Aesthetic Perfection – The Lounge, Archway

Took my lovely niece and Smith to see Aesthetic Perfection last night at The Lounge 666 or whatever it’s called near Archway tube in London. Before the show we were just about to go to get food when I checked where the venue was and spotted Daniel Graves on his way out of the venue. I, very politely, asked if he would meet my niece because she loves him. I think I even used the phrase “I don’t mean to impose but would you mind . . . .”, jesus, what a british twat I can be. Anyway, he came over and met my niece and they had a photo taken. She was very happy.

The first band we saw, but second on the bill, was Jadu. Biomechanimal were on first but we missed them. That’s not a bad thing, we’ve seen them before a few times. Jadu are a German band who I quite enjoyed. There were four of them, a female singer and a drummer, guitarist and keyboard person. It was quite slow stuff but perfectly good. I quite enjoyed it. I did note that the sound of the kick drum was pretty good and didn’t over power the rest of the sound. I’m probably going to get a Jadu album, it was good enough for that.

Jadu - Archway
Jadu – Archway

Shortly after that Aesthetic Perfection came on stage and this is now the about 9th time I have seen Joe Letz. This makes him the artist I have seen most. I don’t mind. His on stage persona is brilliant and I enjoy his antics.

Joe Letz banging the fuck out of a drum
Joe Letz banging the fuck out of a drum

Aesthetic Perfection put on an amazing show. It was probably the best I have seen them and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The crowd was nice and pleasant. Even the six foot six female pair allowed those of us shorted than them in front. I spent the whole gig about three rows back from the front, which didn’t even have a barrier.

Daniel Graves and Elliot Berlin
Daniel Graves and Elliot Berlin

The band played for a decent length of time and I have to say I enjoyed it all. There was a moment when Joe Letz tapped Daniel in the penis and it was pretty funny. There’s a good camaraderie between them all. It’s nice to see a theremin being used at a concert, they’ve probably used them before I just didn’t notice it.

Aesthetic Perfection
Aesthetic Perfection

This was a bloody good gig. Probably the best I have seen them and I really enjoyed it. My niece managed to sweet talk one of the roadies and got a Joe Letz drum stick at the end of the gig. This will now go with her stick from a Combichrist gig a few years back. I am a little jealous.

Joe Letz's Knackered Drumstick
Joe Letz’s Knackered Drumstick

Well done AP and I look forward to seeing you again sometime soon.

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?

Fleisch – Fire

Fleisch were the main band in the venue Fire last night. They are an industrial metal band from somewhere up north. The first band though were called AlterRed.

I honestly can’t remember a huge deal about AlterRed! I don’t remember hating it but I don’t remember being incredibly impressed. It was watchable. I think Smith and I gave it about a 3/10 score, although the grading system for watching bands isn’t as rigorous as the cinema review section of this site.

I didn’t take any photos during the gig, it wasn’t that sort of place so I have found a music video and you can judge for yourself:

The only other band playing that night were Fleisch. There were better and rated at about a 5/10 by Smith and me. I’m not sure the sound was super brilliant and I certainly didn’t get a Rammstein feel, which they claim but it was a good performance. What I don’t understand is the need for separate bass tracks in the backing track and also a bass player, one or the other folks. Your sound doesn’t need two lots of deep sounds, one will do.

Here they are, again, no photos from me:

Arch Enemy – Koko

Last night I popped into town to see the band Arch Enemy. They are a Swedish heavy metal band [melodic death if you are interested] and played Koko, a theatre style venue about a mile away from Kings Cross. Koko is within easy walking distance of my terminus and so I don’t have to worry about getting the tube or missing my last train home. There were quite a few times when, as a teenager, I got stuck in London because once you get the tube back from Wembley to Liverpool Street the last train has gone.

Koko Glitterball
Koko Glitterball

First band up were Tribulation. I wasn’t too sure what to expect as the last metal gig I went to was Gojira and I had an awful headache that night. I’ve seen mostly EBM stuff over the last few years.

Tribulation
Tribulation

My main comment about this band would be that if Spinal Tap have already represented your style of music then you shouldn’t be playing it. This band were like the world hadn’t gone anywhere or done anything for about 30 years. I fully expected a Stonehenge to come down from the ceiling. My notes from the evening describe this band as “gothic metal” and then “epic long boring metal”. It was all witches and stuff. It was a giggle I guess.

Next up were Wintersun. My notes are “surprisingly good” very well constructed songs and played well together. There was lots of gang vocals and ooohing going on in the songs. It wasn’t quite viking metal but it came close in structure. Quite a few songs were fast with lots of double bass drumming [which is fine except when it’s over-used like it was]. The slow song was shit, it irritated me.

Wintersun
Wintersun

At one point the singer was drinking from what looked like a disposable Costa cup and we could see the tea bag label sticking out! TEA!! The guy was drinking TEA. Whatever floats your boat I guess. It’s probably better than alcohol for the throat. Here’s a short clip of stuff:

Headliners were Arch Enemy. I didn’t write any notes about them at the time because I enjoyed the gig enough. They were a tight band and put on a great show.

Arch Enemy
Arch Enemy

The crowd was really up for the mosh pit and I was on the edge of it for a short while but it soon became apparent that my leg injury wouldn’t hold up. I did something stupid to my Achilles about three weeks ago and putting weight onto my toes is not a good idea. The way the mosh pit moved meant I was regularly stepping back to get my balance and this eventually would ruin my ability to walk. Also, by this time my back was hurting so sadly and like an old man I went upstairs to watch from above and rest my weary body.

Alissa White-Gluz
Alissa White-Gluz

I’m not sure if this is the first metal band I have seen with a female lead singer but apart from being slim and curved there wasn’t a great deal of difference between her and a male singer. The band played for a solid ninety minutes and overall I was very impressed. I’d see them again. A very good collection of songs. This gig rates about a 7 on the Smith-Parish scale of GR.

Aesthetic Perfection – The Garage

Last night I took a little journey to The Garage in Islington to watch Aesthetic Perfection. Now, Mesh were the headline band and I had listened to them in advance and I didn’t like it or find it particularly interesting. I was primarily there to see Aesthetic Perfection and to take my niece out for her birthday. It is a good thing that AP tend to tour once a year because that makes her presents easy to organise. This is the second time she has seen AP and my fourth.

The first band on were called Empathy Test, which I have a suspicion is a reference to Blade Runner and Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? However, they weren’t much to my liking. There was a singer, two keyboard – programmer types and a drummer. All their songs were well constructed and perfectly fine but not enough to get me going.

Empathy Test
Empathy Test

Next up were Aesthetic Perfection. I like the Garage as a venue, the roof is nicely curved and I remember seeing Front Line Assembly here a few years ago. The sound was impressive and clear with a stage and rig more suited to music production than Electrowerkz, although Electrowerkz wins in coolness of a venue.

Aesthetic Perfection
Aesthetic Perfection

Because this was an acoustic set there wasn’t a drummer and I missed that a bit. I do think that a live drummer adds quite a bit of organic sound to a set. Now, I know they started with Antibody and played more songs but I can’t remember what all the songs were. I should have written them down as they played. The set was good, but missed Spit It Out and Motherfucker, which are songs I do enjoy.

What was nice about AP being second on the bill was that I could get home at a sensible time, but not sensible for a Sunday. It was a very good gig, not quite as good as at M’Era Luna last year but still pretty good. The rest of the Garage seemed to appreciate it also. Especially as I think AP’s music is a little more harsh industrial that the electronic of Empathy Test and Mesh.

Daniel Graves - AP
Daniel Graves – AP

Final band on last night were Mesh. Obviously many of the crowd had come to see this band, there were lots of Mesh t-shirts being worn. I decided to listen to a couple of songs. The first was OK and the second was just OK. I didn’t think it was anything special but I did like the stage set up. They had four 1m square LED screens made to look like a mesh of wires which was quite clever. It wasn’t enough to keep me there. We left.

Mesh
Mesh

In the picture you can see two of the large LED mesh based displays.

It was a very nice evening. We will hopefully see Aesthetic Perfection again next year.

Five Finger Death Punch

I snuck into London last night to see Five Finger Death Punch at The Forum in Kentish Town. Curiously Kentish Town didn’t look as Kent-like as the name implies. Here’s a power station viewed from the fast train from Ebbsfleet to St Pancras [who was a Roman convert to Christianity and beheaded for his belief].

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I had a pleasant walk from the London terminus to The Forum, about 40 minutes, and waited in The Assembly Rooms for Smith. Once he had arrived we chatted and ate. The queues to enter the auditorium were large, but gave us time to digest the contents of the flyers we were handed before discarding them in the traditional manner.

The first band on were called Pop Evil. They played ROCK. It was ok. Not to my current tastes but they were a good warm up band.

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Then, on came Upon A Burning Body. A band from Texas. They played pretty good music although I couldn’t understand most of what the singer sang. This didn’t worry me, I don’t really do lyrics. Although I wouldn’t go out of my way to see this band again they were pretty good over all. I liked the suits they wore.

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During their set all the lights stopped working and they carried on while lit from torches held by security and the guys in the “desk-in-the-middle”. The pit opened up in front of me and it was quite funny to see this close. Young men running in circles and generally pushing into each other. The atmosphere was one of comradeship as when someone fell down after being hit, they would be helped up by everybody. I saw a couple of rugby tackles and at some point it turned into a competition to see who would be the last man standing. Then, it went wrong. A short tubby man decided he was going to hit with his hands. He threw a punch and got warned to stop by most in and around the circle. He had gone too far. You don’t intentionally hit people in this small world of machismo. Then he threw another punch, caught a chap on the chin and stood gloating. About five guys rushed at him, pushing him to the floor and then two of them dragged the guy to the side and security. I didn’t see him again. As much as most people would look in horror at “the pit” it’s actually a safe place where, if you accept the rules, you will be looked after and everyone has the same needs.

Five Finger Death Punch burst onto the stage playing “Under and Over It”. There was energy and excitement. They played well and have a good stage presence. I was really impressed at Download last year and so was looking forward to this. They played songs. I don’t know the names of the songs. I just recognise them. I’m pretty sure my head is full up and can’t learn new song names. Also, the way I listen to music has changed. I no longer sit in my bedroom staring and the record sleeve, I play music while running, driving or working.

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It was a solid gig. They played well. They played 3 ballads too many. I hate ballads. The atmosphere gets lost and the energy of the room fades during ballads. Also, as a rock child of the eighties, ballads were how bands promoted themselves. They had their place but are not necessary anymore.

The set finished at 22:30. This made the FFDP stage time about seventy minutes which was rather short. I was hoping to hear four more hard and heavy songs when the houselights went up. I was left feeling a little disappointed. They didn’t quite “bring the house down” in my opinion. A big problem for me was the singing of the chorus to Champagne Supernova by Oasis. I never liked Oasis. I think they wrote poor songs, sang badly and were hyped in a battle with a group of real intelligent people who could write songs. Don’t be a metal band and then play some Oasis. They were shit. It’s shit and it makes you shit.

FFDP2

Mentallica – The Intrepid Fox

Went with Smith to see Mentallica play last night at The Intrepid Fox in London (St Giles High Street).

So, it was a tiny venue and packed with metal fans. Brilliant. The music was loud and heavy. All in all it was an enjoyable evening. I wanted more kick from the bass drum and “Hetfield”‘s guitar was rather quiet. The snare sounded quite “St Anger” and that can’t be good. So, apart from some minor points I rather enjoyed the whole thing.

The big problem is that Metallica or any other band of that type are rather safe nowadays. They used to be rebellious and dangerous but I don’t think they hit the mark any more. Slipknot and Rammstein filled that bill for a little while but now my allegiances have moved towards EBM and Industrial. See a future communication about what I feel about this.

It’s quite weird going from a small quiet leafy village in Kent to the bustling metropolis of London and seeing how busy everything is all around the clock! I used to live there and have forgotten what it’s like.

We had a Chipotle burrito for dinner and I really enjoyed mine. Seemed good value and vaguely healthy. Smith suffered with his! Oh dear.