So, Saturday saw THEE CLAW head over to Leeds for the annual trip to the UK's most prominent underground metal festival, the 2008 Damnation festival.
This year's trip was a bit different for me than most of the road trips I've been on the with Thee Claw over the years, as I was joined by my girlfriend Becky who is four and a half months pregnant, so I knew there would be no going crazy in pits or getting covered in fake blood on this outing.
I didn't mind much because there were quite a few bands that I wanted to see, so let's get going.
We were also joined on this trip by the living legend that gave birth to the claw (The Claw, not Thee Claw), the godly being "Quagmire Petch". Gaze upon his metal countenance in the above picture and tremble.
After an unenventful trip through the Penines listening to loads of NWOBHM and King Diamond, we met up with the gang who had headed to Leeds from all four corners of this pleasant land, and went for a few pints...the sight of Quagmire drinking a pint of Stella with about two inches of candy letters in the bottom will live long in the memory.
We headed over to the venue just in time to buy some completely overpriced beer (£3.95 for a can of Tuborg? it's 90p a can in the shop at the bottom of my street!) and get a good position to watch the first band I wanted to see, UK thrash stalwarts Onslaught.
Their set was being recorded for an upcoming live album, which I guess will be pretty good to get a copy of to give to the baby when it's older, this being it's first gig and all! (as a side note, the little one had been asleep all day but immediately woke up and started kicking when Onslaught came on! Thrash baby on it's way!).
Onslaught played a mix of material encompassing their career, as you would expect from a band recording a live album.
They sounded top notch, Si's voice sounding as peircing and brutal as it does on The Force and Killing Peace.
Lots of people seemed to be using this time to get themselves decent positions for Carcass, who were headlining this room later, but when Onslaught had finished we went for a little walk.
Well, when I say went for a little walk, I mean we walked around in circles for about an hour, ending up in the Jagermeister room over and over again, bumping into people here and there.
We decided to sit down around now, get something to eat and get me a couple of drinks, before heading into the Rock Sound stage to check out Ramesses.
The other Claw Brothers weren't too bothered about seeing them as they were going to see them with Grief the day after so I left Becky and the bump relaxing on one of the sofas at the back and headed down just in time to hear them tear into "Master Your Demons"....I sweated a bit in that crowd and threw some total CLAWS, Adam looking menacing as fuck in an ancient Godflesh Streetcleaner shirt, and Mark hammering his drums to peices in the way only he can....amazing.
After this we headed over to the Terrorizer stage to catch Napalm Death... there were so many people in the room it was ridiculous, and when they started, all hell broke loose!
Becky and I were stood right at the back of the room (we could literally touch the rear wall) but we were getting shoved and jostled so much that we didn't want to take any chances and went back to the Rock Sound stage so I could get another drink. Devil Sold His Soul were on in here; we suffered their insipid Mr Fancy Pants Matalan Outfit Plastic Metal for half an hour or so, but at least we got amazing seats on the balcony (really a six foot hight wall at the side) next to the PA for a good view of Cathedral. DSHS - sub-par-cod-Isis-clone-mania. Avoid at all costs, unless you are going to kill them. And if you are, give me a call so I can film it. Geg-rock at it's finest.
I hadn't seen Cathedral since 1992 in Liverpool, so the whole disco-doom era passed me by in a live setting, and I was desperate to see them, with The Garden of Unearthly Delights being one of my favourite albums of recent years.
They didn't dissapoint!
Opening with Utopian Blaster (HUGGY BEAR OOOOH YEAH!) and going into Enter The Worms...I was leaning over the balcony with claws in the air!
When Lee Dorrian introduced North Berwick Witch Trials I abandoned my place and ran headlong to the front of the stage, meeting up with Thee Skum and SJW! Quagmire was off watching Carcass♠, so he missed Corpsecycle the airing of new song Open Mind Surgery. During Equilibrium I nipped out for a breath of air *ahem* and had a peek in the near empty room were Pitchshifter were going through the motions with their also-ran nu-metal.
Nice lads Pitch Shifter, but they should have stuck to the Godflesh worship.
Cathedral finished their set with a one-two of encores Ride and crowd favourite Hopkins (The Witchfinder General)....amazing setlist although I was pretty dissapointed there was no room for Soul Sacrifice.
All in all a brilliant day out, I just wonder how they will top it next year!!
♠I am reliably informed that Carcass DESTROYED all-comers at this festival. Songs from EVERY release were played, including, I believe, stuff from Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment. Ken Owen came out and played a little drum solo; apparently as soon as the room was full nobody was allowed in or out. Good on you Carcass, local boys come good.