what seems like days for these two countries and like a flash of inspiration I came up with today’s picks whilst driving my van at work.
Representing Y Dreigiau are the innovators of the Newport helicopter. If your attended a gig or a festival where Benji Webbe has been on stage with current day job Skindred then no doubt you will have watched on in awe as the crowd take off a piece of clothing and spin it above their heads. Quite a sight when it’s in full effect.
Before Skindred though in the mid 90’s Mr Webbe fronted a band called Dub War who mixed punk, metal and reggae – an amalgamation of The Clash being fronted by H.R. from Bad Brains.
Their early releases found a home on Words of Warning records before Earache took a liking to them and signed them up. The band left The Nottingham label under a cloud just before the turn of the millennium and Dub War was no more.
I got to see the band quite a few times locally as they were semi regular visitors to the Wheatsheaf. I think the last time I saw them was way back in 1994 at the Victoria Hall supporting PWEI, with Blaggers ITA and Compulsion also on the bill.
One Wheatsheaf gig sticks in my mind mainly due to what you could now call a wardrobe failure. One of the early songs has an air raid siren intro which they did live. Benji’s string vest got caught up in the mechanism and messed the intro up. Small things.
I much preferred the earlier stuff over their later Earache output. It had much more of the rasping punk edge rather than the more gabba leanings. Strike It is taken from their Earache debut Pain released in 1994.
Checking social media in 2016 is our generations version of my dad sitting reading his newspapers from cover to cover seven days a week, every day of the year apart from Christmas Day. whilst perusing the overnight news this morning I came across the passing of American actor Wayne Rogers. You will certainly know him by the portrayal of Trapper in the US TV series M*A*S*H* that ran for a decade during the 70’s and 80’s. Even though my dad, on the surface, is a complete Ameriophobic, this programme was viewed in our house almost religiously when I was a kid.
I never knew the original theme to this was released as a single over here in 1980 and actually reached number one. It was credited to a band called The Mash who were made up of studio session singers. Interestingly the co-writer was 14 year old Mike Altman, son of the films producer Robert Altman. He ended up writing the lyrics when his father couldn’t write the lyrics for what he wanted to be “the stupidest song ever written”. In turn the son made more money than his dad did from producing the 1970 movie.
My link to the track is again from my college days of the early 90’s when I mixed with fellow students who had more of an interest in the indie scene at the time and I briefly dabbled with New Musical Express magazine for a while. Sitting on a bus with no iPod or anything was so boring and red top newspapers always seemed so cumbersome!
I was introduced to the first Manic Street Preachers album, Generation Terrorists, in class and I quite liked it. It combined the glam rock sound with a punk attitude pretty well. Suicide Is Painless was released as a charity single for the Spastics Society and the other track on the CD single was a cover of Bryan Adams’ (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, performed by The Fatima Mansions. I know I don’t have this in my collection anymore as I stuck it on eBay some years ago and I think it sold for a pretty decent amount.
R.I.P. Wayne Rogers
(April 7, 1933 – December 31, 2015)
Well this one shouldn’t take long. Tomorrow night South Wales “metallic hardcore” band Continents play Bunker 13 in Stoke. I have to admit I’ve never heard the band let alone seen the band, but when you’re signed to Chicago label Victory Records you shouldn’t be all that bad. My formative years in the hardcore scene involved lots of Victory releases, but when they branched out from the tried and tested formula I drifted away.
Drifting away pretty much sums up my participation over the last decade or so with the hardcore scene. I used to pride myself on being up to date with bands, releases and tours. I saw all the UK bands in their very early formative days, traversing much of the country seeing the bands and even ventured into Europe half a dozen times with Stampin’ Ground and Freebase.
I began to drift away when it became too cliquey. It used to be so welcoming and inviting but something somewhere changed. Faces disappeared and attitudes went down hill. I’m all for reinvention but most recent bands seem to owe more to death metal than the hardcore roots, but don’t want to admit that. The H-8000 scene in Belgium (Congress, Liar, Length of Time) weren’t afraid to admit their death metal influences and embraced it.
Then there’s crowd killing. I’d prefer to have the option to stand and watch, rather than have to keep an eye on flailing limbs coming at you from all angles. Maybe it’s an age thing? I’d rather keep my hard earned cash to myself if that’s the case. I’ve picked up on a few newer bands, but nowhere as in depth as the mid to late 90’s
Anyway, rant over. I’m off to find Continents on Spotify and be the grumpy old man in the venue tomorrow.