Posts Tagged ‘Gig Report’

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’ve Just Been To See Tesseract and Protest The Hero Live at the Manchester Academy, on Thursday the 6th of February 2014. Fuck me. What. A. Gig.

What a gig, and I almost missed it. All week, I’ve thought that this concert was on on the Friday, so today after Uni I had dinner then got undressed and into my pyjamas (well, I don’t own pyjamas, so, into the normal clothes that I wear if its too cold to sleep without clothes) and got ready to drift away to sleep. At the last minute, for no reason I can discern, I got up to look at the tickets. Not to check the date or anything, just to look at them, covetously. That’s when I noticed that the gig was on tonight, and had to get dressed and head straight out the door and walk to the venue. Luckily doors hadn’t opened yet, but I wasn’t in the que very long.

I got in, walked straight to front row center (well, two human body’s distance to the right of center, to be specific) while others where buying beer or t-shirts, and rooted myself in for the night. I remembered jerk crowds the last few time I was here in this section of the Academy (upstairs, not the biggest part that’s in a separate building, where bands as big as Megadeth get to play), so I expected thugs to try come and uproot me. It never happened. Much like the Queensryche crowd, this was the politest, most honourable crowd anyone could hope for. I was really pleased. A little faith in humanity is restored every time you spend a whole evening in the company of people who don’t act like assholes.

The evening was opened up by the Canadian Djent band, Intervals. I didn’t know much about Intervals (no songs, so that’s pretty little) beforehand, but they really won me over. They were really, really impressive. Their musicianship was incredible for an opening band, they had a pretty professional demenour and good songs. A very good band indeed. The sound didn’t really help them out, but they were so good you could tell through the bad sound that they were seriously talented. They were also kind of the heaviest end of Djent you can be, without using any Death Metal parts. Their singer was pretty charismatic and their drummer was straight up awesome (at one stage he hit a cymbal so hard, he broke a big wedge straight off of it and left it looking like a shark had taken a bite out’ve it). Great band. Go see them if you can.

Next up came The Safety Fire. Who were a British Tech Metal/Prog Metal/Djent band. They were also absolutely excellent. Their sound was a bit lighter, more radio-friendly in parts, and sometimes they actually played little guitar runs that sounded like Protest, or those bits on Periphery’s new album that John Petruci from Dream Theater played.

Their drummer was freaking incredible. He plays like he’s trying to pass an exam. Watching him drum was like playing a videogame without dying on the hardest difficulty. Everything about that band seemed on, but the drummer especially was hot, hot stuff. Plus, no Death Metal. They were more like if a Djent band listened to a lot of At The Drive In.

The sound for them was less muddy but the vocals were mixed very low. Again, luckily, they were clearly brilliant so it didn’t matter.

They were really good. Go see them if you can.

Then Tesseract came on. Tesseract are a fucking incredible live band. I took a punt on them just before Christmas and went to go see them live without knowing them, just because I like Periphery, and the two are often spoken of together (like Metallica and Megadeth). Also because Karnivool were headlining and Karnivool are often spoken of alongside bands like Cog and Rishloo, so I wanted to try them out too. Tesseract stole the show, hands down and unequivocally. That show was absolutely incredible (despite a small section of annoying honking fans making clown-horn noises endlessly) and completely sold me on the band. I got their new album for Christmas as a result and absolutely love it.

Seeing them tonight was even better than the first time. These guys are one of the best live bands going. They are like fucking superstars, from their casually cool world’s-tallest-man guitarist, to their Danny Carey’s-maths-homework drummer, their business-looking bassist and the friendly looking other guitarist. That and the new singer. My goodness. That man can sing. Remember what I said about Jesse Leach? Yeah, well double that!

That guy is the best live singer I have ever seen with my own two eyes (and I’ve seen Maynard James Keenan!). If I could give him some sort of award I would.

In fact, maybe I can.

I hereby award Ashe O’Harra the ‘Kingcrimsonblog Best Live Singer’ award

Done. (And well deserved).

Tesseract are such an incredible live band, they just really draw you in, they are so powerful and captivating, it really makes my enthusiasm for live music grow and both times that I’ve seen them, they have absolutely dominated. Furthermore, they had great quality sound. Thank you Tesseract’s soundman.

As if that wasn’t enough, I got to see Protest The Hero too.

If you’ve ever read this Blog before, you’ll probably know that I love Protest The Hero. Since I first got their debut album as a birthday present, I have listened to and talked about them absolutely constantly. Constantly! – According to my LastFM account, I’ve listened to them 1,361 times since August (at time of writing), and in that short time, they have become the band that I’ve listened to Eighth-most, in the entire last three-and-a-half years!

So, with that sort of context, you should be able to figure out that I was beyond excited for this gig. You may however have also seen my write-up about their Live DVD, which I was actually a little disappointed by. That made me a bit fearful that Protest’ were more of a studio band. I mean, their albums are some of the best ever made by anyone. Kezia, Scurrilous and Voltion especially. I mean, I just hammer those albums constantly!

Even if Protest’ were poor live, at least Tesseact had been headline-worthy.

Protest’ weren’t poor live though. Protest The Hero were one of the best bands I’ve ever seen. I had suuuuuch a good time. The energy level was off the charts. They were so good that they pulled out all my reservations. I’m more like a Japanese audience member than a western one usually, but boy did I make an exception. Ever since Lamb Of God’s concert, I’ve been getting more and more into things. I screamed my lungs out, I jumped about, air-drummed, air-guitared, gestured descriptively for all the lyrics and generally banged and danced away like I was having a damn great time (which of course, I was). I haven’t ever thrown more of myself into a gig since I was about 15. I had more enthusiasm here for that hour than I’ve had all year. I looooooved it.

But enough about me, the band, the band were unbelievable. Absolutely nailing such complex, multifaceted, incredible music like it was easy. Even the new drummer who didn’t write any of this bonkers material was absolutely phenomenal. Every musician was entertaining to watch and great fun to listen to.

The setlist was brilliant. They played more or less all of my absolute favourite songs, including ‘Underbite,’ ‘Mist’ ‘Sextapes’ ‘C’est La Vie’ and ‘Blindfolds Aside.’

The crowd seemed to be going pretty wild for them. Proportionately, it was probably the most sing-along concert I’ve ever seen, with the most knowledgable and into-it fans I’ve ever witnessed. It seemed like an absolute love-fest. Deservedly so. They make brilliant songs, and they’ve backed it up live with a stunning performance. I think the fact that they have some of the best and most interesting lyrics I’ve ever read also helps. People sang along like their lives depended on it, which I think is a big endorsement of the quality of those lyrics.

The sound for them was great too. Thank you Protest The Hero’s soundman too.

Roddy was pretty entertaining, commenting on a security guard being the world’s strongest man (which is not an unreasonable assessment) to the point where the bouncer even cracked a happy smile, joking about Buckfast, referencing WWF, WCW and Holywood Hulk Hogan, inviting a handsome crowd member up on stage to be ‘hunk of the week’ (the band played him a little specially-written hunk-of-the-week theme tune too!) and then joking about getting him into bed. He also started singing football chants about Stephen Gerard to annoy the football fans in the crowd, and fake-dedicated a song to Stephen Gerard. It was pretty amusing stage banter. I guess he takes what he written in ‘Underbite’ seriously.

The band’s performance overall was so, so strong. That DVD must have been an off-night, because what I saw tonight was a frigging phenomenal Live Band. It was such a good, good show.

It was such a good show I even bought a t-shirt afterwards (a thing my wallet has stopped me doing since seeing Queencryche Live – so you can tell how much I was impressed to be moved to t-shirt purchasing)

The gig, as a whole, is one of the absolute best I’ve ever seen. Two great Djent bands supporting Tesseract’s world-class superstar-quality live show and the most fun gig (Protest The Hero) that I’ve been to in the last decade.

If you have any interest in modern Metal, live music, or any of the bands mentioned, try and see them live. This was a fabulous bill and a brilliant night. The only way it could be any better is if Periphery also played, and Protest’ got a slightly longer set and were able to fit in ‘Dunsel’ ‘Skies’ and ‘Turn Soonest To The Sea’ – then it would have been the hypothetical best gig ever. As it stands it was pretty damn close.

“So How You Fucking Feeling Tonight?” – Boy, am I in a good mood!

I Went To Go See Killswitch Engage & Trivium Live Tonight (Feb 1st, 2014), at Manchester Academy. It was a stark, stark contrast to the miserable experiences that I had at the same venue when seeing Bring Me The Horizon a few months ago and Lamb Of God a few weeks ago.

At those gigs I’d been greatly disillusioned by support bands who didn’t interest me and fans who rubbed me up the wrong way, in combination with poor sound. Being up close to these young happy people, having their obnoxious fun made me feel so out of place and removed from humanity. (Until Lamb Of God came on, fucking smashed it live, and fixed my brain!)

None of that tonight, sure, there were a few chuds barging their way through the crowd rudely, and a few people who clearly hadn’t washed or groomed in over a week, but for the most part, the crowd did not irritate me this time (it was almost as nice as the Queensryche crow; the single least stupid, selfish, boorish and annoying crowd I’ve had the pleasure to be in since moving to this city). It was such a great show I think that even if the crowd were off-putting I would still be feeling this happy and satisfied. It was a damn good show, you see.

When I got there, by the time I’d got in, been to the toilet and walked to near the front, I only saw one song from the opening act, Battlecross, but it was very impressive. I’ve psychologically filed them under ‘would see again’ on the strength of just that one song. A far cry from Huntress, or some of the other less interesting bands I’ve seen.

Next up were a band who I’d never heard of, but who turned out to be excellent. They were called Miss May I and their style was very much in the Killswitch/Parkway Drive direction, but they were very good at what they did. Very, very good, with charismatic members, an enthusiastic crowd and heaps of talent. It reminds me of when I first saw Rise To Remain, I should have heard all the Melodic Metalcore I’ll ever need to hear by now, but these guys come along and do it so well, it doesn’t matter if its not ground breaking. Its still damn entertaining.

Not knowing any of their material didn’t stop it being enjoyable. That’s how good they were.

When they finished, there was a brief gap and soundcheck, then it was time for Trivium. They played atop a plastic Cliffside, with big banners behind them, and big ‘T’ things at either side of the stage (sort’ve like statues, the way Slipknot would do with the tribal ‘S’ logo). They also has a fancy light show, a foam cannon that made snow and huge smoke bombs that Lamb Of God and Horizon also had used. Basically, they put a lot of effort into their show. It was a show worth seeing.

Trivium played a few newer songs from the new album, and also surprisingly played ‘Shattering The Skies Above’ from the God Of War 3 soundtrack. I really enjoyed that stuff, but it would’ve been wise of me to have gotten the new Trivium album by now and definitely before the show so as to enjoy them live even more, recognition being one of the most rewarding parts of a live show after-all. They also played a fair few favourites from Ascendency, which went over fantastic. Also, I got the recognition buzz. Yay recognition.

Before the gig I had went online to see what setlist they’d been playing this tour, and was delighted to find ‘Becoming The Dragon’ on it, which is probably my favourite Trivium song (definitely in my top-three at any rate) but for this show they changed things up a bit and replaced a few tracks with the lengthy title-track to Shogun, complete with the falling snow. Fair play. If I’m going to miss out on such a great track at least its for an interesting reason. Like people who see Slipknot live and miss out on a few ragers but get to see ‘Iowa.’

I had seen Trivum before touring Shogun (the album, not the song) and it was a really good show, with a really good performance. This was even better. They have become so impressive, so confidant. The guitar solos are really captivating, the big breakdown riffs are absolutely giant live, and they really know how to work a crowd. It was really, really entertaining stuff. Also this time the crowd didn’t get called pussies for not jumping (my single most enduring memory from my previous Trivium gig for some reason).

The highlights of the night for me were a very heavy rendition of ‘Down From the Sky’ as well as ‘Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr’ (wherein I derived great pleasure from singing ‘Boat Rudder Strange Mountain,’ naturally) and a fucking phenomenal rendition of ‘In Waves.’ I think ‘In Waves’ is probably the best song the band have ever written and live it was absolutely massive. Also they timed the smoke bombs to go off every time he said ‘Waves’ so it was extra interesting to look at. I’m really glad to have seen it live. What a good time.

After Trivium were over, you’d be forgiven for accidentally walking home, because it was a real headline show. It’s a lot better show than either time I’ve seen Slayer, it was better than both Down and Megadeth who I’d both seen (separately) in this same venue and it was almost as good as that Lamb Of God show that stopped me wanting to jump in front of a car.

Trivium are a great band. Much better than they’re given credit for. I know they are given credit, judging by the adoring crowd, but they’re even better than that. If you get me. They seem to be only getting better too.

Even though I’d have been absolutely happy for it to, and have felt like I’d gotten my money’s worth if it had… the night did not end there.

Next up after a very lengthy pause to dismantle Trivium’s Cliffside, Killwitch Engage took to the stage (to the tune of Eye Of The Tiger no less), with Adam D dressed in a singlet and daisy-dukes, pulling body-builder poses on the monitors in strobe lighting.

I had always been a little bit more of a fan of Howard than Jesse, and I remember being cynical when Jesse re-joined the band. Their new album is absolutely corking though, and the live footage I seen online of his return-shows changed all that. Now I was excited to see Jesse.

I. Was. Not. Disappointed.

That dude is a frontman. God DAMN!

His clean singing live is mind-blowing. His Death Growls and his high screams live are so much better than most other bands I’ve seen. His crowd interaction is genuine and his overall performance just screams of someone who really cares.

The rest of the band are all brilliant live, from the extra bass runs, additional pinch harmonics, and better drum fills. Everything has extra energy, its all so big.

Their stage show had a lot more space in it, without the cliff, but they made up for it with a really, really good lightshow and a lot of personal energy and running around. They used the space well.

Hearing things like ‘Fixation On The Darkness’ and ‘My Last Serenade’ live was frigging gigantic. They really put their all into the performances, and the sound was perfect. Some of those riffs were so crushing. When you think of Killswitch you often only conjure up the clean choruses, but man, some of those grooves are just HUGE.

The material from the new album went over really well live too. Really, really well. ‘The Turning Point’ had me screaming at the top of my lungs and I was far from the only one. ‘All In Due Time’ in particular was so, so massive live, really life-affirming. It was tied for best moment of the night with ‘In Waves.’ I can see it staying in their set forever. It’s a bloody fantastic song. Seeing that live made me feel like how it must’ve felt to see ‘This Love’ by Pantera live.

Y’know what else was huge? The sing-alongs on ‘The End Of Heart Ache’ from the crowd were some of the loudest and most passionate I’ve ever heard. It felt like every person in the building was singing along. Plus the band themselves absolutely slayed that song live. Bass, Drums, Guitars, Vocals, everything was absolute perfection.

Its cool they played so much Howard-era stuff live too. I almost expected them to concentrate only on the songs that Jesse had wrote, but they mixed it up well across their whole catalogue. They opened with ‘A Bid Farwell’ and they played ‘This Is Absoltuion,’ ‘Rose Of Sharyn’ (waaay heavier and better live) and even closed the night out with a really energetic version of ‘My Curse.’ Howard’s stuff sounds really well by Jesse. I didn’t think it was possible, but he arguably delivers some of it even better than Howard himself. That’s high praise from me, because I love Howard.

I hope both Trivum and Killswitch film a DVD on this tour, because this was some seriously great stuff.

As an evening, this was a great one. If this bill is playing in your town, get yourself tickets. It is absolutely worth your time and money. I had a fantastic time and the bands (even the ones I didn’t know) all put on a really powerful, solid and entertaining show.

Good stuff. I’m glad I went.

I went to go see Lamb Of God live last night. For the first time since moving to Manchester I had a friend to go to the gig with. Oh wait, second time, the other one was that Korpiklaani gig I spontaneously went to because people I’d been in a band with years ago were going, and all I said to them was one sentence and then never saw them again. This was the first one that I actually cared about beforehand. He talked me into drinking beer. Normally I don’t drink at gigs because I both dislike drinking and don’t want to have to go to the toilet and miss anything.

We thought it was just Lamb Of God and Decapitated on the bill, but when we got there, it turned out someone called Huntress were supporting. I hadn’t actually heard of them before.

First impressions weren’t great, but I’m a diplomatic sort of person and usually find it extremely difficult to call any band bad and usually just feel that art is all subjective and that I’d probably enjoy it with more exposure and if I was in a better mood and all that business.

Huntress’ singer made me dislike her midway through the set when she announced that Lemmy co-wrote a song with them, then when she announced that he called it ‘I Wanna Fuck You To Death’ – she followed it up by saying “he’s so romantic” in a Dani Filth voice, for laughs. It wasn’t funny. She also kept pointing out people in the crowd and dedicating the titular sentence to them. It was shameless. She started doing it to a fifteen year old kid and then told him to call her in a year. Might as well have got her tits out while she was at it. Or at least that was what flashed through my head in a fleeting moment of displeasure.

Then I realized… “don’t hate the playa, hate the game” or whatever. Of course she’d say that. Of course she’d do that. People like that. Some people expect that. Get over it and stop being judgmental. If Jamey Jasta did the same thing with a motivational song title you’d like it.

Anyway, the band’s music wasn’t engrossing. It was Thrash Revival stuff. Sort of more like Evile than Gamma Bomb. More in the Slayer end of Thrash Revival than the Nuclear Assault end. A lot of riffs reminded me of South Of Heaven, Among The Living and Extreme Aggression… except in order to sound similar but not be a cover, they had to be changed slightly, and something of the magic was lost in that changing.

It made another fleeting thought go through my head. Which was “I don’t care if the music industry dies and no new bands get signed. So few bands have anything good to offer.” Furthermore, it made me think “there’s so much music already that I won’t get around to listening to it all by the time I’m dead. I won’t even be able to afford all the good music, so I really don’t need to waste my time with bad music.”

But then I remembered that bands like Tesseract can come out and make new music seem like a good thing. So. I guess I won’t burn down all the recording studios and concert venues just yet.

To be fair to it, there was nothing wrong with Huntress or their music, but I didn’t like it, it didn’t grab me and it was just boring to me, personally. Maybe they should’ve called it “I’m Going To Bore You To Death” – says hypothetical sneery 1990s music journalist. I probably wasn’t in the mood anyway, I was looking resentfully at the crowd who were enthusiastic, happy looking people who were actually having fun. It made me genuinely consider what to write in my suicide note.

I read a Ricky Gervais quote (he probably took it from someone else, like Jesus, or Ghandi to be fair) on facebook earlier that day, that said “Jealously is self-harm.” If that’s the case, I think I was hash-tag-suicide-risk at that gig, because I was harming the fuck out’ve myself with all the jealously I was feeling for these happy seeming people. Why are all these people so easily-made-happy? Why are all these couples here having a good time? Why do people feel ok with being topless in the pit even when they aren’t by-media-standards-attractive? Why can all these people walk around looking like this without fearing for their safety from muggers on the way home? Why can they all drink without feeling shitty about themselves? How comes my eyes have turned green? Why do I have to be such a boring joyless dick?

Oh well, at least this time I had a friend with me to talk to. Any other time I’ve been at a disappointing concert, feeling out of place in a sea of happiness and enthusiasm, all I can do is sit there in silence, like a grumpy out of place lemon.

“What did you think of them?” – Disapproving face – “I thought so too.”
“Looking forward to Decapitated?” – Disapproving face – “I thought not.”

Also, on a separate note. Lamb Of God have the tallest fans. I’ve been to a lot of concerts in Manchester, but I’ve never seen a higher concentration of tall people at one gig. I’m six foot and don’t usually feel short. But I’m not exaggerating when I say I saw at least three people who were pushing eight feet tall and at least thirty who were definitely seven. It wasn’t so noticeable when I came in and the venue hadn’t filled yet, but as more and more people came into the hall, a disproportionately high number of them were unusually tall.

Is that actually worth noticing? Why am I so interested in the crowd anyway? Am I utterly depressed and in need of help, or, were Huntress just boring me to distraction.

We’ll let a panel of Mental Health experts be the judge of that one, but all I’m saying is, I didn’t rush out and buy their album online as soon as I got home, didn’t walk out of there wearing a Huntress t-shirt, and I don’t think if Huntress played on their own I’d jump at the chance to buy tickets to go see them.

Anyway; when they were over, my friend took me to get another beer and it was about twenty minutes until Decapitated came on next. Before they came on, there was a soundcheck in which they played about the first two minutes of Pantera’s ‘Walk’ and even got the crowd to sing along. From where I was at I couldn’t tell if it was the band having fun or roadies taking liberties. When Decapitated started their proper set I didn’t recognize any of their songs (even though I listened to Nihility and Winds Of Plague again around Christmas), the sound wasn’t good either which didn’t help, the material was a bit boring, and I went to the toilet towards the end of their set, I missed “Spheres Of Madness,” which I actually might have enjoyed. See what I mean about not drinking at gigs?

So. Decapitated live. Not much fun to be had there then.

I started to actually feel drunk after only two beers, mostly because I haven’t drank more than ten times in the last four years rather than any actually quality of the unpleasant watery beer. That made me have all sorts of unpleasant nostalgia-style mental flashbacks to all the times I drank and had a bad time, and no memories of fun or anything positive. Once that kicked in it made everything even worse. I was ready to walk home. What a waste of money this night was. I don’t like concerts anymore.

I walked back in. That was a positive step, at least I didn’t go home. Mostly it was because my friend had my coat though. Ok. I’ll sit through this rubbish a bit longer so that I have a coat for the cold January walk home. I was going to stay at the back behind the land of giants and see nothing behind the sea of tall, tall fans since I wouldn’t enjoy myself anyway. My friend eventually found me before Lamb Of God started, and wanted to go closer to the front, so we did. We got all the way up to about three people-from-the-front. What good progress. Sometimes at gigs the competition for space is really unpleasant. Nope. We just strolled on up without upsetting anyone, or getting in anyone’s way or asking anyone to move. That made me feel some positivity at least. The lack of negativity or rudeness made me feel something positive. Also, being able to see the band would at least make it a bit interesting.

I scanned the crowd a couple of thousand more times; that made the glimmer of positivity die. I found myself deciding that not only did I not like concerts any more, or metal fans, but that I was genuinely incapable of ever having fun again. I was completley convinced that I, in fact, had medical anhedonia and was literally unable to feel happiness. I came to a firm and complete conclusion that life was no-longer worth living.

Then Lamb Of God hit the stage. It opened with the drum solo that’s between ‘Straight For The Sun’ and ‘Desolation’ on the Resoltuion album. It sounded good live. It looked good too, with flashing lights and a big Resolution artwork banner behind the kit, and all you could see was Chris until the first riff kicked in. ‘Desolation’ and ‘Ghost Walking’ were played pretty early on. Bouncy, big, and what’s this? Fun! Holy shit, I’m actually having fun. I didn’t think that it was a medical possibility.

They dropped ‘Walk With Me In Hell’ ‘Laid To Rest’ ‘Now You’ve Got Something To Die For’ and I was actually singing along. Me. I could barely believe it.

When they played ‘Vigil’ and ‘Omerta’ I was actually jumping around, I actually did raise my hands/fists/horns whenever they asked, probably the first time since moving to England. I was actually getting into it.

When ‘Ruin’ came on, I sang every word. Every one. I was properly into it for the first time in what feels like forever.

When I had went to see The Fratellis live before Christmas, some punk-ass fifteen year old girl took exception to the fact that I was just stood there with my arms folded watching the band, and started mocking me for being ‘no fun.’ If only she could see me now.

There were a few interesting things during the bulk of the concert worth pointing out too. Randy had a joke about the Smiths and fake-dedicated a song to Morrisy. Mark Morten was off for family reasons and Between The Buried And Me’s guitarist filled in. Randy had grown a beard and looked like the villain from a crime movie. They played ‘Undertow’ off of Resolution, which I never thought was a noteworthy song before, and it absolutely smashed live. It got a really good audience response too. I think that’ll stay in the set even when new albums come out. Chris broke a drum before ‘Omerta’ and had to replace it. Willy shouted the ‘woo’ during ‘Black Label’ like he did on the live Download Festival DVD. I didn’t realize that was a tradition, I just assumed it was a one off on the night of filming. When Randy was doing the traditional make-the-audience-appreciate-the-support-bands bit that a headliner always says, Decapitated got a gigantic cheer (like, a distinctly bigger cheer than any band I’ve heard in the last two years in the same scenario…including Orange Goblin and Napalm Death).

I was pretty transfixed on Campbell for a lot of the night. I had been listening to a lot of the Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave podcast this week, and in my mind Campbell was (pod host) Brian Johnson. Why on earth was Brian Johnson playing bass for Lamb Of God?

They ended the night with ‘Redneck’ and ‘Black Label’ as you would expect (Since I became a fan of the band, which is only about five years ago now, I always thought they should swap that around now. I know ending with ‘Black Label’ is tradition, since it was the most fun song off their first album, but ‘Redneck’ is way more popular, way easier to sing along to and would make a way better ending).

Anyway, when they Played ‘Redneck’ live, it was incredible. The feeling I got during ‘Redneck’ was even better than with ‘Ruin.’ I felt like somebody give me a shot of pure concentrated happiness. I’d been in a terrible mood all week, flickering in and out of one all month and ‘Redneck’ cleared it away.

They should use ‘Redneck’ as a medical treatment. People should be given Lamb Of God tickets by the government to increase productivity and reduce depression in the population. I sang along to every single word, jumped about and had genuine actual fun. I was in a very good mood.

Then ‘Black Label’ came on.

Then it was over. My friend even caught one of the plectrums that they threw into the crowd at the end. One had hit me, and got caught between my arm and chest, but when I moved to get it, it feel to the ground and some teenager picked it up. Fair dos, the one that had hit me was from the Between The Buried And Me guy anyway, and I don’t play the guitar, so I wasn’t particularly interested. Makes sense that someone enthusiastic get the souvenir. (Had it have been a drumstick, I wonder whether I’d have tried to keep it. I honestly don’t know.)

I walked home without incident. No weird students proposed odd philosophical points to me, no clearly-not-homeless chancers tried to get money off me, no elderly men stopped me for a cigarette and found the idea that someone ‘doesn’t smoke’ to be the most ludicrous notion they’ve ever heard, no streakers got arrested by the police in front of a crowd of Rugby lads dressed as giant vegetables (which happened when I went to see Down live at this same venue, about a year and a half ago), or anything else like that as would usually happen on the way back from the gigs I’ve been to in Manchester.

Overall; It had a shaky start, but it actually turned out to be a worthwhile evening. Lamb Of God themselves had a great performance, a great setlist, good sound and the audience loved them. I loved them. I had a good time. It made me happy.

I even woke up this morning with a big grin on my face. I think I’m going to go and stick ‘Redneck’ on the stereo. G’bye.