Posts Tagged ‘Academy’

I went to go see Corrosion Of Conformity (with Pepper Keenan back in the band) live at Manchester Academy 2, tonight on Saturday the 7th of March 2015.
It was a sold out show, although when I arrived the queue was literally one person long, with me being the second person. More people arrived and went into the bar, but still, it was so calm and quiet. This lead to early t-shirt purchasing action with no problem getting a front row spot for the show. Everyone must’ve stayed in the bar or showed up late.

There was one support band, that being British Stoner/Doom artists, Hang The Bastard. They’re a band I’d heard mentioned all the time online and in podcasts but who I’d never heard for myself yet. Their music was fat, groovy stoner with abrasive harsh vocals. As the show went on the bassist added nice nasty Scott Kelly style growls, and the music got a bit of a Kyuss melody vibe at one point to balance out all the Doom. It was a pretty perfect booking to support COC. I wish I’d heard them when I was really really into my first wave Stoner phase, because they play exactly the type of music I like, but as with Orange Goblin supporting Down, or My Sleeping Karma supporting Monster Magnet, I was just there for the headliners and the support was cool for the night, but not enough to make me go out and get into them.

When it was time for COC to take the stage, the speakers played Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town” to reinforce the whole Deliverence-Revival theme. It was a nice touch.

COC were on fire, warmly received by the now full room. They blasted out favourites from Wiseblood and Deliverence mainly, with a few surprises, such as ‘Stonebreaker’ and ’13 Angels.’ It was a pretty perfect setlist, although personal preference wise, as with any concert, you’ll miss some of your favourite songs. I could’ve used some ‘Dance Of The Dead,’ ‘The Door,’ ‘Fuel,,’ ‘Zippo,’ ‘Who’s Got The Fire?’ or even a cheeky ‘Psychic Vampire’ or ‘Tarqunius Superbus’ from the trio-lineup as a neat extra, but that’s just personal. Objectively, it was amazing. You got big sludgy gems like ‘Broken Man,’ fast headbangers like ‘My Grain,’ the catchy stuff like ‘King Of The Rotten’ and ‘Long Whip/Big America’ and all topped off with the essential concert favourites ‘Albatross,’ ‘Clean My Wounds’ (which was extended and jammed out a bit) and an absolutely off-the-charts good rendition of ‘Vote With A Bullet’ that put the biggest smile of the month on my face.

The band seemed to be having fun, and were powerful and tight but still had that jam-feel without actually being disheveled and unorganized. At one point they forgot the setlist and had to consult the paperwork to figure out why they were so ahead of time, nicely dropping into a stunning rendition of ‘Goodbye Windows’ afterwards.

There were a heck of a lot of crowd-surfers, which usually I dislike, but I was in a sweetspot that they all missed so I watched all night, front row, but completely undisturbed. Nice one! –Some poor tall guy got kicked in the head multiple times by the same selfish crowd surfer on multiple trips. Glad for my lucky spot! That would’ve spoiled my night if it kept happening to me.

I’m feeling a bit deaf now, with some serious ear-ringing (only wore earplugs until COC came onstage) but I have some damn good memories of seeing Woody and Pepper rile up the crowd, Mike Dean full of enthusiasm and talent; and Reed’s superb, eye-catching hard hitting. It was a great concert that I’m very grateful to have seen, I had a great night, and it’ll stay in my memory for a long time. The band were really good. Did I mention that?

I hope they keep going in this line-up and release a new album. If their performance of ‘Paranoid Opiod’ or ‘Heaven’s Not Overflowing’ was anything to go by, they are absolutely unstoppable!

(Also, I hope they stick more ‘Volume Dealer material in the setlist (no ‘Diablo BLVD’? Awww…..) but that’s just personal preference again)

Bottom line, COC have got Pepper again, and you should definitely go see them, because time has done nothing to reduce the brilliance. They are on their game big time!

I went to go see Riverside tonight at the Club Academy in Manchester, on Sunday the 6th of April, 2014. When I was walking there, I had my phone’s music on shuffle, and the very last song that was playing before I paused it to enter the venue was Tool’s “Vicarious” – amusingly enough, that was also the first song that was playing over the speakers before the bands came on, almost to the exact second I had paused it. Pretty interesting coincidence. Its not like “Vicarious” is even an everyday rock club track or anything either.

The last time I was in this venue was to see Baroness. Baroness were great, but their support wasn’t my thing. How would the support band this time, Votum, stack up ?

They came on, started playing a djenty electronic part with some Anathema style keyboards… then, the power died, and it took about eight-ten minutes to get the guitars and bass working – Shame. They’d have to end early because of that electrical fault. Eventually they came on, and slammed into a cool song that sounded like Judgement era Anathema. My ears pricked up… these guys are serious. The rest of their set was pretty similar to parts of Riverside’s sound actually, with very Anathema-esque vocals over the top of that, and occasionally little touches that reminded me of Pain Of Salvation a bit too.

They were very talented, and their music is very suited to Riverside fans. A smart billing. Also, their drummer was excellent. Really good drummer, deserving of an individual shout-out. Their sound-mix was brilliant too. It sounded like an album. It was actually better than Riverside’s soundmix… usually the sound guy seems to screw over the opening band, but not this time! They sounded crystal clear, full and thick.

Good band.

Next; Riverside came on – “This is going to be a long set, are you guys ok with that?” – Yes I was ok with that! – The setlist was heavy on the new album; but in saying that, they played a good mix of everything. They even represented their Voices In My Head and Memories In My Head EPs. The version of “Acronym Love” had neat extra drum fills, and “Goodbye Sweet Innocence” was made a little livelier. They did that quite a lot… add extra drum fills, or change the drum beat to a groovy metallic breakdown, or add extra solos. It just “came alive” in the live setting. Mariuz even heavied up the bass tone on some of the softer songs, clunking away like some sort of Prog Lemmy. It was excellent.

When they did play new songs, they absolutely killed! “Escalator Shine” “New Generation Slave” and “Celebrity Touch” were phenomenal.

Aside from the brilliant music (and also a surprisingly good light show for the small venue), There was also a fair amount of amusing stage banter, and the good atmosphere had people laughing a lot (a lot more than you’d expect for this sort of music), Mariuz even commented “This is a serious song, about solitude…about misery…about pain; and you’re laughing?” and “What is this, a Charlie Chaplin Movie?” – it was a good time.

Even if you think laughing is a bit out of the ordinary at this sort of gig, would you expect a lot of crowd participation? Riverside never struck me as a band to have the crowd clapping along and “HEY”-ing like a Metallica or Iron Maiden gig, but they found a way. They just had such a great stage presence and had a lot of fun and it really translated. It wasn’t just studious musicians showing off, it was people having fun. Earlier in the day, I had posted “Egotist Hedonist” as my Song Of The Day on facebook, and it seems Riverside had a similar idea… it was jam packed with crowd participation parts and they played it with extra “umph.”

It wasn’t just that song… they played the whole damn set with extra “Umph.” The keyboardist even climbed his instrument and played it with his knee during the final song. There were a lot of cool little moments during that last track actually, like the band all shook hands at one point, but the drummer and keyboardist were too far away, so the drummer tossed his stick across, the keyboardist caught it, shook it, and threw it back.

Overall; Riverside were excellent live. Musically brilliant. Great setlist. Great atmosphere, and a lot of fun. I’d highly recommend you go see them live.