1) This is the list of gigs that I attended that I enjoyed most
2) The gigs highlighted in bold were attended by 3 men, 6 claws
3) This list is in chronological order
4) I tried my best not to use the word "Awesome" while writing this, but it slipped out 3 times
5) If you don't understand what I mean, fucking listen to VENOM's Acid Queen
Okay, here's my picks for this year's winners!
Feb 8th - BRUTAL TRUTH (Sheffield)
We have a thing for Brutal Truth here at Claw Towers, they are our #1 grind band (followed closely by Rich Hoak's wonderful TFD). I am not too keen on the venue for this show, Sheffield's "Corporation", but that's possibly because they appeared to put BFT's set on in a small room at the back of the club. The band played on a stage that is 6 feet higher than the pit where the audience stands, so we got a great view of Kev Sharpe's feet at least! Also this was a memorable gig because hardly anybody bothered t "get into" the show until towards the end of the set - apart from THEE CLAW that is. After the set was over we ventured into the main Corporation club, where they had a rock night in full swing - and we were soon jumped by a very wild and very animated HOAK, who stunk to high-heaven of green. What a memory that still is! We travelled a fair way across England to be a part of this gig, but then again I did travel further for the next on the list...
Feb 16th - IRON MAIDEN (Tokyo)
So I took a short 10 day vacation from my hum-drum existence here in England (an existence that consists of listening to high volume relentless blood daubed blast beats) to jet out to check out the Japan leg of IRON MAIDEN's 2009 tour. All expenses paid for by THEE CLAW, we all drew straws and I was chosen as the one who got to head off to "The Land Of Moonspeak" to review the world's greatest 'eavy metaaaal band. What a trip man. I saw Maiden play twice while over there, first of all at a place called The Pacifico in Yokohama and then at the Makuhari Messe Convention Centre in downtown Chiba City (which is just outside Tokyo and right by Disney World Japan). Maiden's set at both gigs were identical - identically awesome that is! Fuck, you should see those Japanese metallers go for it when they are at a show, they are so into the whole deal. Maiden figure in the list later on in the year, at England's Twickenham rugby stadium.
Apr 17th-12st - Roadburn (Tilburg)
Patchie and Myself headed along to the Dutch ROADBURN FESTIVAL in April to ensconce ourselves in the Euro Metal scene in the truest of CLAW fashions. We came, we saw, we clawed the fuck out of anyone who came within swinging distance. Roadburn is a real blast, there is no other music festival like it. The whole vibe of the place is very Dutch - no fights, no friction, it's all about being happy and getting in as many awesome shows as possible into 4 days of glorious Tilburg. Highlights of Roadburn 2008 (for me) included CHURCH OF MISERY, TROUBLE, BORIS and THE DEVIL'S BLOOD. (By the way, THEE SKUM never came along because we all decided one of us had to go along to the GRASPOP FESTIVAL in Belgium and he drew the longest straw in that contest, the lucky dirty bastard!)
May 27th - DIO (Birmingham)
You know, I look back on the past 12 months of shows and I think about all of the great bands who we have seen, I think about all of the songs that I have witnessed being played by some of my favourite bands in the world. Strangely, the one thing that sticks out in my mind more than anything else is the moment during Rainbow In The Dark when DIO drummer Simon Wright messed up the beat and Ronnie James turned to him and screamed "ARE YOU FUCKING DEAF?!?!" in a blaze of rage. Dio is certainly a man with a temper, and while he might not have been in the best of moods during this show, you can be sure that THEE CLAW lapped up every last second of it. I am tempted to say that this show was the highlight of 2008 for me, but then I am biased as hell. Oh and it is entirely possible that GIRLSCHOOL were the best support band of the year too. (And Saxon do NOT count as a support band, just so you know!)
June 13th - JUDAS PRIEST / MOTORHEAD / KISS (Donington)
Another gig without THEE SKUM in attendance... what the hell were we thinking about by that?? Patchie and me made the wonderful trip to Donington once again, across the English countryside into a field set in the middle of nowhere. A field that played host to England's biggest metal festival of 2008. Let's not go into the whole "Nu metal has destroyed Donington" debate right now (although, now that I am thinking about it, I want to rant for a good 10,000 words about this very topic), instead let's talk about the 3 bands who really mattered at this event - PRIEST, THE HEAD and KISS. In all honesty, we turned up for PRIEST AND MOTORHEAD, we stayed for KISS. Priest were good, MOTORHEAD were great, and KISS... well, KISS were something else. I have never been so overwhelmed by a band who I wasn't 100% sure about, as I thought that this could have been a big let-down to be quite truthful. Far from it! As soon as they hit the stage (they were lowered down from 100 feet in the air on a huge platform), Stanley, Simmons, Singer and Thayer blew the fuck out of my mind. It was relentless, hit after hit, every song was a winner. I mean, they played Parasite for fuck's sake! Even Tommy Thayer's guitar solo was awesome. I just wish that we had stayed right until the end of the set, but duty called.
June 25th - MORBID ANGEL (Wolverhampton)
Childhood dreams achieved! I visited Wolverhampton this year! Haha, no not just that but we also saw MORBID ANGEL and even managed to arrange a press pass to get some photos and get evidence of DAVID VINCENT's exceptionally dodgy dress sense. M.A.'s set included all of the classics.
July 5th - IRON MAIDEN (Twickenham)
GIG OF THEE YEAR. At least it would have been, had Maiden's manager not have booked such awful awful AWFUL support bands. I will not speak their names on these hallowed pages, but I am sure that if you Google "Maiden Twickenham Support Bands" you will see who I am referring to and you will then think "Why the fuck did I bother searching for THAT?". Seeing THE IRONS slaughter almost every MAIDEN fan in ENGLAND, all in one go, that was well worth the journey. This gig was also my #1 of 2008 because this is the one which we saw with almost all of our friends. And I got to watch Patchie cry when he finally heared Wasted Years played live, haha!
July 12th - DOOM METAL INQUISITION(Bradford)
We had already visited the 1 IN 12 in Bradford earlier in 08 (to see DEVIATED INSTINCT), but a return trip to check out bands such as LAMP OF THOTH, WARNING and PAGAN ALTAR was more then welcomed by all of THEE CLAW. A long, long day but once PAGAN ALTAR hit the stage at midnight me and THEE SKUM were up front and centre, headbanging like a pair of slavering monkeys. I couldn't hear for 4 days after this show.
Nov 14th - MOTORHEAD & SAXON(Manchester)
It was a long wait but by November we got to add another notch to THEE BED when we saw SAXON and THEE HEAD together in concert at Manchester's Apollo. Again, it was more than 3 hours of the best metal you could hope for... why do gigs like this not come past as often as they should?
Nov 22nd - DAMNATION FESTIVAL(Leeds)
DAMNATION ended the beginning of the end of a long year of shows for us, and it certainly finished things off with a (head)bang. ONSLAUGHT, SIGH, BENEDICTION, NAPALM DEATH, CATHEDRAL... the list goes on. Oh and apparently a band who the kids all seem to like called CARCASS played there too. Again, all 3 men were there to watch their favourite bands in action, with 6 claws high in the air.
There were several other shows that we took in this year that I should really give a mention to, such as SUFFOCATION, EARTH, ORANGE GOBLIN, BORIS, WITCHCRAFT, CHARGER and the mighty BLACK SUN & THEY ARE COWARDS. In fact, I think that I should sit and write out another list really!
2008 was a landmark year for THEE CLAW, possibly not one that is going to be topped. If that is the case, well at least we did pretty fucking well while it lasted! See you in 2009, droogies.