Let The Truth Speak

Hopefully tonight I should be off to see reactivated and rejuvenated punk band Warwound support Icons of Filth on the outskirts of Manchester. Originally it was to be held at the Retro Bar, right on the doorstep of Piccadilly train station. Since tge venues demise a few weeks ago it’s now somewhere in Levenshulme. Jumping on a train looks like too much hard work. There’s a long wait in Piccadilly to head back south to Crewe so I might as well drive and be home in half the time. 

Warwound were a short lived band back in the early 1980’s for a few years. Various members splintered into other groups like the Varukers and Sacrilege. Then bassist, now guitarist, Damien resurrected the name with a trio of musicians well respected within the punk and hardcore scene to blast out some old Warwound songs alongside a smattering of Sacrilege and Varukers standards. The original demos got an updated release and a few days ago an album of new material, Burning the Blindfolds of Bigots, surfaced. I heard snippets of the album when I saw the band in Leeds back in March, so I can’t wait to get my grubby hands on a proper copy. 

The bass player of the rejuvenated outfit is Ian Glasper who I’ve known for more than twenty years since I first met him at a Stampin’ Ground gig in a youth club in Rugeley in 1996. Throughout all the bands I’ve seen in the last 28 years this guy is probably the one I’ve seen on stage the most. He’s been in quite a few bands and besides Stampin’ Ground who are the band I’ve seen more than any other, I’ve also witnessed him with Decadence Within, Suicide Watch, Freebase and Thirty Six Strategies. 

A throw away comment at an Earth Crisis show in Dudley many moons ago led me to my first shows abroad where I was offered a space in a van for a few shows in Belgium. Since that weekend I’ve had the bug to travel overseas for gigs. 

If you like your D-beat punk with huge chunky swathes of metallic hardcore then Burning the Blindfolds of Bigots is probably the album that you’ve been waiting for this year. 

Ace Of Spades

It seems to be a little known fact that Ian Fraser Kilmister, or better known as Motörhead frontman Lemmy, was born in Burslem, the Mother Town of Stoke-on-Trent. In a matter of hours this will be recognised with the placement of a blue plaque at Port Vale’s home ground.  

For those who are not familiar with the blue plaque, it’s a circular blue plaque placed on, or near buildings of historical significance associated with a famous person. They could have been born there, lived there or performed in a venue. It’s something that’s been going in this country since the 1860’s, but mainly in London in its early years. 

Earlier in the year to celebrate BBC Music Day all (well I’m assuming all) local BBC radio stations invited submissions for people or places locally to be nominated. There’s not a massive pool of choice from the North Staffordshire area, but being unbiased Lemmy was easily the best candidate. The only two nominees I can recall from the radio stations listenership were local singer Jackie Trent (known for singing on the theme songs for Australian TV soap Neighbours) and a venue called The Golden Torch which was a leading light (pun intended) for the Northern Soul movement of the late 1960’s. 

The accolade is very deserving for an icon of the heavy metal genre. It’s being unveiled tonight at 6pm by some guy called Tony Iommi, I’d liked to have gone to have a snoop, but due to the rock and roll life style I lead I’m sitting at home waiting for a shopping delivery to arrive between 5pm and 9pm. Living the dream right here. 

The placement at the football ground is adequate, even though I support the other team in the city. He was born in the town and performed at the ground once back in 1981 in the inaugural Heavy Metal Holocaust. Personally though I’d liked to have seen it situated in Hanley – the areas city centre. I think it would  be a good idea to have a walk of fame like the Hollywood Boulevard or Birmingham’s Broad Street, around our cultural quarter and the Victoria Hall, a venue Motörhead played at least three times. Which ever way to slice it though it’s still recognition for what was extreme music back in the day. 

My main gripe is the wording on the plaque.  
“Motörhead founder & singer, who’s song Ace of Spades has been adopted by Port Vale FC”. 

 Nothing about him being born in the town or actually performing at the ground. At the time of writing this, it is the only concert (infamously poorly ran by all accounts), to have been held on the grass at Vale Park. If they’re dishing them out for adoption it won’t be long until Tom Jones has a plaque at the Bet 365 stadium. 

I actually thought I’d already posted the quintessential Motörhead song Ace of Spades a long time ago, apparently not. On its 1980 release the single peaked at number 15 in the UK charts, only bettered by The Golden Years Live EP a year later. The same song reached number 13 after being reissued in 2016, not long after Lemmy’s death. 

We are Motörhead and we play rock ‘n’ roll…..

One Foot In The Grave

When it’s my time to leave this mortal coil there are two things I want to happen on the day. When the funeral procession leaves wherever to my final destination I don’t want it to drive slowly and clog up all the roads. I’ve been stuck behind way too many funeral processions to know how frustrating it is for people still going about their daily work. 

Secondly I want to be slightly late! I used to pride myself on my punctuality for most things that weren’t work based. In the last couple of decades I seem to be late for anything and everything. Today is just another point in case. 

I’ve had more than six hours since I got up this morning to get ready and arrive at the station in time. So rather than being prepared I decide to hunt for a specific shirt (which I didn’t locate) within the hour window of having to be seven miles away. Then I manage to drop my cash card behind the radiator. Rather than falling straight through to the floor, as would do 99% of the time, it ledges on some detritus behind the fins. I end up leaving fifteen minutes before my train leaves and I make it with minutes to spare.  

Now ensconced in my seat for the next ninety minutes I’m trying to calm down and listen to some music. First track playing after hitting shuffle is the title track from the most recent album from the alcohol soaked Tankard. Ironically trying to put this CD into my iTunes library and syncing the phone was a contributing factor to my mad dash to the station. My PC and the iTunes interface really don’t get along! 

It’s also ironic that I’m listening to a German thrash metal stalwart, who this year celebrate 35 years together as a band, as I make my journey to London to watch a band that the old guard will undoubtedly pass the German thrash metal torch onto in the near future. 

I think I wrote in the last Tankard post that I’d be seeing them in Scotland in September. For whatever unexplained reason that had been replaced with a date in Portugal, which has now been replaced by another German show, so another year without the Frankfurt band gracing a British stage. There are a couple of options involving a short flight to see them in either Berlin or Eindhoven in December which I might have a peruse at next time I’m off work. 

Until then here’s the video for One Foot in the Grave, from the superb album of the same name, that isn’t all about alcohol. I’m not old enough yet for my leather diaper but I hope I go senile in style. 

Toxik Attack

I’m currently sitting in a pub with the “boy” with one other guy in here who’s completey enthralled in the FBI enquiry playing out on the TV. Once again I’ve neglected the blog for what feels like way too long and yet again I have no real excuse. I haven’t been to many gigs at all since the last posting so I’ve had the time. Let’s see how long this run of last for. 

The last post was during the May bank holiday weekend for a local gig that I ended up not attending. Greek thrashers Domination and Bloodrocuted from Belgium were two more shows I missed. Both were on the same evening so one had to be sacrificed. My trip to Birmingham for the Greeks was scuppered by crossed wires and a horrendously busy day at work. 

The last show I went to was a six band power violence shindig above a vegan cafe on the outskirts of Manchester City centre. What more would you want in a tiny hot and sweaty room with no stage for 84p a band? My first time seeing and actually experience Boak from Aberdeen, ably supported by Nothing Clean and for the second time in eight days Horsebastard and further trio of noisy upstarts. 

Discharge playing an almost local show was on the cards for tomorrow. They’re playing Stafford, a thirty minute drive along the A34 isn’t an issue, the main band hitting the stage at 1210am, technically on Saturday morning, is though, especially as I’m at work at 5am. 

I could venture up to Liverpool for the third time in four weekends for the American death metal blasts of Exhumed, but with the trains home ceasing just before 10pm and having the audacity to be a rail replacement bus it’s another one I’d have to drive myself to. 

Ironically the next gig I am going to is headlined by Exhumed, but I’ll probably be on the way home by the time they hit the stage in London. I’m making the 340 mile round trip just to catch German thrashers Dust Bolt. 

Sunday will be the third time I’ve seen them. The first time was also in London, just up the road at the Electric Ballroom when they opened up for Obituary. The last time was over in France when I just about made it through the melee of the Hellfest entrance. Thanks to the sloth like queues they’d already hit the stage, but I saw most of their set. 

On both occasions I’ve dragged friends in early to catch the band, friends who up until that point hadn’t heard of the band. I’m pleased to say on both occasions all attendees were suitably impressed, and a couple of them can be notoriously hard to impress with new bands. 

The group are on British soil for a quaret of shows, two with Exodus in the south east of the country, a show up in Scotland then back to London for the Exhumed support slot. There’s a day off between the last two shows and I was hoping for a more middle of the country event on Saturday. Alas it never materialised and I have to make the trek to London. It’s been over two months since my last foray to the capital, so I’m not as tainted by the thought of another trip down south. By the end of the month though could garner a different response. 

Last time they were included in this blog it was with a track from their brand new third album Mass Confusion. This time we go all the way back to 2012 and their debut album Violent Demolition. 

Roll on Sunday when the DxBxTxCx demolish the nations capital. 

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. 

End Action

Yesterday saw the forth and final (?) Iron Maiden show for 2017. Besides motorway complications on three of the four drives between Manchester then birmingham, and an absolutely sweltering Barclaycard Arena last night they’ve been a fantastic culmination to eight hours worth of music from my joint favourite band. I’m running out of superlatives of how good Maiden have been over the last fourteen months and six shows in four countries. I’m sorely tempted to look into a London show over the upcoming weekend, but I don’t know if I could deal with the wife’s wrath at such short notice. 

This bank holiday weekend already already has a few shows marked in the diary using the imaginary pencil. Dub War play their only UK show of 2017, and only their third in the last two years, in Manchester on Friday. Martyr Defiled play locally on the same evening. 

Saturday could be a trip to Liverpool for the second Saturday running for some noisy rumblings and a dose of equine blast core! Or I could head over to the East Midlands to catch, amongst others, Onslaught and Divine Chaos at Uprising 2017 in the legendary De Montfort Hall. I’ve also seen a matinee show in Stoke for Saturday too, so I’ll have to see what fits in with work. 

On the alleged day of rest there’s a beat down hardcore doss in Manchester with Sheffield’s Malevolence and Arizona’s No Zodiac on the bill. Sunday also sees Acid Reign closing out the Breaking Bands festival which I’d hoped to have gone to for the day, but it sold out quicker than I expected. 

Until earlier today I had nothing expected gig wise until Friday. I toyed with the idea of seeing Regulate and Blind Justice – two stateside hardcore bands – with Mancunian band Guilt Trip. They play Birmingham on Wednesday, but I didn’t fancy another southbound M6 trip on a school night. The Manchester show never seemed to be confirmed for the evening after either. 

I was pretty resigned to not attending, until the Manchester show was cancelled and the Bare Necessities promoters have dragged the tour to Stoke at the last minute. For a fiver I can’t refuse. 

I just hope it goes better than the previous last minute show relocated to Stoke. New York’s Merauder and touring partners from France, Providence, played the short lived Tech Noir venue to no more than a dozen paying customers. All very embarrassing, but with forty eight hours notice I was still expecting a few more. 

End Action is from the Long Island, NY, straight band Regulate and taken from their 2014 release Corrupt / Correct which you can purchase digitally for $5 or stream from their Band Camp page and check out their other stuff while you’re there. 

R.I.P Chris Cornell

As soon as you think the talent taking grim reaper of 2016 has melted away into the mists of history this morning social media and even Radio 2, broke the news of the passing of Chris Cornell over night. Aged only 52, he and his Soundgarden brethren from the City of Goodwill played what would turn out to be their last show in Detroit before he was found dead in his hotel room after he hung himself. 

I’m not a massive fan of the Seattle band. I just think it highlights more important issues. 

My first dabble into the band was via their Hands All Over EP that I picked up from Mike Lloyds Music in their bargain bin. It was a 10″ vinyl and the cover was pretty snazzy fold out affair. When I listened to it though I thought it was awful. 

Roll on a few years and with the 1991 album Badmotorfinger they became a monstrous band for a relatively brief period of time. Rusty Cage always seemed to be on heavy MTV rotation. That position was solidified when Superunknown surfaced three years later. All I own physically by the band are the CD singles of Spoonman and Black Hole Sun. 

Until Audioslave released Cochise from their self titled debut album in 2002 I don’t think I listened to anything new from Cornell. In 2006 he was bestowed the privilege of performing the theme for the James Bond film Casino Royale. I’d say this is what propelled him to the general public’s consciousness rather than anything he did with Soundgarden, Audioslave or prior to both Temple of the Dog. 

The whole grunge scene seems fraught with tortured geniuses. If there was an influential big five from the innovators of grunge the only frontman still alive is Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder. Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains and now Soundgarden have all lost their frontmen to drugs or suicide. 


Two things that have annoyed me a lot today is some of the attitudes towards his mental state, or mental issues in general. Firstly comments along the lines of “he had everything, how could he be depressed?” To be honest, it’s also a view point I might have had a number of years ago. 

I’m not claiming to be an expert in the field, but it is such a deep rooted affliction that it can be some of the smallest and irrelevant things that can offset someone’s mindset. They might have loads of money, massive record sales, adoring fans or a million dollar mansion. If there’s a darkness there anything could throw them over the edge. It’s probably been well hidden in public but in private things could be completely different. People’s coping mechanisms work in different ways to all situations. What you and I take for granted, i.e. receiving a negative comment, can be a tidal wave of pent up frustration to the next person and a feeling of uselessness. But do they want to draw attention to it? Maybe instead they publicly laugh out loud at it.    

Which leads me on to irritation number two. “Why not speak to someone about it?” I saw one comment about someone who has strong bonds with their family and band mates and could discuss anything. Congratulations to them. Let’s see what really happens when foresight isn’t a relevant option. 

If it’s family at the root of it all then where do you turn? If you segregate yourself from the rest of society and just “get on with it” on an individual basis day to day then you’ll have no one to speak to who you think you can confide in. It especially seems a male trait that you don’t talk about stuff like that. It’s fine saying you could, but if you are feeling that low and negative could you handle the rejection and humiliation that you will ultimately be expecting? 

Coming out and confiding in someone, anyone, is the hardest thing those with a mental illness can do. To some they might see suicide as an easier option to deal with it. They won’t have to bother someone else and unload all their problems onto someone else. If you can’t process the electrical impulses in your brain correctly the pieces others have to pick up are secondary thought to their escape route. 

Yes it’s good to talk, which in itself seems such a blasé statement. I’m pretty certain we all bottle up something, it doesn’t have to be depression, anything you consider to be a problem that no one can help you with. Broaching the subject is not as easy as you’d think. It takes much more determination to bring it to the forefront. It’s not a quick process either. The people you’ve known for years or decades could be struggling for all the time you’ve known them. It doesn’t suddenly hit you like a virus. It sits inside the darkest recess of your brain and festers away long term. 

Be proud of any one who faces their fears and be understanding. Let them talk. If someone will listen and not be judgemental it’s a positive step.