It’s Just Like Exercise

I wrote recently about a damn good gig that I went to, Aesthetic Perfection, at the Lounge 666 or whatever it’s called. Because technology is so wonderful and lovely I can now show you a graph of my heart rate throughout that day.

Gig Heart Rate
Gig Heart Rate

There are three main aspects to this graph to chat about. The first is that low bit at the beginning. It’s me asleep. I’d have to compare it to my REM patterns to know what the little blips are in that section. Then, there’s me waking up at the little alarm clock symbol. The running man symbol is where I went for a run and the break in the graph is where I took my watch off for a shower. The low level preceding the first grey man is me driving my car into London for the show. The peak at the first grey man is me walking from where I parked the car to the venue. The next big dip is me eating food and so sitting down. Then, the bouncy bit is me bouncing at the concert.

The second grey man is me walking back to the car from the concert and then my watch thought I had fallen asleep because there’s a “Zzz” symbol. In reality that we me driving home from London and my heartrate stabilised because I wasn’t doing much. You can see that this resting heart rate is still higher than my normal sleeping rate. Finally the small peak just before the end is me walking from where I had to park the car in my village to my house.

This level of detail is pretty cool but I do wonder if it’s worth knowing? All that extra data I have about everything I do but does it change my life? I don’t know.

Slipknot – The O2

Slipknot

Given how close The O2 is to where I live this was the first time I had been there to see a concert. I went there a long time ago to see some tennis but this was the first music event. The “Millennium Dome” as it was known a long time ago was considered a GBP1 Billion white elephant in the early days of the Blair government. The display area was shit. I know, I went there. I never saw the “show” in the arena it was meant to be a bit like a circus – I guess there’s video of it but I care not. I’d also been a couple of other times most notably to see a Star Wars exhibition.

Anyway. Dave from work drove and we met up with Smith and Son. We ate. I drank. We entered the arena just after Behemoth had started.

Behemoth
Behemoth

I didn’t find them particularly good. They were quite boring. There wasn’t much dynamic shift to their songs and it was rather – meh. But still it was an opportunity to study the stage construction and layout of the arena. I noticed plenty of structural high beams, they were interesting, and the cable work holding up the PA system was impressive. Yep, that’s the sort of stuff I find interesting. I think it comes from having and engineering degree and thinking about how stuff works a lot.

The headliners were Slipknot. I was quite excited as I’d been listening to their stuff all week and I have to admit it’s pretty good stuff. It had also been quite a while since we had seen a metal headline act in an arena. Smith and I normally see either small bands in small venues or the classic M’era Luna festival in Germany.

The Stage and Slipknot
The Stage and Slipknot

Slipknot were pretty darn good. They kept the crowd going and all their songs were great. I really enjoyed it. At some points the mosh pit extended two thirds of the way back on the standing area and I don’t think I’ve ever really seen that before.

It was curious to see adverts for Slipknot stuff on the large screens before the band. They were advertising Knotfest which is an open air concert to take place at the National Bowl in Milton Keynes. Then, there was Slipknot whiskey made in Iowa. I mean, sure, you can buy it if you want but are you into a band that much that you want all your kit branded that way? In my experience it’s best to like the music, enjoy the shows and then not worry too much about the other stuff. Buying into a band completely always leaves you exposed to being failed when they turn out to be cunts. Not saying Slipknot are, just saying some bands are.

The Crowd and Slipknot
The Crowd and Slipknot

There was also an advert for some cruise thing from Barcelona to Naples with Slipknot appearing on board playing two shows. You can pay to be stuck on a cruise [honestly sounds quite nice] and then in the evening there will be some gigs. That’s not so bad I reckon. The Norwegian Jade will be a floating music festival and decked out like a museum to this Iowan band.

Slipknot Cruise Price List
Slipknot Cruise Price List

I don’t have this sort of money. The largest venue holds 2500 which is a reasonable size. It would be a pretty special time, but it is an outdoor venue and if the weather is shit you are screwed. Maybe the other bands would make it worthwhile? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll do this kind of thing once I’m retired.

Slipknot were pretty good on stage. There was the expected crowd interaction and I enjoyed it all. I don’t think I’m that fussed about seeing them again though. I think I am slowly seeking new things, new sounds or shows. My limit seems to be two times for seeing bands at the moment. I say this when I’m soon to see Aesthetic Perfection for the seventh time!

Good show. Good time. Enjoyed it. What more do you want?

iVardensphere – Electrowerkz

Smith and I travelled to attend the Beat Cancer 2.0 festival last night. Last year we saw Freakangel play somewhere in east London and now the fund raising jaunt returned in a bigger venue and with eight bands. The gig was based in the large room downstairs at Electrowerkz and there was a small bar set up but there wasn’t really a lot of space. It looked like there was a wedding going on in the Tube Train room – you’ll know what I mean if you’ve been there.

So the music started about ninety minutes late. The organiser blamed Lufthansa as the headline band, iVardensphere, were in Germany at the beginning of the day and without planes had to get to London. They managed this and set up but the running order was late by a long way. I had an important event to attend the next morning and so while the event was scheduled to finish at midnight I didn’t mind that once the delay was announced it made seeing all the bands rather problematic. I guess most people attending didn’t have to march through a town in a Remembrance Parade eight hours later.

First band up were Drakenwerks who I had missed by turning up late to another gig when they supported Nachtmahr. My notes say that the band was made of a man and woman, they were OK and played upbeat electronics with a hint of EBM.

Drakenwerks - Electrowerkz
Drakenwerks – Electrowerkz

The lighting rig seemed to consist of single colour washes for each song. In the above I caught a “green” song.

Then there was Vain Machine. Two chaps from the USA and it was their first time in London. It was a bit too goth for me. They even played a terrible cover version of “I was made for loving you” by Kiss.

Vain Machine - Electrowerkz
Vain Machine – Electrowerkz

Then there was the band of the organisers. The people who run this charity gig had a band and they played. It was experimental bullshit. A wall of noise. It was terrible. They were called Bein-E. Their full name was a massive German word but I only saw it on one piece of literature and didn’t make a note of it.

Bein-E - Electrowerkz
Bein-E – Electrowerkz

Then there was Cygnosic. This band was much more upbeat. The vocals were “growly” and while I didn’t understand what they were saying it was an improvement on most of the previous bands. The only problem was that their songs had no variation within. The structure was a single unit and lasted three minutes and stopped. I needed some form of difference as the song progressed. Judging by the accent of the singer when he spoke the band were from Spain or maybe Italy or similar [if they are Portuguese then I’ve probably offended a whole country!].

Cygnosic - Electrowerkz
Cygnosic – Electrowerkz

It was now 23:00 and there were three bands to go. iVardensphere wouldn’t finish until around 01:30 and I had stuff I was required to do the next morning. I had to call it a day and drive home. I’m gutted, but at least I have seen the Sphere before. They were really good both previous times but I can’t change my schedule. I’ll see them again one day soon I expect.

I missed:

  • Nature Of Wires
  • C-Lekktor
  • iVardensphere

So, after all that I saw five bands of varying degrees of not-good and the one band I really wanted to see I couldn’t as I had to get home to parade the next morning in Maidstone. I was gutted but also aware of my commitments and limitations. It was good to see the Smith.

M’era Luna 2019

I guess it takes some commitment to drive 500 miles to get to a music event. This is the fifth time Smith and I have done this. It is possibly going to be the last for a while, we kinda feel we need to seek out new things, but we shall see. M’era Luna does have an excellent atmosphere and I think we’ll be back at some point in the future.

As is now the standard we left on the Thursday and drove to a hotel in Bochum. We should have got there in time to have a meal out and see the town but instead there were power issues with the Eurotunnel that delayed our journey on the train by three hours, that was quite frustrating, but we did walk a couple of miles along the main road and find zero bars. Yep, zero. There were two gambling dens but zero bars. I’m not sure if that’s the Germany I imagined.

Lovely skies above the campsite
Campsite Sky

Friday morning means driving the last two and a half hours to Hildesheim and getting to the festival. This part of the journey went well. The traffic was queueing to get into the car park and so Smith ran to join the queue to get us a decent tent spot. It’s quite amazing how quickly the massive campsite fills up with tents. I got parked and dragged most of the kit to the tent. After that, we chilled and wandered and thought about getting ready for the disco that evening.

Friday Night at M'era Luna
Friday Night at M’era Luna

Tickets for the disco were different from years before, we had to buy a wristband which was the standard 5 Euros. As we arrived in the disco there was some decent heavier music being played and it was DJ’d by a guy from the band Unzucht. After a short while it did change style as someone else took over and the music went a bit shit. Smith and I had drunk quite a bit. He lost his glasses. It was about 0200 when we quit and I went for a shower. That night I wandered back from the showers down the runway to the tent, the air was warm and I was happy.

Saturday was going to be hard work. There is always one night when there’s a little too much alcohol consumed. Last year it was the Prodigy gig and Saturday night. This time we overdid it on the Friday! Hangover protocols were now in place. But, there were bands to see starting at 1100 and so things had to get ready. I sometimes feel I physically suffer for my art.

Saturday at M'era Luna
Saturday at M’era Luna

Saturday’s theme for me was future-dystopian-cyber outfit. This was pretty much all home-made and I was very happy with the results. Smith had problems with his horns and so I watched the first band by myself.

Null Positive – main stage. Female fronted metal band, bit like Arch Enemy. quite enjoyable. Two female”dancers” on stage, playing with smoke and fire.

The gas mask on my outfit was really pulling into my head and making me experience pain. Plus the hangover wasn’t helping.

Sudenklang – main stage. I didn’t write anything else here so I don’t remember how good or bad they were.

Centhron – hangar stage. Fast beats, bit boring. It was during this set that I decided to go and get rid of the gas mask. It was hurting me and the backpack was annoying. Also, it was a warm day and I had about three layers on. I returned to the tent [about 15 minutes walk away] to get changed into boring normal clothes. I had been photographed and so thought it time to feel comfortable.

Corvus Corax – main stage. Four bagpipers medieval/folk stuff. It’s basically metal but with bagpipes. It’s not very inspiring stuff and the singer was terrible but the Germans love this shit.

We heard Oomph! while we ate food and I don’t remember being impressed. It’s a terrible band name also!

Agonoize – hangar stage. Bit disappointing really, I had heard some of their stuff and I was hoping for a really “edgy” show. The singer squirted blood three times, he pretended to cut his wrist and let the “blood” spray out for most of the songs. Finished with Breathe as a tribute to Keith, but it was a terrible version.

Agonoize - Hangar Stage, M'era Luna
Agonoize – Hangar Stage, M’era Luna

Lacrimosa – main stage. 1.2 songs. Yeauugh.

SITD – Hangar. solid but only got going after second singers song. Lead singer doesn’t know words to some songs and was reading. The sound at front not great, the system speakers are quite wide and so a lot of the dynamic was missing from being close to the front.

SITD - Hangar Stage, M'era Luna
SITD – Hangar Stage, M’era Luna

Die Krupps – Hangar stage. Saturday headliners. We watched from slightly further back and the sound was much better. This band are really good and their show has been excellent every time I’ve seen them. I’d happily go and see them again. I’d recommend them to anyone.

Die Krupps - Hangar Stage, M'era Luna
Die Krupps – Hangar Stage, M’era Luna

That was the end of the Saturday for us. I think ASP were playing the main stage as we left, I wasn’t bothered at all about seeing him. It had been a long day. We had both had problems with the sun cream running into our eyes and causing massive hayfever type symptoms. Overall the music had been great but I felt dead.

Saturday Steps
Saturday Steps

From the above picture you can see I walked quite a bit that day. I also hadn’t slept much, which was going to be the pattern for the whole weekend really.

On the Sunday I woke to the sound of someone calling “Kaffee”. I popped my head out of the tent and had coffee poured freshly for me from one of the festival workers. He had a large backpack with a supply of drink and all the accoutrements on his belt for a perfect coffee and only 3 Euros. Bloody lovely.

It might be time to talk about the pooing situation at festivals. I mean, this shouldn’t be talked about but too make the process as easy as possible it takes planning and hard work. Firstly, eating vegetarian reduces the amount of time required in the portaloos. Next, pick your portaloos carefully. The ones on the runway are very busy and stink. I mean they stink more than others. So, go to the toilets in the car park. Leave the festival site and walk a bit. This needs to be planned for after waking and coffee. Next up, take the portaloo furthest west. The one in the east gets sunshine on it and heats up. This increases smells. So, to sum up, find the least used loos, and use the coolest one.

Getting ready on Sunday was easy, it was an old costume being recycled.

Sunday at M'era Luna
Sunday at M’era Luna

I kept the hood with me as the Sun was warm and I didn’t want to burn my skin.

Fear of Domination – main stage. Finish. Male and female singer. Good bass drop. Good solid set.

Fear Of Domination - Main Stage, M'era Luna
Fear Of Domination – Main Stage, M’era Luna

Yellow Lazarus – hangar stage. Ok. EBM but fast, not great. Two songs. It’s like Aqua (Barbie girl) on speed. Pretty sure we only caught a few of their songs.

Scarlet Dorn – main stage. Slow melodic rock with female singer. Keyboardist is from LOTL. This sort of music is fine in the background but it didn’t really rock.

At some point I went to get changed, again! It was another hot day and I wasn’t enjoying being in my costume. My head was sweating a lot under the gas mask.

Formalin – hangar stage. Live drummer. Keyboards. Singer. Pretty good. Very good crowd interaction. Good song dynamics.

Heldmaschine – hangar stage. Blue LEDs on costumes and drumsticks. Two guitars (one a lefty). Bass. Drums. Singer. Backing track somewhere.

Combichrist – main stage. Fucking amazing.

Combichrist - Main Stage, M'era Luna
Combichrist – Main Stage, M’era Luna

There’s a video of the Combichrist gig. This one was amazing. You can see it here:
https://www.ndr.de/nachrichten/niedersachsen/Mera-Luna-2019-Combichrist-spielen-in-Hildesheim,combichrist104.html

I’m in there a few times, as is Smith, I’ll leave you to find it though. After this show I had to keep pouring water over my head to cool down. I think I had over done it. At least I didn’t get a cracked rib from the PIT unlike Smith.

Goodnight Skies - M'era Luna
Goodnight Skies – M’era Luna

Suicide Commando – hangar stage. Really good but I lefty feeling unwell. Sounds better a distance from stage, speakers too wide at very front. I needed cool air. Spotted the SITD guy in front of SC.

Suicide Commando - Hangar Stage, M'era Luna
Suicide Commando – Hangar Stage, M’era Luna

VNV Nation – main stage for a few songs. Ok, but the gig at the Scala was amazing.

After this it was shower time and a walk down the runway. Then, Monday we just had to drive home. On the way we had planned to stop just into Germany for photos but because of the delays at the tunnel we chose not to. We had plenty of time on the return journey and so we stopped on that:

Wankum, De
Wankum, De

I couldn’t tell you why we chose to stop here!

The excitement didn’t end in Germany! We got to the Channel Tunnel a few hours before our crossing and so paid a little extra to get home earlier than originally planned. This was good as Smith only had prescription sunglasses left after losing his in the disco and he didn’t want to drive home in the dark. As we approached the Maidstone junction on the M20 one of the front tyres blew and deflated quickly. This was very annoying. We managed to pull off the motorway and put the spare on. We were about three miles from my house.

I’ve had the car looked at and it it probably a tracking issue which caused the insides of the tyre to wear down too far. This will hopefully be fixed on Monday or Tuesday. I’m just glad that it blew where it did rather than 500 miles away in Germany. That would have been quite a shitter.

So, M’era Luna 19 was amazing and fun. It was also hard work and a challenge. Next year, we will see what happens. Maybe I’m too old for this shit?

Rammstein – MK Stadium

This Was Warm

Last Saturday I went to see Rammstein play their current set at the MK Stadium in Milton Keynes. It was bloody amazeballs.

Early Fire
Early Fire

I had spent the previous week at RAF Shawbury with a cadet camp which was already a brilliant week and I then topped it off with this brilliant show. I drove down from the West Midlands to Milton Keynes and met with Smith in a supermarket car park. This gig is an important one because he had brought his kids along, their first major gig. You could tell that there was a slight trepidation from the eldest [around 14] but the youngest displayed nothing but sheer excitement [around 12].

The support band were two women who played pianos on a stage just in front of our seats. It was nice but I didn’t really pay attention. I was suffering with the effects of being tired and so I read a book on the development of the pressure suit for high altitude flying published by Nasa. It wasn’t bad but I needed to rest!

Extinguishers?
Extinguishers?

Rammstein themselves were amazing. Absolutely amazing. The show they put on is remarkable and worth every penny of the 7500 for the cost of a ticket. There were the normal theatrics with lots of fire. And I mean lots of fire. There were black clouds bellowing over the stadium at certain points during the show and I wondered what it must look like to someone outside the stadium.

Angel Of Fire
Angel Of Fire

There were many highlights. Every song had its own act. The keyboardist being burnt in a massive cauldron, the burning to death of a giant baby, the massive riding cock for the song “Pussy”, and flames shooting from guitars.

This might seem odd but the dance track halfway through made my night. That was the moment I thought “this is the best show ever”. One of the guitarists DJd while being lifted high above the stage and the other members of the band came on with suits that lit up along the limbs. They then performed a dance routine to an electronic version of thier own song. What balls, to make 30,000 metal fans listen and dance to electronic music. This band have it all.

This was the best show I have ever seen and is the third best gig I have been to. The Prodigy last year at M’era Luna may have been an excellent show, I don’t know I can’t remember any of it. This concert would have been top of the list had I been in the pit. You have to take whatever you can from a gig and I loved this but part of me hankered to be in the mild violence of the circle. I still had a great time. My top three gigs are: Combichrist Old School, The Prodigy and Rammstien – this one.

This Was Warm
This Was Warm

This is the thrid time I have seen Rammstein and it was bloody brilliant.

“Did I mention? I’m seeing Rammstein in Milton Keynes this weekend.”

Aesthetic Perfection – O2 Islington

Last night I went to the O2 Academy in Islington with my niece to see Aesthetic Perfection. We drove into town as it just makes it easier to get home and not worry about running to get the last train. After arriving we had burritos for dinner and then headed to the venue.

Machine Rox were playing, this was a slight surprise as they weren’t on the bill as far as I knew but we watched them anyway.

Machine Rox
Machine Rox

I didn’t mind them. The singer owned the dress she was wearing and that was excellent. I couldn’t understand what she was singing though and that seems to be a bit of a flaw. The drummer doesn’t really do much and the guitarist is pretty cool in his silver outfit and lights on his head. They were OK.

Next up was Amelia Arsenic. I hadn’t heard of her before this series of concerts and so was curious. She came on stage and explained that her band were stuck in Cincinnati and she’d been hit by a car the day before. She had a computer set up to play the music and her performance was really good. I could understand what she was singing and really enjoyed the show.

Amelia Arsenic
Amelia Arsenic

I can’t remember how many tracks she sang but I was impressed. On my next pay day I think I’ll be buying some of her work. I don’t think there are enough female artists in this genre and it’s good to see more. She had a wonderful confidence and even came and sang the last verse in the crowd.

Priest were up next. I’m still not sure what to make of this band. I enjoyed it for a while and his signing impressed me but the songs didn’t vary much and were built around his seemingly classically trained voice. I thought I detected a slight French accent but I may have been wrong there. Apart from the outfits there didn’t seem to be much going on stage.

Priest
Priest

I’ve just checked and the band are from Sweden, so that explains why I thought they were French. I did like that the singer called themselves:

The Cybernetic Trinity known as Priest

It was a nice touch. I don’t think I’d need to see more of them though.

The headliners were Aesthetic Perfection. I’ve seen this band a few times and have always enjoyed the show. They were the second EBM type band that I started listening to and so are one of my original favourites along with Combichrist. Also, now that Joe Letz plays with AP I think that means I have seen him perform more times than any other musician.

Aesthetic Perfection
Aesthetic Perfection

I was curious to see how the band handled the new guitar influences on the new album but the keyboardist played the guitar on two songs and I think it worked. I like the new album a lot and so to hear the songs live was very exciting.

The band played a solid set and it was very enjoyable. It’s nice to be part of a crowd that really sings along and joins in. These guys are excellent showmen and the addition of Joe Letz brings the album sounds to life. I always think that live drummers add more to the sound than they cost. I really like it when electronic bands do that.

Classic Guitar Pose
Classic Guitar Pose

This gig was good fun and I enjoyed it immensely. AP are still one of my favourite bands and I will continue to see them when they come over. A good solid evening of music.

Nachtmahr – Electrowerkz

Last night was a chance to listen to some classic Austrian Industrial music at Electrowerkz. It’s in Torrens Street, Angel, which is a tiny little cul-de-sac with a smart pub at its entrance and an Alien-themed industrial-alternative club for other people at the other end.

I think last night was the forth time I’ve got clothes on and ready in another person’s driveway. I park in spaces that people don’t use, but I’m not a thief, I pay for the privilege to keep my car there.

First band on at Electrowerkz was Dunkelsucht. This probably translates to either dark thoughts or depression. I’m not sure and in this day and age it’s terrible that I haven’t looked up which it is. Maybe I’m too lazy. OK, I just went and did it and it apparently means Dark Investigated. I suspect not!

Dunkelsucht
Dunkelsucht

This band comprised a male singer and a female computer controller type person. They are from Switzerland and I quite enjoyed them. It seemed quite pop-like to me, but I suspect that in reality it’s quite heavy stuff? I’m never sure and I hate the fact that it’s all so subjective. I wrote in my notes that it was OK, they had good beats and I enjoyed it overall. I did find that in the middle of a few songs it suddenly went strange with melodies that seemed out of place.

The next band on were DKAG and I’ve seen them before a number of times. Smith and I stayed in the bar. I spent thirty seconds watching them, just to check they were the same. There’s a limit to how much I can take. I’ve kinda come to the conclusion that I really enjoy about forty five minutes of any band and show but after that I start to get bored because all the songs sound the same. I think that’s either because I enjoy M’era Luna and the shorter sets that I generally see there or the causation is the other way around and I just find shorter sets more interesting.

The headliners were Nachtmahr. As with the last time I saw them here there were only two of them. The singer, Thomas Rainer, and the computer controller were all by themselves. I know there were about five people on stage at M’era Luna although two of those were female stage show actors.

Nachtmahr - March 19
Nachtmahr – March 19

Nachtmahr played for a solid ninety minutes and if I’m honest I only started to struggle in the last fifteen or so, even given my rant a couple of paragraphs ago. They were pretty good, but I don’t think Rainer is a natural frontman. To me he looks like he’s playing an act, which all singers are to an extent, but he seems uncomfortable with it. I don’t mind that though. I’ve paid to see a show and I don’t want my musicians to look like they aren’t enjoying it.

Hello Crowd
Hello Crowd

This set had a load of classic songs you would expect to hear. I enjoyed it a lot.

What I found most interesting at the venue was that I would say it was easily a 50-50 split in the sexes of those attending. There was also a wide age spread from around 18 to around 65 from the looks of the people I saw. It was quite probably the most diverse audience I have seen yet for a gig. It was such a nice atmosphere, really enjoyable. A good night.

Lord Of The Lost – The Garage

Smith and I traveled to the lofty intellectual heights of Islington last night to visit the Garage venue just outside Highbury station. On the bill were Lord Of The Lost, a German rock band, the venue was meant to be Electrowerkz but I think they sold more tickets than expected and they moved the gig to the Garage.

This was my third time at the Garage and again I was impressed. It’s smaller than I remembered, a nice, cosy (but not squashed) venue. I will say now that the sound in the place was pretty impressive and worked well. Probably better than Electrowerkz but I think this is largely to there being a little more space. Possible improvements would be a light beam a little further out from the stage to light up the bands a little more from the front rather than from a 3/4 position.

The second band were just finishing as we entered and they weren’t that impressive.

One of my favourites on as last support act were Unzucht. I’d seen them before at two M’era Luna festivals and I was looking forward to this.

Unzucht
Unzucht

They were good fun and played a decent set. They play a good hard riffage and then go and mess it up with an almost-ballad in the middle but I enjoy their style and it was good fun.

The headliners came on and I wasn’t really aware of the time but when I did look at my watch it was only 21:30 so for some reason there was an early curfew. It looked like they were setting up an urban-disco type thing.

Lord Of The Lost were good. It was a solid fun set and they seemed genuinely happy to be playing to a large-ish crowd.

Lord Of The Lost
Lord Of The Lost

I don’t really remember what songs they played but they started with “On This Rock” and ended with “La Bomba” which is always good for fun. Somewhere in the middle they played “Drag Me To Hell”.

It was a good evening and one that I ended too early really because I needed to be up early the next day [boo!]. Normally there would be more written here but I’m tired.

Black Celebration 2018

I spent a lovely amount of time with Smith at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town on Sunday. The event was the Black Celebration music festival of all types of dark music. Of most interest was the band Suicide Commando. The event was promoted by the Flag Promotions company who run so very many of the gigs and concerts I go to. Obviously my music tastes are aligned with some of theirs.

Black Celebration 2018
Black Celebration 2018

Here are my reviews of each band in order of viewing. As is my usual behaviour I write notes on my phone during or after each act to help me remember what I’ve seen. That is why the comments may be pithy or short.

Machine Rox – were first up. We arrived towards the end of their set as Smith and I were having make-up issues. But they were ok. My notes indicate the following: female singer, there was a guitarist but I couldn’t hear him.

Machine Rox Machine Rox

I liked the dancers who came on for the last song wearing outfits similar to the lead singer. It was a nice touch.

Next up were DKAG who are quickly becoming my most-seen band. They are supporting many bands over the next year. While the music is good there are no vocals and so unless I am wasted on alcohol I’m not that interested. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before but I like crowd interaction from the band, I want to know that they are enjoying it. Two guys with their keyboards doesn’t quite hit the mark.

There was now a short dinner break for me. The local cafe was very welcoming and the food was nice. Recommended. It was Mem’s Cafe on Kentish Town Road.

The return to the Forum meant the last few songs from Sulpher. This band sounded good and heavy with a decent industrial feel.

Sulpher Sulpher

My notes are: guitars and heavy stuff. A little bit of samples mixed in. We saw about 4 songs and it was alright.

Let me explain the “alright” comment. This means I enjoyed it more than a lot of others. While “alright” might not seem a glowing review it means that the music was OK, suitable etc. [I’m trying to renormalise the term AVERAGE and OK to mean what they really mean].

Empathy Test came up next. I have seen this band before although I couldn’t remember exactly where or when. Smith and I had a discussion about who the lead singer was. Once they were on stage I figured out that they had played Infest last year and I saw them there. Here’s what I noted at the time: only 20 seconds in and I was done. Remember them from Infest. Boring vocals and drone-like. Slow. Female drummer who looks like she’s concentrating too much. Well constructed songs but boring.

Suicide Commando rocked the venue. I don’t mind the graphic visuals of people with holes in their bodies where holes shouldn’t be. This band was really good. A real uplift from the previous band.

Suicide Commando Suicide Commando

I still maintain that a live drummer rather than a machine or dead person makes such a difference to a gig. I really enjoyed Mr Commando!

My notes say only the following:

heavy, fast and dirty. Great.

More Suicide Commando More Suicide Commando

And then we get to Mesh. This might be the third time I’ve seen Mesh and they seem almost bored to be on stage. There’s not a lot of interaction. My only notes were:

Kinda boring

The Young Gods came on stage next. I knew nothing about them but I could see three white lights thinly blazing over the positions of the band on stage and I liked that set up. It worked really well. The first song was very Pink Floyd with a slow build up to not-a-lot and then a slow wind down. It felt like the crowd didn’t really know when the song finished. But, this band were older and clearly excellent musicians with that easy style of people who have worked together for so long.

The Young Gods The Young Gods

My scrawled notes say:

Interesting but not really my stuff. turning into experimental upbeat music. Still quite psychedelic. Good beat to some songs. Enjoyable.

Finally we had DAF. A band I had seen at M’era Luna and a band that didn’t impress hugely. I get it that without DAF and other older bands that my style of preferred music wouldn’t exist but I’m also allowed to find their stuff a little boring. I think I would be the same with Nitzer Ebb and other bands from the 80s and 90s. Smith and I stayed for a while but in reality we both had work the next day and long-ish journeys home. Maybe I’ll see a complete Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft set one day.

[:SITD:] – Electrowerkz

Throughout the rain I struggled yesterday to get to Angel. Well, it wasn’t a struggle but I wanted drama! Smith and I got to Angel with plenty of time for a few drinks before heading to Electrowerkz for an evening of music and atmosphere.

First band up on this quadruple bill was My Hysteria. They had a good solid beat but the songs were a little long and the singer needed more variation in his voice. He also didn’t manage to fit his audience participation in with the music but maybe that will change for him as the band progresses.

My Hysteria
My Hysteria

Second band were called Matt Hart. That may have been the name of the singer, the guitarist or the band. I don’t know. I also missed the beginning of the set. My notes go as follows:

Singer. Guitarist. Heavy bass drum beat, samples. Heavy guitar. Not quite working. Not sure why. Needs a live drummer??? Distorted voice. Lacks an “energy”.

I guess that’s something they could work on as well. I do understand that this reviewing stuff is very subjective and so should you. We probably don’t like the same things. However, I do like a decent live drummer.

Matt Hart
Matt Hart

Thirdest up was a band I had seen twice before. Biomechanimal are a regular support band over here and they played before the headliners. The main question is whether I thought they were any good. I’m not sure they were. My issues with this band are that the vocals are too distorted, I can’t hear the bass player and apart from the last two songs which were very “dance” the rest were a bit, meh. I have previously written about this band and commented then that I couldn’t hear the bass player. Disclosure: I play bass.

Biomechanimal
Biomechanimal

Finally we get to the German headliners. Shadows In The Dark or [:SITD:]. They were really good. I’d seen them at M’era Luna before. I like listening to their albums. I do think that their sound can get a little repetitive and so I thought it might be a bit like the Hocico gig. However, it was way better than that. The sound was very good. They proved that the right band in the right venue can be awesome. All their songs were enjoyable and the beat varied throughout to keep interest. It did not feel like an eighty minute set.

SITD
SITD

It was quite clear that the lead singer is suffering with his identity dealing with hair loss. I don’t think there’s ever any need to wear a beanie hat indoors. The main singer was reasonably energetic and even got down into the crowd to sing a verse and chorus of a song, a nice touch.

SITD
SITD

The [:SITD:] gig gets a solid 7.5 out of ten. I very pleasant and enjoyable evening drinking amaretto and cranberry juice. I definitely don’t have cystitis now!