Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Getting back on the ball...

Yeah yeah, this thing went dead for a bit. My parents went away and my brother invited a friend to live at our house for two weeks, which subsequently had the knock on effect of turning the place into a low rent recording studio. By the time he left, I couldn't muster the enthusiam to keep up with the Doctor Who reviews, the gig reviews...

But now I am back. And I've done things. Life experience crazy things. I'll try and boil the stuff I've missed down into one post I guess. Buckle up ;)


First up, Doctor Who. All done now! I have to say, I was thoroughly impressed with the overall plot arc and the latest Who first of not wrapping up absolutely everything neatly in a bow by the final scene of the series finale. Lingering questions are good, they will have more people returning methink. Kudos to the writing team there, breaking tradition can be difficult. On a extra note, the games which are now being drip fed to us scott free via the BBC website are also pretty bloody amazing. At the time of writing, the first two are now available, although I've only had the time to play the first.

Okay, next, Rage at Finsbury Park. One for the history books. I think a sense of occasion always makes what could have been a regular gig that much more lively. The crowd certainly seemed to think so, I can't recall a crowd crush that intense. Well, not at the time...ANYWAYS, having more bands than just Rage on the bill was a keen idea, as was opening the day with Gallows. Frank Carter was never one to shy away from speaking his mind (some gems include 'Justin Bieber's up the road, if you boo loud enough he'll hear you' and 'I want you to make a wall of death...if you don't know what this is, you shouldn't fuckin' be here!) Amptly put, Frank! In any case, you can never go wrong opening a gig in London with God Save The Queen. The Sex Pistols classic of course, not our national anthem. Although sometimes I wonder...

I will admit to not watching Roots Manuva. Not my cup of tea. And I was hungry, only a seriously overpriced burger would stop the ol' stomach rumbling. So my brother and I wade back to the stage in time for Gogol Bordello. Now if you're headed to Reading/Leeds this...DO NOT MISS THEM. Gypsy punk from the city of New York, they would brighten your dullest, most depressing day. Enough of a singalong factor to get everyone in the crowd all cosy with one another in time for...

Rage. Against. The. Fucking. Machine.

Oh yeah. This easily qualifies as the best gig I've ever been to. Hilarious cartoon Simon Cowell introduction, bringing out the Morters (the couple who started the Facebook campaign that made the gig happen in the first place,) playing a Clash cover (White Riot, if you were wondering,) and playing a video detailing the events at Christmas with Joe McElderry's The Climb playing over the top of it, all of this leading up to an explosive Killing In The Name...simply legendary. Kudos to the bus surfing guys on the way home who saw an easy way to cut through the crowds and took it. Yes, bus surfing. Exactly what it sounds like.

And now we get to a week later, Download Festival! A long weekend of intense drinking, plenty of well proportioned breasts and the best bands in the world. So, a day at a time...

Friday. Waking up semi bladdered already is a good way to start, but Friday for me was actually a bit slow. Not many bands I wanted to see, it felt to me like a warm up for the next two days. It was so unremarkable (except for maybe AC/DC) that I barely remember who I saw. Oh, and AC/DC were good. Never been a crazy fan, and the lack of choice (not to mention lack of their logo on the Festival t-shirt and the butchering of the main stage area all so they could bring their own stage with them) seemed a little off to me, almost like they held the whole thing in contempt really.

Saturday. This is more like it! Rise To Remain open the second stage and thoroughly impress everyone, it looks as if another Dickinson will be making his mark on metal (lead singer Austin Dickinson is the son of You Know Who. And if you don't, go brush up on your classic metal!) Several slots later and the band I pushed to the front of the second stage for are on: Cancer Bats. And they blow the feckin' roof off the place. Well, they would of, if it happened indoors. There's even pictures of me with frontman Liam Cormier as he reaches into the front row and blasts our collective faces off scattered around the internet. We leave after this and I get involved with a Rock Band competition which won me free beer (I play on Expert!) and a preview of what a mass singalong to Killing In The Name will sound like later that night. I watch the end of Megadeth on the main stage (awesome, but the P.A let them down) and then head to the second stage and watch The Blackout. Who are fucking amazing. Two drummers. Inflatable middle fingers. Rage, AC/DC and Aerosmith covers. 300% more Welsh than anyone I've ever seen in my life. Check them out if you get the chance. HIM are on after, my favourite band from when I was a broody sixteen year old, so it's nice to catch them live once more. Almost like greeting an old best friend who you've stopped talking to, it makes you wonder why you broke contact in the first place. The old favourites are all in there (Join Me, Wicked Game, Buried Alive By Love et al) mixed in with some new ones I like and some I don't (Wings Of A Butterfly has an awesome riff, but really, it's the only song on the Dark Light album that should still be played live!) Overall, a fantastic reminder of how much better my taste in music was compared to the chavs back at school. So the headliner rolls around and it's Rage for the second time within six days. The set is pretty much the same as Finsbury Park, with some added Wake Up (which is my favourite Rage song, so big thumbs up from me there) Overall, best headliner and best set of the whole weekend.

Sunday bloody Sunday. It didn't go exactly how I hoped it would. We have a lie in today and get to the arena in time to watch Slash. If you haven't heard the new Slash album yet, you really need to, it rocks. Slash's touring singer Myles Kennedys (from the band Alter Bridge) is easily the greatest male singer on this planet right now. He can sing ANYTHING, from other people's songs on the Slash album to old Guns tunes like Sweet Child and Rocket Queen. Further kudos go the completely topless chick shaking what god gave her astride somebody's shoulders and projected on the big screen all the way through the end solo to set finale Paradise City. Seriously, tits, beer and Slash, my life was perfect for five mins or so!

So now comes the disappointment. I'm all ready for Billy Idol and subsequently Motorhead, Stone Temple Pilots and Aerosmith and then the rain begins. And it doesn't stop. Rebel Yell would have sounded awesome but dying of pneumonia doesn't. I'll admit, I was ill prepared, no poncho, no wellies, and because of that, it was back to the tent for me, my weekend cut abruptly short. Still, I had fun singing the Ace Of Spades at the live band karaoke that night, could have been worse!

Wow, all done, breathe out now! So after the Download insanity, I got festival fever and have roped a friend into getting Sonisphere tickets with me. So come the first week of August expect a full review! Probably!

Your ever lovin' captain,


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