A couple days ago we took a short 200 mile round-trip journey to Birmingham to check out TODAY IS THE DAY & support on their current (Summer 2008) "Axis Of Eden" European Tour. They're in Europe until the 1st day of July, between here and then still they have another 40+ gigs to get through... and if every single one of them is played with the same levels of energy that they threw out at the crowd at the Birmingham Academy, those boys (and girl) are going to be some of the fittest people out there on tour this year.
The AXIS OF EDEN tour has 4 bands on the bill: The first band is called ???? ("4 Question Marks"), followed by COMPLETE FAILURE, with JUCIFER on second-to-last right before TODAY IS THE DAY take to the stage and spend an hour shredding their way through an extensive back catalog.
We (PATCHIE, SKUM & myself) had real trouble locating the venue for this show, even though we've been along to Brum several times in the past year. This was our first time at the Academy, although we're gonna be back there next week to see DIO. Birmingham is, like most city centres in England, a complete nightmare to drive around. It's all one way streets and dual carriageways! And what's more, my two traveling companions spent the entire journey down the M6 motorway listening to SAXON on the stereo, drinking Carlsberg and reading porno mags. Generally they were doing pretty much everything that I wanted to be doing! And they were doing it in true CLAW style... disgracefully! So by the time we arrived in Sabbath City I was pretty much left on my own to get us to the gig, I went around in circles for about 3 frustratingly long hours. It took a 45-minute directional phone call to finally get us there in the end. Oh yeah, we got pulled over by the cops on the way too.. Fucking pigs.
Once we arrived at the Birmingham Academy ???? had already played through their whole set, so we totally missed the opportunity to check them out. We got to the venue to find 2 of the guys from COMPLETE FAILURE - Joe and Eric - outside having a smoke, we spent 5 minutes there talking with them before we headed in to the bar.
Once inside SKUM made a bee-line straight across to Today Is The Day's front man, the one and only STEVE AUSTIN. He was looking lean and mean and oh-so psyched ahead of the show. You could see it in his eyes, he was ready to do something crazy! But he was the nicest guy on the night and spent some time talking with us and thanked us for making the journey. What a guy!
So, to the gig. Here's a little about each of the bands that we caught (sorry to the 4 QUESTION MARKS guys).
Complete Failure are Grindcore noise from Pittsburgh. I'd never heard em before, but I sure will be hearing a lot of them in the future. They were great stuff, playing on this tour as a 3-piece (the guys mentioned in between songs that their bassist couldn't make the tour because of a broken arm). This is their 1st European tour and they look well into the whole thing. I couldn't tell you the names of any of their songs, but I don't think that really matters to the guys in the band. You know, I wish I'd grabbed myself one of their t-shirts now. Dammit.
Man & wife combo "Amber Valentine & Edgar Livengood" are the gang-of-two who come together to make up JUCIFER. A lot of the crowd were here to see them, you could tell by the general reaction when their set began. I had never heard anything of the band before so I wasn't sure what to make of them. I still am not sure! They played loud and very melodic, but heavy-as-hell in some part, which is saying a lot considering that it's just one guitar and a set of drums. They reminded me of BLACK COBRA in that respect. I really dig Ed's trapper's hat that he wore throughout the set.
TODAY IS THE DAY
You can just tell that Steve Austin loves his band and he gives all in performance for a TODAY IS THE DAY show. This wasn't the usual TITD line-up however, Mike (drummer from COMPLETE FAILURE) is filling in for them during this tour. I spoke to him after the show, he is gonna be doing drums for both bands for all the dates on this tour. Man, that's a job right there. Let's hope he doesn't get fatigued before the tour is over. TITD tore through songs from most of their albums, none stop riff worship all the while. Austin had a couple of "solo" songs on stage with no backing, just a microphone while he curled up into a fetal position and sang. Almost all of the original sample intros were in place for each tune thanks to an on-stage laptop (the 4th member of the band!). It was a joy watching Austin & co abuse the facility and scream until the veins were popping out of their necks. No holds barred performance = WIN.
Not too many showed up to this show. Well, maybe 80 people were there watching. We spotted Dave from ANAAL NATHRAKH there, we caught up with the guys from CHARGER there too. I kind of expected to see more people, lots more, we even thought that it might have been a sell-out show. Far from it. It was the same for BRUTAL TRUTH when they played in Sheffield earlier this year, it was even worse when LESBIAN played Manchester in April. All of these great bands are making the effort to come over to Europe from the States and very few people who claim to be into their music are bothering to get off the backsides to support them.
PEOPLE OF ENGLAND NOTE: Bands aren't stupid, they will not bother coming back to see you if you don't bother to go and see them.