Monday, 31 December 2007

A Few More Dates

As we are in that strange limbo between Xmas and New year and there aren't really any decent gigs on anywhere, I just thought that I'd add to Ste's last post there about tentative dates on the coming 2008 tour by adding a few of my own:

  • Wednesday 30th Jan - Baroness, Kylesa and Bastard Of The Skies @ The Star & Garter, Manchester.
  • Wednesday 6th February - Polysics, Cutting With Pink Knives (+1 more tbc) at an unconfirmed venue in Manchester.

Friday, 28 December 2007

Claw Tour 2008

We've already got some dates (preliminary) for the 2008 tour itinerary. List to be updated whenever I discover something new:

Last updated April 27th 2008

12th Jan: Orange Goblin (Liverpool)
19th Jan: The Almighty (Manchester)
29th Jan: Henry Rollins (Manchester, spoken word)
30th Jan: Kylesa / Baroness (Manchester)
7th Feb: Earth & Sir Richard Bishop (Manchester)
8th Feb: Brutal Truth (Sheffield)
14th Feb: Iron Maiden (Yokohama)
15th Feb: Iron Maiden (Chiba City, Tokyo)
26th Feb: Mayhem (Birmingham Barfly)
16th March: Gallhammer (Liverpool)
20th March: Weedeater (Manchester)
9th April: Portishead (Manchester)
17th April - 20th April: Roadburn Festival (Tilburg)
21st April: Boris (Manchester)
24th April: Suffocation (Manchester)

8th May: Gloomy Sunday (Manchester)
10th May: Heavyfest All-dayer (Bradford)
11th May: Genghis Tron (Leeds)
13th May: Shit & Shine (Brudenell Social Club, Leeds)
17th May: Charger, Mountains Became Machines, Krupskaya (Stoke)
21st May: Today Is The Day (Birmingham)
27th May: Dio (Birmingham)
29th May: Ministry (Manchester)
22nd June: Melt Banana (Birmingham)
5th July: Iron Maiden (Twickenham)
11th - 13th July: Supersonic (Birmingham)
12th July: Doom Metal Inquisition (Bradford)
15th July: Whitesnake & Def Leppard (Liverpool Arena)
18th October: Queen & Paul Rodgers (Liverpool Arena)

No date yet but on the list: Southern Lord's ASVA are touring the UK in June or July. Let's hope dates don't clash with anything already on the list.

Also on the list is a trip to Holland for the 2008 Roadburn Festival to see Trouble, Celtic Frost and Boris play, although not all at the same time. Which is a shame.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Thanks, Mieszko.

Has it really been three years?
I will not give up until
The truth's nailed to the wall
The lies won't serve our purpose
In corruption lies our fall

The overmind is dying
Its eyes can't see us all
But I'll be here when you are gone
I'll make it through the storm...

Mieszko Talarczyk
December 23, 1974 - December 26, 2004

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

That was the year that was.

So, the year is nearly over, and there isn't a gig in the last week of the year for us to attend, and now it's over I sort of look back on the "tour" with a sense of wonder.
Wonder that we didn't get killed or arrested.
Gigs that we attended this year, in reverse order (oh, and this isn't split 50-50 or anything, we did it all together):

  • 12th December - Pelican, High on Fire - Whelan's, Dublin (ROI)
  • 11th December - Earth, sunnO))), boris, Altar - Kentish Town Forum, London (UK)
  • 4th December - Witchcraft, Gentlemens Pistols, Winters - Fenton, Leeds (UK)
  • 18th November - Cold Ones, Bow and Arrow, Gentlemans Pistols - Korova, Liverpool (UK)
  • 17th November - jesu - Cockpit, Leeds (UK)
  • 9th November - Iced Earth, Heaven and Hell - MEN Arena, Manchester (UK)
  • 31st October - Thumper - Hotel California, Birkenhead (UK)
  • 30th October - W.A.S.P. - Cavern, Liverpool (UK)
  • 26th October - Warning, Against Nature, Unsilence, The River - S & G, Manchester (UK)
  • 20th October - Damnation Festival - ULU, Leeds (UK)
  • 12th October - Gorilla Biscuits - Academy, Manchester (UK)
  • 10th October - Narcosis, Marco Tomasi, A.P.A.T.T. - Roadkill, Liverpool (UK)
  • 5th October - Pagan Altar, The Lamp of Thoth - The Fenton, Leeds (UK)
  • 29th September - Misfits - Academy, Manchester (UK)
  • 19th September - Ramesses, Unearthly Trance, Stuntcock - Star and Garter, Manchester (UK)
  • 10th September - Send More Paramedics - Barfly, Liverpool (UK)
  • 3rd September - High on Fire, Hordes of Satan, The Freezing Fog - Jabez Clegg, Manchester (UK)
  • 30th July - Thumper - Barfly, Liverpool (UK)
  • 14th July - Supersonic Festival - Custard Factory, Birmingham (UK)
  • 8th July - Metallica, Mastodon - Wembley Stadium, London (UK)
  • 7th July - Napalm Death, Impaled - Academy, Manchester (UK)
  • 27th June - Boris, Day for Airstrikes - Sacred Trinity Church, Manchester (UK)
  • 24th June - Iron Maiden - Brixton Academy, London (UK)
  • 23rd June - The Who - Knowsley Hall, Knowsley (UK)
  • 18th June - SunnO))), Chrome Hoof - Queen Elizabeth Hall, London (UK)
  • 17th June - Fisted Sister - Bath Springs, Prescot (UK)
  • 10th June - The Great Donington Bunk-in - Donington Park, Derby (UK)
  • 4th June - Capricorns, Lair of the Minatour - Star and Garter, Manchester (UK)
  • 29th May - Trouble - Rios, Leeds (UK)
  • 22nd April - SunnO))), Bohren und der Club of Gore -013, Tilburg (NED)
  • 15th April - Annihilator - University, Liverpool (UK)
  • 12th April - WASP, Suspiria, Under God Fury - Carling Academy, Liverpool (UK)
  • 8th April - Thumper - The Vic, Widnes (UK)
  • 30th March - Thumper, Ornament - Roadkill, Liverpool (UK)
  • 18th March - SunnO))) - Bergen Cathedral, Bergen (NO)
  • 14th March - Celtic Frost, Kreator* - Bradford (UK)
  • 6th Feb - Brutal Truth, Total Fucking Destruction, Narcosis - Music Box, Manchester (UK)
  • 5th Feb - Brutal Truth, Total Fucking Destruction, Narcosis - Voodoo Lounge, Dublin (ROI)
  • 16th Jan - Atavist, Winters in Osaka - Bar Fresa, Liverpool (UK)

It's been a mad, crazy, sweaty and sometimes frantic year (dashes to the airport, hiding in hotels) but I wouldn't have changed it for anything in the world.

We got to see some amazing, one-off shows, some humdrum ones, travelled to some amazing cities and made some good friends. I can only speak for myself (I'm sure Ste will have something to say about it himself) but it's changed not only the way I think about gigs and music, but the way I see myself as a person. The plan now is to get all the reviews off our seperate blogs and get them on here to give some sort of background to what I hope to be as eventful a year on tour in 2008 as it was in 2007.

I can't wait.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Lamp Of Thoth (Band) - Lamp Of Thoth (Song)

This video is from when we went to Leeds (5th October 2007) to watch the legendary Pagan Altar's 1st gig in 25 years. Lamp Of Thoth were the only other band who played on the night and - maaaaan - they were awesome.

I hope we get to catch more of the Cauldron Of True Witchery again sometime during 2008.

This Week's Playlist (Ste)

Albums currently gracing my ipod nano:

Abigail (King Diamond)
Advance And Vanquish (3 Inches Of Blood)
Altar (Sunn & Boris)
Cold Lake (Celtic Frost)
Flood (Boris)
God Luck And Good Speed (Weedeater)
Heavier Than Thou (Saint Vitus)
Painkiller (Judas Priest)
Rock Dream - Disc 2 (Boris & Merzbow)
Snail On A Razor (Hototogisu & Prurient)

Check out that last one , it's completely off it's head.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

New Arrival

This actually arrived the day that I came home from Dublin, but like I say, I've been mad busy.

Ste pulled up outside my parent's and as I was getting out of the car I spotted the postman on the other side of the road.

"I bet you he's got some vinyl in his bag for me" I said to Ste.

"Does he go from side to side or something?" Ste said.

Sure enough, he came over to me - "Are you going to number 76?" he asked.

I love the fact that he delivers that much vinyl to me dear old mum that he knew it was mine straight away, the first time he'd seen me.

Monday, 17 December 2007

This Week's Playlist (Patchie)

Antisect - In Darkness There Is No Choice
Killing Joke - What This For...!
Darkthrone - F.O.A.D.
Hordes of Satan - Hordes of Satan
Pitch Shifter - Industrial
Depressor - Collection
Dead On - Dead On
Kong - MutePoetVocaliser
Kong - Phlegm

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Earth, Boris, SunnO))), London 11th December 2007

I suppose the tale starts here. I was in work on Sunday, not really paying any attention at all to what I was doing, and suddenly six o'clock rolled around and I was out the door like a shot, and went straight up to my parent's house in Halewood, as this is closer to Ste's and is therefore better for both of us.

Ste knocked off work and we went out into Woolton for "a quiet pint"... we all know how that dance goes, as we've all danced it before. The last thing I remember about Sunday night is drinking sake in Ste's living room and then knocking all kinds of stuff over in the kitchen trying to make a cup of tea.

The first day of travelling starts off the way that all mine and Ste's trips away this year have done; with Ste slapping me around the face saying "Patchie! Get up you lazy twat we're late!" and late we were. The coach I'd booked (the luxury, leather seated behemoth with a half hour break in Birmingham for a smoke and a leg stretch) had left ages ago. I knew that sake was a bad idea, but it seemed like a good one at the time. Cut a long story short, they charged us extra (on top of the extra we'd paid for the luxury coach) to travel on a shitty one all the way there with no break. I got my own back by booting a cup of tea over in the aisle though. Cunts.
Anyway, arriving in London, there's been a car crash in Golder's Green and the scuffers have closed off the road. Deciding that ditching the coach here, and leaving my mobile phone on it, then making our own way to the meet-up would be a good idea, we do just that.
Four hours later, we have walked all the way from Golders Green to Camden.
We walked for four hours. Still, we saw some cool stuff. I can't remember what most of it was, but we must have done because we weren't killing each other by the time we arrived at the World's end in Camden. Crossing the road outside the venue, we bumped into Tom (who he hadn't seen since the Supersonic festival in Brum this summer) and his mate, and off we headed for a pint. I popped outside for a smoke, and look up to see a guy with a long beard squinting at me. It was a friend of ours, Radokaz from Slovenia who we met in Norway earlier this year. So we go back inside to catch up and drink some more, and then Jonas appears from nowhere. Well, from Stockholm actually, but you get the drift. This is weird, it's the five of us who hung out together in Norway for the sunn gig in Bergen all drinking together in London for the sunn gig there. Anyway, we go downstairs to meet people from the messageboards we all use on the internet, then it's more fucking walking to get to the venue.
Earth are on stage first, they play well and sound great, but I'm not really that big a fan of their newer, epic-country-and-western-soundtrack style. Give me Phase 3 or Extra-Capsular Extraction any day. Now it gets a bit mad, as far as I was aware this show was something along the lines of sunn and boris present Altar; with special guests Earth. Now to me, that implies that Earth are the support band, and that sunn and Boris will then come out together to play their Altar album together, right?

Wrong.Boris come out and play a set that is basically their Flood album. Boris live are amazing, this is my third time of seeing them, and I am absolutely convinced watching them that I am witnessing the kind of thing people who saw Pink Floyd in 1971 got to see, proper out-there one of a kind type music being played by great musicians. Half way through their set I start to get excited because this must mean we are going to get to see a full sunn set too. So Boris finish, the crowd are happy with the set and the roadies clear the stage, setting up sunn's backline.

We had heard from friends who had played at and had been in attendance at the previous day's ATP festival in Minehead that sunn members had a fight on stage, so we were just wondering exactly what was going to happen tonight. Smoke fills the stage and one by one the members of tonight's lineup come out on stage. And then, mine and Ste's favourite Hungarian comes out, Atilla Csihar. And he is in the biggest mind-fuck of a costume ever, like the king of the evil forest or something, and I am so glad that I haven't taken any drugs. No picture can do it justice, but I'll have a go:
The set is awesome, this is the fourth time we've seen them this year (and sixth overall) and I must say that their live performances keep getting better and better, especially the theatrical elements of it all. Wave after wave of drone with the bass making your chest vibrate, and banks of fog with Atilla swaying inside them, can't be beat. It seems a pretty short set though by the standards I'm used to from sunn, but I suppose the main event is yet to come.
(and no, they didn't have any on-stage fisticuffs)
The stage is again, swathed in smoke, and bathed in red lights, and sunn, boris and Jesse Sykes come out and play The Sinking Belle. Jesse's vocals are absolutely haunting, Ste shot a video of it that he posted on youtube and it's since made it's way onto Stephen O'Malley's personal blog.
They don't play all of Altar, but Atsuo's drumming on Etna and for most of the show are astounding, he bashes the shite out of the gong so much that roadies have to come and hold it steady; then he crawl over his drumkit and falls backwards into the crowd, getting passed to the back of the hall then back up onto the stage again. Total class, we left feeling happy that we'd travelled all the way to London (again) to see a gig (again).
Afterwards, we walked to a hostel and sneaked in, staying in the warm TV room until we could leave for the second part of the adventure at 4am.....
After a night of squatting, we left the Hostel quietly at 4am and walked, GPS system in hand, to the train station. It's 70 minutes and £12 each to Gatwick on the train that will get us there in time to check in and leave the country, the 4.45am. Neither of us have had so much as a wink of sleep since those few alcohol addled hours on sunday night, and to say that the journey to the airport was one of the trippiest times of my life would be an understatement. Luckily, the gods are smiling at us and at no point does anybody approach us with a demand that we buy a ticket or pay the £25 each penalty fare. Result, a warm hostel for nothing and a free ride across the city to the airport.
I slept in various places of differing levels of comfort, and we arrived in our hostel in Dublin around 1.45pm, checked in, went on the internet for a bit, then slept til teatime. Bliss.
We'd made plans to return to Eamonn Doran's, the scene of many a drunken jukebox-and-guiness-fueled Dublin night out for me and Ste, but the need for sleep and the subsequent need to eat from Subway took over I'm afraid, next time then. We made our way to the venue, Whelan's, and proceeded to get stuck with some guy from New York who was convinced we were Scottish. Anyway, we thought we were in the venue, but we were actually in the bar next door. When we got to the venue it was absolutely packed, seems that Pelican and High on Fire are quite a crowd puller over here.
I used to be a massive Pelican fan, right up until they released City of Echoes and then I sort of went off them for a bit. Watching them in Whelan's had me kicking myself; live, they are absolutely amazing. If you have never heard Pelican before, they fall into that instrumental, post-rock type category, but they are heavy live, exactly what it is that makes them heavy is difficult to put your finger on though. Sort of like Capricorns with less Motorhead influence.
High on Fire are brilliant. Last time (the first time) I had seen them in Manchester, I had literally just stepped off a plane from Las Vegas and had a week's worth of Jetlag catching up on me, and to be honest, I couldn't tell you a single thing about that gig except that I was there. At least, parts of me were. In Dublin though, they are rocking. We met a Ducth girl called Matilda who's friend had brought her along on the premise that High on Fire sound like a mix of Black Sabbath and Motorhead. She is bored by the band so we buy her a drink. Meanwhile, the crowd are going ballistic to High on Fire, and their scuzzy, fuzzy metal goes down a storm.
We leave, boozed up, to eat at a 50's style american diner. Staffed by Mexicans  In Ireland. Three hours later we are back up and on a plane to merry old England.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

The Sinking Belle

Sunn & Boris (Featuring Jesse Sykes on vocals) - "The Sinking Belle"

Recorded live at The Forum, London on December 10th 2007.

Passing by
Rose and emeralds
In silence I
Stand alone

And out of you
Grey birds fly
The gravel path
You qualified
Pretended to
Favor few
The walls are fine (?)
In hollow time

The shape I'm in
Oh she knows so well
My hearts become
Her sinking belle

The sinking belle
Oh the sinking belle
I'm worried now
You're worried now

The sinking belle
Oh the sinking belle
You're worried now
You're worried now

We're smaller than
We used to be
What came from you
Is now inside of me

Don't ask me why
Oh, don't ask me why
All my life,
All my life
Wear in black and white

The sinking belle
Oh the sinking belle
I'm worried now
You're worried now

The sinking belle
The sinking belle
I'm worried now
You're worried now

The sinking belle
Oh the sinking belle
You're worried now
You're worried now

More info here.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Gentlemans Pistols, Korova, 18th Nov 2007

This Claw tour thing that's been going on throughout 2007 has been lots of fun and it's taken me all over Europe but lately I've started to notice that it's beginning to lose momentum. It's been over 6 months now since we last went out of the country for a gig. As well as that, we've noticed that the gigs have started getting bigger & bigger, almost as though we have to somehow top the previous one in order for the tour to progress. Which is, of course, nonsense.

Last night was a case in point - Alice Cooper and Motörhead were playing in Manchester and I really wanted to go along. But it was at the MEN arena and at £37 a ticket too... add on top of that money for petrol, merchandise and other stuff, it was all pointing to being quite an expensive Sunday night out. So that gig was abandoned.

Then, at the last minute, we ended up going along to a different gig, a sort of replacement or filler concert to make up for missing out on seeing The Head and Coop. Me and Patchie went along to a night at the Korova bar in Liverpool city centre to watch a set by a band called Gentlemans Pistols who are from Leeds. And coincidentally enough we were in Leeds one night earlier, to see Jesu at the Cockpit.

If you have never been to Korova, it's a bar in Liverpool situated near a place called Concert Square. The gig was held downstairs in a kind of cellar area that has been modified to resemble a stage. I have been there once before when I was out on a date - last time we walked into Korova and wandered down to the basement, completely unaware, only to find a band starting their set. For the gig tonight the whole of the stage was lit up with red light from all angles. I'll try to get a photo of the stage for you to see, it was mad.

A side note about the gig at the Korova - I saw a particular lad in there that I haven't seen for about 3 years. Last time I saw him isn't a very pleasant memory, it was an incident that ended up getting very messy and landed me in court. Seeing him again last night was something and it was nothing at the same time... sooner or later it's bound to happen that you run into people who you haven't seen in a while. The 2nd band of the night were playing and I happened to turn, clocked him out of the corner of my eye and quickly realised who it was, but I couldn't bring myself to turn around and say hello. I have got nothing against the guy in question, it just made me feel very awkward seeing him all of a sudden! Obviously something is still going on in my head that I haven't fully resolved yet. Anyway, these things happen. This is something for another time perhaps. Back to the gig.

The bands: 4 bands played at this gig, each of them was completely different from the next. The first band up were called The Cold Ones, they were a punk rock band, kind of like Black Flag. The second band on were called Wolf Cry Wolf - we never watched much of their set to be honest (Patchie needed a ciggy break and I needed a walk & a think). They came across as kind of emo (maybe that was just the vocals though), loud guitars, lots of tempo changes. The 3rd band on were a band called Bow & Arrow - I liked them a lot. Big swirly riffs and lots of drums.

Gentlemans Pistols are a rock band from Leeds. Simple as that. They all have big beards and dress like they're from the 70s. When they came on stage and started playing it sounded a bit like a Zeppelin cover band to me, they even have a song called Heavy Petting which is an almost riff-for-riff rip-off of Led Zeppelin's Dazed & Confused. Which is a good thing by the way! Gentlemans Pistols are due to support the band Witchcraft when they play Leeds in a few weeks (on December 4th) and it's presently 2 or 3 gigs along on the Claw Tour's itinerary list. It was good to see a bit of them in Liverpool, it was like a taster for the Witchcraft gig.

  • Saturday, 10 November 2007

    Heaven & Hell @ M.E.N. Arena, Manchester

    THEE CLAW went along to the M.E.N. in Manchester last night to see HEAVEN & HELL. As usual we got wrecked and had a ball. Sabbath with Dio on vocals was pretty sweet - we got pretty close to the front of the crowd when the main act came on, we were stood over on Tony Iommi's side of the stage, not 10 feet away from him. At the end of the gig he threw a handful of picks into the crowd, I got one. Go me!

    DIO rules. What a guy he is. His vocals are sharp, crystal sharp. After the show we went along to a rock night in JILLYS in Manchester city centre and the DJ played the song "Heaven & Hell" for us... the whole room of 100 or so people must have been along to the show to see Sabbath play because when it came to the chorus everybody joined in with the singing.

    ICED EARTH and LAMB OF GOD were support acts for H&H on this tour. I enjoyed the Iced Earth set, Ripper Holmes' sounded great. I wasn't too taken with the Lamb Of God singer, he kept asking the Manchester crowd to start circle pits and stuff like that. Sorry my friend, it doesn't work like that around these parts. Plus the crowd was mainly made up of people's dads who had come out to see Sabbath, I don't think that many 50-year-old men have much interest in circle pitting.

    Heaven & Hell setlist (guessing):

    1. "E5150"
    2. "The Mob Rules"
    3. "Children of the Sea"
    4. "Lady Evil"
    5. "The Sign Of the Southern Cross"
    6. "Voodoo"
    7. "The Devil Cried"
    8. "Computer God"
    9. "Falling Off the Edge of the World"
    10. "Shadow of the Wind"
    11. "Die Young"
    12. "Heaven and Hell"
    13. "Neon Knights"

    Dunno if we'll ever get another chance to see these guys together as a group again but it was so good to be able to grab this opportunity to go along and watch them while we could! A five star performance, this was definitely one of my gigs of thee year.

    Wednesday, 31 October 2007

    WASP @ The Cavern Club, Liverpool

    Last night Thee Claw Boys went along to see WASP play a gig at "the legendary" Cavern club. You know, the "famous" Cavern Club where The Beatles played when they were still relative unknowns? Well, that's where I'm talking about anyways. I had a great time, in spite of the fact that you could see that WASP were only going through the motions.

    After the gig finished we went out on the town for a few more pints and somehow found another gig in a place down the road (in the basement of a pub called Flanagans). It was 3 old guys were singing traditional Irish songs. I say "old", they were probably only in their 50s and Blackie Lawless (the singer in WASP) is about the same age. Next we carried on up the road, we went to a place called Yates's that was full of scallies and H nearly had a scrap while I got up on stage to sing La Bamba on the karaoke. I think that we ended up in a pizza shop at 2 o'clock in the morning, blind drunk.

    As for the WASP gig, they mainly played a set comprising of songs taken from "The Crimson Idol" album, which is now 15 years old. I dunno exactly why they need to celebrate an album's 15th anniversary, but they played the whole album from start to finish. The thing about The Crimson Idol is that it was a concept album and almost every other song taken from it includes a verse that goes "Where is the love to shelter me / Give me love, love set me free". During the night Blackie must have sung that line about 50 times. WASP are only 5 dates into a 50 date European tour and every night he'll have to sing that same line over and over and over. Half way through the set Blackie Lawless announced that they most likely won't ever be doing another European tour after the current one ends... by the time they get to the last gig in the tour I bet they'll be completely sick of singing that line!

    A small moan about the merch at WASP gigs.. I've been to see them twice this year and both times I have had a run-in with the same guy on the merchandise stand. Last night he told me off for standing on a step to take a photo of the band on stage. I told him in no uncertain terms that I disagreed with his authority in the matter and that he should behave himself.

    Also, Blackie Lawless was wearing knee-high, high-heel black leather boots on stage. I don't know whether that is completely awesome or completely cheesy. Either way they were certainly rock n roll and very comment worthy.

    Saturday, 13 October 2007

    Gorilla Biscuits @ Manchester Academy

    The Gorilla Biscuits reunion show in Manchester tonight was something else. Every song was sung with passion and it was easy to see that Civ meant every word of the lyrics as he sung them. It fact, the whole band looked as though they were having a great time up there on the stage. Easily one of the best gigs I've been to in 2007.

    Note: Support on this night was from Honour Among Thieves and Blueprint For A Downfall.

    Thursday, 11 October 2007

    Narcosis @ Liverpool Roadkill

    NOTE: This turned out to be Narcosis's last ever gig.


    Great gig tonight. This was the 3rd time that we've seen Narcosis play in 2007 and the first time that I've had a chance to watch how they all perform together as a group. They are so tight as a unit, that is to say, amazing timing from each of the guitarist and the drummer combined. It's almost military how they are able to keep together for songs that seem to be performed in suites; they play about 5 or 6 songs in a row at breakneck pace before having a minute or so to get ready for the next medley. They play at such a blistering speed for most of the set and yet it still doesn't sound like a jumbled mess of guitars being simply mangled at high volume.

    Also this evening I picked up a copy of the Narcosis "Romances" LP on vinyl from the merchandise table whilst at their gig. £8. And (from the very same merch table) a copy of Bitches Brew by the saintly Mr Miles Davis... on double CD... for a paltry £5.

    The person who was running the merchandise at tonight's gig was a very pretty slightly built girl, short blonde hair in a bobcut, black tights, blue denim shorts and a small black tank top. She was sat on her own while looking after the merchandise when I saw her and she could have easily been dismissed as the girlfriend of one of the guys in one of the bands. Turns out she was the singer in tonight's gig support act, a kind of emo grindcore band called Rolo Tomassi. They'll probably protest about the emo tag though! When it was their turn on stage most of the blokes in the audience quite noticeably turned towards where she was stood to get a good look at her. When she announced the name of the song that they were about to play she sounded very girly. But you should have heard the noise out of her when it was there turn on stage!! She was screaming and shouting like a demented lunatic for about 20 minutes. And then, after they had complete their set, she went back over to the merch table and sat there, looking all diminutive again.

    Rolo Tomassi weren't my kind of thing though. They did give a good performance though, at least they did do before we went across to the pub next door for a quick pint about half way through their set. (I will pay more attention next time I see them play, promise!)

    Sunday, 30 September 2007

    Misfits @ Manchester Academy - 29 Sept 2007

    Went to Manchester last night to see The Misfits.

    I have never seen the 'fits before, although they are one of the 1st bands that I got into as a teen. I was a Queen fan from about the age of 11 or 12, then got into loads of different rock and metal (and other dubious stuff that I prefer not to mention right now) and then finally got into The Misfits when I was about 17 (I'm 33 now). I remember finding out about them quite by accident and all on my own - nobody else that I hung round with was into them, and that was kind of part of what made them so cool. Being into The misfits on your own pretty much makes you a misfit, that's what I liked about them.

    Tonight's gig was filled to the brim with people of all ages and walks of life, all brought together under one roof through their love for this band. Unfortunately though, today's Misfits are not the same band that I got into all that time ago - it's almost as though the current incarnation is a manufactured money making version of them; a product that has been put together especially to sell t-shirts, toys and other "scarified" accessories (at inflated prices) with the Misfits logo plastered all over them. Let's be quite clear, this is not the same band that I remember. But they did play a lot of the old songs, and they played them very, very well.

    I can't remember even half of tonight's setlist but it started off like something from a teenage dream: all of the stuff that I used to listen to on a walkman on a constant loop, all played flawlessly with precision and in the horrified Misfits style. They played it all so fast and with hardly and gaps between the songs too, it was song after song of my boyhood favourites. Halloween, I Turned Into A Martian, Astro Zombies, Vampira, Ghoul's Night Out, Green Hell, Some Kinda Hate, Skulls... all the old horror punk classics. They even threw in a couple of Black Flag songs too.

    The Manchester crowd was pretty up for it too, there was a decent pit and I made sure to be right there in the thick of it, screaming out the lyrics at the top of my lungs. I noticed, as soon as a song would start the pit would go berserk for about 30 seconds, then it would suddenly start slowing down - all the young lads weren't able to keep the momentum going and all the older guys didn't have the stamina and were out of breath after too long. But since Misfits songs are only about 90 seconds long anyway, it didn't really matter! Every 2 minutes another song popped up and the pit whirred back into a frenzy for a short burst before changing down a few gears ready for the next tune to kick in. All the while there was me, running around like a sweaty bald lunatic, hugging punks and screaming about zombies and aliens. Awesome stuff.

    Then, half way through the set, the band stopped playing the old stuff and started playing the new Misfits material.

    Let me take a moment to explain about the "new stuff". You see, The Misfits originally got together in 1977 and split up on Halloween of 1983, that was the end of the classic line up. But in 1997 "The Misfits" released a new album, written by a new line-up of band members. Only the bass player from the original line up is now in the band and he never wrote any of the classic songs. Now - I have never seen the "new" Misfits as being authentic, to me they're a very good cover band, but nothing more. I've never listened to the new material in anything more than a passing way, never wanted to listen to it either. It's quite embarrassing, quite frankly. If you ask me that is - others would contest my opinion on that.

    I appreciate that, in their new incarnation, The Misfits are now more popular than ever (not always a good thing) and the new material has helped to revive them and as a result they have toured and release new material every few years. What we have now is what I would call "The New Misfits", a merchandising product. The band I saw tonight have nothing new to offer, they're a nostalgia act raking in money playing songs from a long-dead punk band. This is the main reason that I have never been to see them live before tonight, the new line-up has always been a bit of a joke band to me. But then, I am biased because I had such a good time listening to The Misfits when I was as a kid.

    The second half of tonight's show, for me, was a case of standing at the side and watching a tribute band play songs inspired by a classic punk rock act. Nothing more than that. I also was quite bemused with the antics out of the pit when the new material was played! They mainly ran about slapping each other, or danced on the spot in an "epileptic fit" kind of way. I can't rightly say what the pit looked like for the 1st half of the show (because I was in it), but I certainly hope it didn't look like the mass of epileptic seizures that I witnessed during the 2nd half of the set. It was like watching people trying to create a pit atmosphere, but had no idea on how to achieve it. Maybe it was all of the "new" Misfits fans trying their best to "mosh" or soemthing; a lot of the "old" Misfits fans had walked to the sides of the hall during the new songs. It was a huge pit though, even bigger for the newer songs than the old ones! Not knowing (or enjoying watching) any of the new songs being performed kinda sucked the wind out of my proverbial sails and I couldn't get back into the swing of things when they played a few more of the old tunes for an encore. They played We Are 138 as an encore too - my favourite 'fits tune.

    All in all I really enjoyed seeing the Misfits at long last, although it would have been a much better show (in my opinion) if they'd just stuck with the original material and not bothered with any of the "new" stuff. But then, I suppose they aren't gigging for the sake of it and those lunch boxes won't sell themselves now will they. Also you could see that fans of the new Misfits material really did seem to love all that new stuff, in their emo kind of way. Bring your brain medicine with you next time lads.

    (PS - I think that I did quite well writing all of that out without mentioning Danzig even once. Until now.)

    Wednesday, 19 September 2007

    Ramesses / Unearthly Trance

    Another gig tonight, number 25 of the year for me, this time it was at the Star & Garter pub in Manchester (right next to Piccadilly train station). The first time I went to the S&G was to see Jesu when they played on 6/6/6, that was a great night of music too. Star & Garter has one of the loudest sound systems I've ever heard - I am presently sat here writing this, half deaf, thanks to the sheer volume of it in fact.

    I really enjoyed tonight's gig. I'd never seen either Ramesses or Unearthly Trance before this show, both of them are three-piece bands with doom elements to their music. I especially enjoyed Ramesses, their set tonight was very tight, slow and heavy. Unearthly Trance were a surprise to me, all of the band members look more like they could be from a hardcore punk band rather than a doom / black metal band. Plus they are from Brooklyn in New York, not so well known for black metal! Their set was all good stuff, they even stayed on for an encore and played an 11 minute track to finish off the evening.

    Monday, 9 July 2007

    This Weekend's Pics, No Order

    Dunno if you have already worked it out but I love gigs, me.

    I'd add more but I'll be late for work!!

    Driving Into Wembley

    Here's a video of us going into the car park at Wembley Stadium, shortly before the Metallica gig yesterday.

    It makes me laugh watching this again.


    Another day, another gig... this time we got to visit Wembley Stadium in London to see some band called METALLICA.

    So we went to Wembley stadium yesterday morning, set off from Liverpool at about 8am and arrived in London for about half 11. Not bad timing. The Metallica gig was great, excellent weather throughout the day a good line-up too, and as a bonus we got to see the new Wembley Stadium as well. What a place that is.

    Support on this day was from HIM, Machine Head and Mastodon. I wasn't there to see any of them so I didn't pay that much attention, sorry. I took a look at MASTODON though, they were pretty good. They played a set at Donington earlier this year (when me and PATCHIE sneaked in there without tickets) but we turned up late and only caught the back end of their set. So it was good to finally see them properly. I used to be into MACHINE HEAD when I was a lad, but I guess my musical tastes have changed somewhat in the meantime. I am not a big fan of American frontmen shouting "LET ME HEAR YA!" every 5 minutes during a gig, so Rob Flinn definitely wasn't my cup of tea.

    Metallica's setlist (at a guess):

    Creeping Death
    For Whom The Bell Tolls
    Kirk Solo #1
    Sad But True
    Disposable Heroes
    Kirk Solo #2
    The Unforgiven
    And Justice for All
    The Memory Remains
    The Four Horsemen
    Rob Solo
    Orion - Whoa!!!!
    Fade To Black
    Master Of Puppets
    Kirk Solo #3
    No Leaf Clover
    Nothing Else Matters
    Enter Sandman
    Seek and Destroy

    Apologies to PATCHIE and SKUM for nearly falling asleep at the wheel and killing us all on the M6 during the drive home. I don't mind doing that kind of stuff when I am driving on my own because at least then it's only me and my life that gets disrupted. It's a different matter when there's other people in the car and I start tripping balls from lack of sleep. Sorry guys.

    Tuesday, 26 June 2007

    Boris @ Sacred Trinity Church, Manchester, 26th June 2007

    Tue 26 Jun – BORIS
    Tonight's gig - Japanese rockers Boris playing in a small church in Manchester.

    Very unusual gig! Well, unusual compared with most other concerts I guess; I have heard of, and seen, church gigs before, this wasn't unique by a long shot. But it was still very interesting watching a band like Boris playing in such a tiny venue. After all, they play at Festivals for thousands of people at one time, so a small venue of just over 100 people is a bit like a break from the norm.

    The show was good, nice enough venue, as far as churches go this one seemed quite liberal. A liberal church! You heard it here first. There's a strange piece of artwork on the wall in there of what appears to be a vampire biting a girl's neck, a big old piece of canvas art with fangs and blood and all that. In a church. Underneath it there's a small quote from the bible, something about wives honouring their husbands, next to it was a £250 price tag to buy the artwork. So, churches are also being used as vampiric art house these days. I wonder if the Vatican knows about all this?

    Let's get to the Boris gig and their set. We saw the support band, Day for Airstrikes, we watched for a good while from the back of the room through a crowd at least, they sounded fine to me. After they were finished on the stage, the area was taken over with guys acting as roadies for the Boris performance. Then 2 of the band came down to the stage area (the altar) - it was Takeshi & Wata, who play the guitars. They started the set soon after, just the 2 of them. But no drummer... where was he? Then my gig buddy tapped me on the shoulder and I turned just in time to see Atsuo leap over a pew and past us, marched to his kit and away they went.

    After they played Pink Takeshi beckoned everyone to come close to the band, everyone piled forward and stood about 2 metres away from the stage for the rest of the show.

    Boring sidenote: I kneeled in 'seiza' (the formal japanese kneeling position) under the pulpit for the whole set from there on in, this was because it was the only space I could find to get a good view of the band because space was so cramped. It was very ironic to be watching a Japanese band while kneeling in seiza. I got some great photos from that point of view.

    The set list, all you doom geeks out there, went something like:

    1. Farewell
    2. Rainbow
    3. Pink
    4. (song with Japanese title)
    5. Ibistu
    6. Sun Flower Rain
    7. Just Abandoned My-Self
    8. over 30 minutes of Flood

    The above vid is a clip that I took of the last song - a song which was about half an hour long - this is the intro of the second part of "Flood", you can see from that we were quite close to the stage area, about 2 or 3 meters away from Wata and her Les Paul. I took a few more vids and a pile of photos too (mainly of Wata). What can I say: I'm a Wataphile.

    Anyway, great show. I enjoyed it a lot anyway. Kudos to the promoters. You don't get many doom metal gigs in churches, especially in Northwest England, so when they come around you should go to em if you can. I look forward to the next one. The merchandise at Boris shows is always very good too, I got myself a new double vinyl record by them called "Doomriders vs Boris", which will probably be played once and put away on my shelf with the rest of my Boris records, and I got a nice tshirt as well. The white one.

    We've got tickets to see Boris again next Monday when they play in London - I dunno right now if I can make it along because of work commitments, I also dunno whether it's going be be such a good idea traveling to London for a 3rd time in 2 weeks! But I do like Boris a lot, and it would looked good on my "Gigs attended in 2007" list, so perhaps I will make it along after all. Who knows! If not, well, I have 4 tickets spare for the London show that will inevitably go to waste.

    Tuesday, 19 June 2007

    Sunn @ Southbank Centre, London, 18th June 2007

    We saw Sunn in concert again yesterday, at a venue right on the waterfront of the River Thames no less, about 400 yards from the London Eye ferris wheel and in view of Big Ben and the Houses Of Parliament. The venue they played at was the Southbank Centre which is located in on the Thames riverside between Golden Jubilee and Waterloo Bridges, in Central London. The venue has lots of concert halls inside it, the gig was held in somewhere called The Queen Elizabeth Hall - very posh sounding - it usually gets used for chamber orchestra recitals, I don't know if it's ever been used for anything like Sunn before (or if it will again).

    This was part of an event called "Jarvis Cocker's Meltdown". Jarvis Cocker, in case you aren't sure, is a musician from Sheffield who used to be in an indie band called Pulp. My sister liked Pulp, never really my thing though. Cocker's best moment was when he ran on stage at the Brit Awards show and disrupted Michael Jackson on a stage full of young children. For that one stunt, Jarvis Cocker is forever infamous and awesome. Oh lets not forget that he wrote some good tunes too, I guess.

    The Sunn show was great, different than the previous Sunn gigs that I've been to (5 now) but it reminded me of the time I saw them in a venue over in Dublin that's called The Crawdaddy. I say that mainly because we were seated for the performance in Dublin and we were again here in London. The mood of the gig was similar to Dublin as well, not the same, but similar. I don't think Sunn ever play the same set twice. By the nature of their music I don't think it's possible to.

    Every time this band performs it seems to have a different amount of players on stage. The core of the band is just 2 guys - Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley. Then they will usually add a vocalist, this time it was Attila Csihar (a Hungarian bloke who we met for the first time earlier this year in Norway and in Holland, the second time we met him he was much more relaxed and spent half an hour talking with us after their gig). When they played in Liverpool last year they had a different guy (Wrest) doing vocals. Sometimes a keyboard player will join them on stage - other times they employ synthesizers instead of keyboards. During this gig they used both. In other shows they've used a third guitarist, they even had a trombone when they played in Norway. In Dublin they had 7 guys in the band. Really, it's seems that they never quite have the same line up for any two tours in succession.

    Fot this show in London they performed as a 5-piece; I think it was 3 guitars, 1 keyboard and Attila's vocals. Attila's performance this time round was very striking, sometimes chanting like a Gregorian monk, other time using his mouth and throat to make sinister sounding breathing, grunting and even squeaking noises. During the initial vocals all of the lights in the concert hall were off apart from two green spotlights shining up onto Attila, who was stood alone at the front of the stage. He was dressed in the now familiar Sunn robes (the band always dress in full-length robes with Cowls covering their faces). The set began with acapella for 5 or 10 minutes, then keyboards joined him, then the droning guitars joined in for the full-on Sunn performance.

    Sunn are not going to appeal to everyone who sees them live, they are loud (very loud), slow (VERY slow) and to an untrained ear there's no apparent rhythm to their songs, there's no drum keeping a beat. Lots of people in the hall got up and left about half an hour into the performance - not their cup of tea. Also I noticed a lot of people sat in my vicinity were falling asleep in their seats during the performance. This might be out of boredom, but I have seen this before at gigs being attended by full-on Sunn listeners and I figure that drone must have some kind of hypnotic effect when played loud enough in a venue with the right kind of acoustics. You can feel the vibrations from the speakers shaking your clothes and, if you are sat down, you can feel your chair rattling underneath you. Sound you can feel - sonic art!

    Towards the end of the performance Attila left the stage and came back on dressed in a strange potato sack outfit and blonde wig - he uses this on stage with another band, Burial Chamber Trio. The show ended after about 90 minutes, it finished with more Attila acapella and then all of the lights went out - when they came back on all of the band where lying about on the floor by their equipment, like something from a murder mystery play, as though they were all dead on the stage. A very theatrical end to another unique display from a very unique set of performers.

    We never did see Jarvis Cocker though.

    Monday, 11 June 2007

    Thee Great Donington Break-In

    Thee Claw went to Donington to see the Download festival. These days they officially refer to the event as Download, but let's just call it Donington... for old time's sake. We weren't ever assured of getting in there, so I haven't mentioned it before, but we have been talking amongst ourselves about going down there to try and get in for a week or so.

    We had a little help from a man called Alan North who's birthday should be a national holiday. This is in spite of his disgusting habit of cupping his hand over his arse when farting then putting into your face and holding it there like chloroform on a rag while you struggle about in panic trying to escape. He still helped us get in though, so for that we can forgive him and his farting fetish just this once.

    We arrived just in time to hear Mastodon playing on the main stage, but all of the stuff we wanted to see was in a tent at the far end of the event, called The Dimebag Darrel Tent. Before we got there Suicidal Tendencies had already played, shame we never got to Donington earlier. We saw:

    Orange Goblin
    Orange Goblin are doom metal, or stoner rock maybe. Think of Black Sabbath on the Master Of Reality album or the song Supernaut even, that's what Orange Goblin sound like to me. They came on and we ran down to the front, then past the pit (when it finally happened 3 songs into the set) and stood close to the barrier, getting shoved in the back and loving it. I remember Patchie saying "I love Orange Goblin!". Then - I saw it - I noticed that the singer (Ben Ward) has got a big L.F.C. tattoo on his left shoulder. I pointed it out to Patchie, who then looked away in disgust saying "I hate Orange Goblin!". Haha, nah he never said that really, but it was something to that effect. They played a good set and set the rest of day up nicely.

    Paradise Lost
    Last time I saw Paradise Lost was in Liverpool about ten years ago, they were touring with Die Krupps at the time. Die Krupps were really good, Paradise Lost were pretty shit. When we saw them at Donington I ran down the front with Northy's missus and when we got there we stayed for about 5 minutes and then walked back to the rest of the gang. The PD crowd is very still, no dancing at the front of the crowd at all. I didn't enjoy this set much, which is a shame. I always like the album "Icon" by Paradise Lost too. Ah well, seen them twice now anyway.

    Napalm Death
    Napalm are playing here in Liverpool on Thursday night and I don't think I can make it along to see them because I am working and can't get leave. Just as well I bunked into Donington to see them instead then eh! As soon as they got on Barney (vocals) started running around on the stage as though he was in a pit, all on his own, bouncing about off thin air. Then the music started and I don't remember much else because I was right down at the front (again) pitting with aplomb. They played about 20 songs in 20 minutes and finished their set with their cover of Nazi Punks Fuck Off - I used to have that on 7" but sold it on ebay when I was broke. As for the set, I think this was the most fun I had at Donington.

    The Lauren Harris Band
    We never really saw much of this band - I ran into the tent where they were playing especially to have a look for roughly 2 songs, then left. I made sure to go and check them out especially so I could write this small paragraph for you to read... now that it's here in print, was it really worth it??

    Cult Of Luna
    COL played in the same tent as the Lauren Harris lot, and again I ran in and had a quick blimp, nothing more than that. But that still counts as having seen them live... right?

    Okay this is getting a bit boring now. Yes, they played, yes, we were there. But no, we never actually saw them per se, we just happened to be stood there chatting amogst ourselves while Evanesence did their thing over on the main stage. I remember the singer chick saying "Thank you Download! We love you!" at the end of their set. I also recognised a few of their songs. Sorry, I am not into this band at all, although I am sure the kids down by the stage loved every second of it.

    Iron Maiden
    If you are interested, there is a video of this complete set available for download here. Maiden were great. Well, I remember them as being great, but this is the main reason that I went along to this festival so really they could have come out on stage and stood waving at the crowd for 2 hours and I would still have wrote a review about it saying that they were great. They played a stack of new stuff to begin with, then a stack of old stuff to end with. I was pleased with the lot of it! Apparently Bruce Dickinson fell over while running across the stage at one point, proper went arse-over-tit. I didn't get a very good view of that from the middle of the crowd though! We went down to the front a few times, just for the sake of being at the front for Maiden at Donington. It was too much to bare for much more than a couple of songs, after that we retreated back up the hill to actually watch the band and not get squashed by the thousands of idiots cramming together and not hearing the songs properly for 2 hours. They only did one encore before the night was over, then the band left the stage and Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life started up, signaling the end of the set. Towards the end of the show you could see plumes of smoke billowing from piles of rubbish all around the festival site - gangs of kids were steaming about the place (a criminal act where gangs use sheer force of numbers to intimidate) and setting fire to anything they could get their hands on.

    That about covers it. It was a great day though, sun shining for most of it. I really enjoyed it. Napalm Death was particularly awesome.

    Wednesday, 30 May 2007

    Trouble @ Leeds

    Check out this video from the Trouble gig in Leeds last night.

    Possibly thee gig of the year.

    Trouble, Leeds Rio's - Tue 29 May

    Went to see Trouble play in Leeds last night. What a show, possibly my best of 2007 so far (and that's saying something!). Loud as hell too - as I write this it's a full 24 hours later and my ears are still ringing.

    The setlist included a couple of tracks of the new album, and each time they were about to play one of the new numbers Eric Wagner would stop for a second and tell the crowd "You all won't know this one yet". Sorry Eric but I kinda already have heard it... several times! And it's awesome! But don't worry though, I will be buying a copy of the CD when it finally gets released ok dude.

    The setlist for the show was something like:

    The Sleeper
    Touch The Sky
    Plastic Green Head
    Pray For The Dead / Endtime
    Goin' Home
    End of My Daze
    Memories Garden
    All Is Forgiven
    Revelation (Life and Death)
    Psychotic Reaction

    Encore #1:
    Bastards Will Pay

    Encore #2:

    They came back on stage for the second encore and said that they don't usually do a 2nd one, this was the first second encore of the tour. I dunno what they played though haha, little help? The song of the gig though (for me at least) was Mindbender.

    All through the show Eric was smoking & drinking and occasionally disappearing off stage and then reappearing after about 30 seconds. Also he kept stopping between songs to grab hold of girls in the audience. White metal you say? Sure, whatever! Whatever you want to call it though, this gig is one of the best I have ever been to.

    Thursday, 24 May 2007

    Friday, 27 April 2007

    Bjorn From Finland

    Here is a short video I made at Schiphol Airport with a passing traveler that I bumped into. He says he is from Finland... but maybe he is really from Sweden??

    Monday, 23 April 2007

    Roadburn 2007 - Tilburg, Holland

    Happy St George's Day to everyone, even you none English types. After all St George himself is said to have been from Turkey (or the area that we now call Turkey anyway), so it's no problem for people who aren't English remembering him on his saint's day. Did you know that, as well as the English, St George is also the patron saint of the Palestinian people? Well, now you do.

    Another adventure in the continuing chronicles of Thee Claw On Tour:
    We got back from Holland this morning after an interesting 24 hours in Amsterdam and Tilburg. The concert that we went there to see was great, very loud and pretty psychedelic is probably the best way of describing it. I've seen SunnO))) a few times now and they always seem to be adding things to their live sound and making then performances a bit longer, more theatrical and forever unpredictable. Attila Csihar was performing vocals for them once again (like in Norway last month) and he came on stage alone for about 10 minutes, whispering and groaning into the microphone while he crouched on the spot. Then Greg Anderson, Stephen O'Malley and Tos came onto the stage and the drone began... and, as ever, they were all dressed in robes. After about 20 minutes Attila decided to lay on the floor and fall asleep for about an hour before getting back up and carrying on doing the vocals. They whole set was about 90 minutes long, one long droning piece as always. And even better, a few times during the set they all stopped for a moment, threw their hands up in the shape of claws, then carried on playing the sonic doom. Clawsome.

    After the show we hung out with Attila for about half an hour after the gig, Patchie shared a spliff with him and I gave him the shirt off my back. True story. Last night we went around the red light district and took in the sights of late night Amsterdam before going back to the airport to sleep on the floor until our early hours flight this morning.

    Tilburg, by the way, is a great place. I noticed that everyone there was really chilled and because it was a really sunny day while we were there (pun intended) the streets were lined with hundreds of people outside bars having a beer and soaking up the rays. A great place to visit. We will be back to Holland for the 2008 Roadburn festival, no doubt.

    Next up on the claw tour, a big group outing to go and see Trouble in Leeds.

    Red Light Fever

    Another adventure in the continuing chronicles of Thee Claw On Tour:
    Got back from Holland this morning after an interesting 24 hours in Amsterdam and Tilburg. The concert that we went there to see was great, very loud and pretty psychedelic is probably the best way of describing it. I've seen SunnO))) a few times now and they always seem to be adding things to their live sound and making then performances a bit longer, more theatrical and forever unpredictable. They had Attila Csihar doing the vocals for them again (like in Norway last month) and he came on stage alone for about 10 minutes, whispering and groaning into the microphone while he crouched on the spot. Then Greg Anderson, Stephen O'Malley and Tos came onto the stage and the drone began... and as ever they were all dressed in the usual medieval style robes. After about 20 minutes Attila decided to lay on the floor and fall asleep for about an hour before getting back up and carrying on doing the vocals. They whole set was about 90 minutes long, one long droning piece as always. And even better, a few times during the set they all stopped for a moment, threw their hands up in the shape of claws, then carried on playing the sonic doom. Clawsome.

    After the show we hung out with Attila for about half an hour after the gig, Patchie shared a spliff with him and I gave him the shirt off my back. True story. Last night we went around the red light district and took in the sights of late night Amsterdam before going back to the airport to sleep on the floor until our early hours flight this morning.

    Tilburg, by the way, is a great place. I noticed that everyone there was really chilled and because it was a really sunny day while we were there (pun intended) the streets were lined with hundreds of people outside bars having a beer and soaking up rays. A great place to visit.

    Next up on the claw tour, a big group outing to go and see Trouble in Leeds.

    Monday, 16 April 2007

    Annihilator in Liverpool

    Went to see Annihilator when they played in my home town tonight. I never had a ticket and then got a call from a friend who offered me a spare, how can a guy refuse an offer like that? Glad I went along, Gojira also played and they were really good, real loud and they headbanged all the way through their set. You can tell a good band from how well they play whilst headbanging! Gojira passed that particular test with flying colours.

    Jeff Waters and the boys were awesome though, I got right up as close to the front of the stage as I could when they played. After the gig we bumped into the bass player outside the venue and one of my mates (H) decided we all needed to get our photo taken with him, and he was really happy to stand and get pics taken while we posed with claws on show. Well, you've got to haven't you.

    Oh and some other band played on the same bill... I never took much notice of them though. I think they were called Trivium or something.

    Thursday, 12 April 2007

    Step Away From The Merchandise!

    WASP played Liverpool last night, the first date of their 2007 world tour, according to Blackie Lawless.

    It was a bit of a problem at the start of the night because LFC were playing in the Champions League at the same time as the gig, so basically something had to give. Me and our Ed went and met up with the troops in Ma Egerton's (a pub off London Road in Liverpool) and we sat there for the first half drinking and talking right up next to the big screen that they've got in that boozer when the footy's on. In fact, Patchie and Northy sat under the screen, facing the rest of the pub. Drinking bitter. Liverpool, in the end, didn't bother putting together a big effort to score more goals. Well, it was already 3 nil on aggregate after all, why run themselves ragged when they were already 3 goals to the good? So at the half time whistle it was clear that it was time to go and watch some heavy metal.

    When we got into the Academy (where the gig was held), straight away we went to see the magnificent merch tables that had been set up. And indeed there was a lot of stuff there to look at, lots of different designs showing guitars and skulls and hey, even flames! Only thing was, most of the t-shirts were from the last time WASP did a tour, in fact Eddy was wearing one of the shirts that was on the wall and he'd bought it when we saw them in Manchester a few years ago. Then someone said "look at those *boss* caps!"... boss as in really shite. They were a proper state, a load of mad headwear with orange and red flames all over them that I am sure will go down well in Germany or something. Those kerrazy Krauts love their cheesy rawk merch (at least I like to believe they do). But still, I wanted to know the important thing about these caps, and that was whether they were Flexfit or not. So, me being me, I waded over to have a look at them all, pinned onto the wall. And I wasn't there for more than 5 seconds when the prick who was looking at the merch came running at me shouting in a yank accent. The exchange went something like this:

  • Merch Prick: Hey! Step away from the merchandise!
  • Me: Calm down lad, I just want to know if they're flexfit or not
  • Merch Prick: Step behind the barrier and I will come and show the caps
  • Me (walking away and tutting): Fuck off you beaut, they're all crap anyway. I'd rather spend my money on drinks. Keep your fucking hats.

  • Where's the need for the robocop "step away from the vehicle" attitude anyway? Like I was going to rob his shitty flame caps or something. It wasn't like I would have been hard to find I that was the case, I mean, I was walking *into* the concert and I would have been the only soft twat in there with those ugly hats on. Anyway, they weren't flexfit caps, they were those ones with the poppers across the back so you can change the size of the headband that way. So not only did they look bad but they were poorly made too. I imagine we'll see them on the merch counter at the next tour in 2009 cos no one's going to want to buy them.

    So, we piled on up to the concert hall to take a look at the wimps and posers. The gig was full of people's dads acting like loons and weirdos dressed in normal clothes. Weirdos, that is, when it comes to metal concerts - I suppose that anywhere else they would be the ones you would consider to be normal. Honest though, there was some gormless looking sod, right in the middle of the pit and just standing there for the entire WASP show. It was like he'd just wandered in by accident and decided to get up close to stage and have a look what this heavy metal thing is all about. He also had a friend with him who looked like a cross between King Buzzo and Shane Embury. Except he was dressed like a tramp. So really it probably was Shane Embury, haha!

    The actual gig was okay. Blackie was hidden for most of the night by a massive skull and cross bones microphone stand, which doubled up as a static pogo stick for a few songs too. Then about 3 songs into the set Blackie sort of climbed up onto the microphone thing, about 10 feet up from the stage, and then proceeded to wobble around for a few minutes and play a guitar solo at the same time. I don't know how to explain it any better; he climbed up onto the stand and wobbled about for a bit. Then he carefully dismounted it and carried on singing. The first time he did it I bet that everybody was expecting him to fall off it, he is a big fucker after all.

    They didn't play Animal, Scream Until You Like It or Forever Free though. Bah.

    Also Blackie Lawless didn't look very happy for a lot of the show, like he would rather have been somewhere else. Maybe that's his thing on stage for this tour, if it is he is confusing looking menacing and broody with just looking at the crowd and thinking "Damn, it's full of people's mams and dads. Where's the chicks sat up on people's shoulders with their titties out?". Actually, maybe he was pissed off because some idiot tried to rob a load of his cool flame hats off the merchandise tables.

    All in all, I enjoyed the Thumper gig on Easter Sunday more than the WASP gig last night. But then, WASP haven't played a gig in Liverpool since 1989.

    Thursday, 5 April 2007

    Sunn & Boris - Altar (Japanese Import Vinyl X3)

    What kind of sad sad person would buy a limited edition record all the way from Japan comprising of 3 pieces of vinyl and a whole load of other stuff included with it and then go to the trouble of taking photos while unpacking it and then post them all onto the internet?

    Monday, 19 March 2007

    Sunn O))) In Norway

    Went to see Sunn play a gig in Bergen Norway last night. They played in a cathedral and it was different to say the least. They used guitars, vocals, the cathedral pipe organ, a moog synthesizer and a trombone. Hahaha, trombone.

    When the music ended and the band disappeared away into the back rooms of the church we ran up to the stage and took photos of the bands stuff that they had left strewn about the stage. Well, *I* ran up on the stage, camera in hand. Then everyone else kind of followed me up. It was really funny actually, everyone slowly crept over to take a look at the stage and I waded through, stood on the front of the stage with my arms stretched up and making 2 claws with my hands and got my photo took, then grabbed the camera and went onto the stage and took close ups of all the amps and guitars. hahaha, well why not; what were they going to do, kick me out of church? God botherers.

    When everyone started taking photos it looked like a gang of police photographers at a crime scene taking close ups of the evidence of a murder or something. Some guy who helped set up the event then came over and basically told us to leave. Well he tried to, but instead we started asking him about the gig, how it was set up, a black metal show in a church! He said that they had arranged the show very tactfully, they told the people from the church that Sunn is a band who play medievil style music from the Scandinavian tradition. Something like that. So the church said "oh okay" and let a gang of black metal satanists loose in the hallowed halls. Sick!

    After the gig we spoke to the guys in the band for about 2 minutes, we met them outside the church then I ran over and grabbed Attila Csihar (who did the vocals) and asked him about the gig... what exactly was he singing about and what language was it exactly? He told us it was all in Hungarian and "some was spoken in tongues" and the lyrical content was mainly about the church being fake and it will crumble and burn, Jesus is a made up story. Things like that. Wow.

    Patchie, Attila Csihar and yours truly.

    After the gig we went back to our hotel room with a bunch of other guys that had traveled for the show and proceeded to get hammered on Jagermeister and vodka. Then someone said "what's the time?" and we realised it was midnight. So then we all went to the local rock club and carried on getting drunk. Norwegian prices are ridiculous though, but since they had no merchandise at the show I still had a pocketful of money to piss up the wall. We bought Guinness and talked shit for hours.

    By the way, we ended up drinking in the club til about 3 or 4am, with SunnO)), In Flames and Gorgoroth. 3 metal bands, all hanging out in 1 club all at once. Really we never spoke to the 2 other bands at all, they just happened to be there. Me and Patchie ended up talking to Greg Anderson and Toz from Sunn and agreeing to go and see them when they tour in Japan in May.

    We never got to bed til half 6 this morning and then I was back up to get out of the hotel room for 11am.

    Other things we did:

  • Took stacks of touristy photos and threw Claws at monuments
  • Ate starnge Norwegian style pies, kinda like pancakes folded in half and filled with cheese & ham
  • Tried to teach European types how to speak Scouse
  • Drank far too much Jagermeister
  • Someone (no names mentioned) fell asleep in the shower for 2 hours

    There's stacks more to say, but right now I am hung over and can't even begin to think straight. I had to come and sit down though, so I figured doing a bit of a blog post would straighten my brain out. Instead I am here rattling like a junkie who needs a fix, with my heart fluttering in my chest.

  • Saturday, 17 March 2007

    Schipol Post

    Hello from Amsterdam. Me & Patchie are sat here at the airport (Schipol) and we've had the best luck today. Our flight to Bergen isn't til 3pm local time and it's only twenty to twelve now, so stacks of time to fill in the meantime with duty free shopping. I would think about going out into the dam properly, the red light bit and all that, but we've already pushed our luck today so we're going to be staying here in the terminal til its time to board the plane.

    Our luck is officially worn out I should think; get on this - we have already missed our connecting flight to Bergen but have now had it rescheduled. The plane from Manchester to Amsterdam went without a hitch, then we got here, stopped for a cig and some pizza and to buy some booze, then made our way quickly to the gate for the next flight. When we got there it was deserted, expect for one woman in a uniform sat at the gate. I asked her where we should be for the flight to Bergen and she asked my name... when I told her it she told me (with a deadpan expression on her face) that our plane had already left.

    From there we went to a transfer department and took a ticket to be seen, the current ticket being seen at the desk was 150 and our ticket was 238. So after a long wait we finally got to the front of the queue and spoke to the girls on the desk. While we waited around in the meantime we went through a whole range of emotional states, mainly disbelief about missing the connecting flight and frustration about taking time out to eat pizza when should have been giving it legs to the next plane!

    When we made it to the front of the queue to have our situation resolved we kinda played it dumb and said we didn't realise we had to run from the first flight to the second... and the attendant was as cool as hell. She rescheduled our flight, got us window tickets, issued us with new boarding passes and then said "have a nice day" or something like that. Just like that, everything was sorted and it didn't cost us one penny extra. Cue the Cheshire Cat style grins that we both still are wearing on our lucky faces.

    Now we are sat here in this place, nex to our gate for boarding, next to a bar (where Patchie can have a smoke), with internet access 6 euros for 30 minutes), drinking a beer and grinning at each other. The beer is Heineken and it tastes different than the stuff we get at home. Oh, we had a Guinness in Manchester this morning (because its St Paddys Day) but it never tasted good so we left them.

    Really I think we should have had to pay something towards the rescheduled flights. Really. If we were at home right now I know we would of had to, England is nothing like this for helping you out when things have gone wrong.

    When we get to Bergen we have to find the hotel, get our room keys, go on a hunt for Bergen Cathedral where the SunnO))) concert is happening tomorrow and generally start having a ball.

    More later.

    Wednesday, 7 February 2007

    Brutal Truth Photos

    Feb 5th 2007 - Brutal Truth @ The Voodoo Lounge, Dublin:

    That last one is of Party Patchie & everyone's favourite DJ Father Ted - who (as H pointed out) looks like Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath.
    My favourite of these pics - and I may well change my mind about this soon - is the one of the awesome Rich Hoak on drums doing a cracking guern. His opening line in Manchester: "People often ask me, 'Are you *always* angry?'. And I reply 'Yes, why, aren't you?'".

    Here is the top and bottom of the Dublin trip - on this day I think we were the luckiest men in Europe:

  • Spent Sunday night in a little place called Woolton village
  • Woke up 2 hours late for the airport on Monday morning
  • I woke up in Patchie's ma's bed too (I haven't got a CLUE how that happened)
  • Almost lost my passport in the airport pub after having a double vodka at 7am
  • Ate an egg & onion sandwich on arrival at Dublin International, for the novelty factor (it tasted pretty okay)
  • Got on the bevvies in Dublin at about half 11... and didn't stop drinking til 3am the next morning
  • Acted like imbeciles all day long (but never forgot our manners when it counted)
  • Got fed loads of food for free in several pubs
  • Walked about 5 miles to find the gig venue in sub zero temperatures wearing only tshirts because "we'll wear the merch, that will keep us warm"
  • Invented a band called Skowzerbyowt and told everyone about it
  • Asked a random girl in a Godflesh hoodie for a good club to go to after the gig and she asked us "Do you like slags?". HUHUH????
  • Ended up in the busiest Monday night club in Ireland until 3am drinking vodka & red bull and dropping hideous Guinness farts, clearing the dance floor several times as a result
  • Got woke up in the night by Party Patchie who was brandishing pool cues and shouting "NOZZER" at me
  • Had a goddamn ball