Nine Inch Nails – The Eden Project

This weekend has been pretty awesome. Smith and I drove down to Cornwall yesterday to see the band Nine Inch Nails. There aren’t many bands that would have the draw to get us to travel the width of the country but NIN are one of them. Firstly we stayed at a hotel in Okehampton which was on the route and far enough away from Eden to make the journey home this morning less by an hour. While waiting in Okehampton I persuade Smith that we should try and see a viaduct!

Meldon Viaduct - Okehampton
Meldon Viaduct – Okehampton

We parked near the reservoir and walked down by the river to the viaduct. Climbed up and walked the length of the bridge/viaduct. On the return journey we saw Dartmoor ponies and they were rather cute. We also got up close and personal with the dam holding back the reservoir waters.

Meldon Reservoir - Okehampton
Meldon Reservoir – Okehampton

After the walk and some food we drove to Eden. Parking was at the top of the project but there were shuttle buses up and down before and after the concert. It was lovely wandering through the biomes with 6000 other metal fans. It was absolutely pissing it down outside at this point with a lightning storm. The noise of this inside the biomes was like a small jet taking off, quite spectacular.

First band on were Yves Tumor. Not really my thing. Listened to a couple of songs but left it at that. Wandered around for a while.

Yves Tumor - Eden Project
Yves Tumor – Eden Project

Nine Inch Nails were quite spectacular. There wasn’t much interaction with the crowd from Trent Reznor. But is was still an amazing show. I hadn’t noticed until right towards the end of the concert that the biomes had lights and lit up as part of the show. The sound quality was really good and the fact there were only 6500 people attending made it quite an intimate venue. It’s the largest concert I’ve been to for years (mostly because of covid).

NIN - The Eden Project
NIN – The Eden Project

Andy disappeared into the pit on the second song which was “Wish” from The Downward Spiral. I maintained my composure until they started playing March Of The Pigs and I joined in with the pit. I didn’t stay there, I just hovered on the edge and enjoyed the show.

At one point Trent spoke and said there were two things that happened this evening that had never happened at any other gig. First, he made a mistake playing one of his songs and secondly, there was a rainbow. The rainbow was enjoyed by the crowd, it was quite life-positive-affirming.

NIN Rainbow
NIN Rainbow

It was a great concert. As we left and walked up the winding path to the main entrance my niece called both of us and drunkenly chatted which was pretty funny. Also, the biomes were lit up thus:

Eden after Nine Inch Nails
Eden after Nine Inch Nails

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.

I Just Don’t Like That Green

Last night I traveled to Wembley to watch the first of this season’s NFL London matches. The game was between the Oakland Raiders, who were playing “home”, and the Seattle Seahawks. I’ve got a list on these pages showing who I’ve seen over the years, you can read it here. I chose to support the Raiders for this match. Mostly because I had seen them before and also because I can’t stand that green flash on the Seahawks’ uniform.

NFL Wembley
NFL Wembley

The game was not a good one. Seattle won easily.

To get to the stadium I drove the car around the M25 and followed Google Maps to the Preston Road car park. Although the car park was fifteen minutes walk form the stadium it was also in the “right” direction – away from the centre of the city. It meant that getting out of the stadium and out of the area was easy. Overall it was a good afternoon but I can’t help feeling that NFL games can be quite anticlimactic.

Thrashersaurus

Part One Of

“The Weekend Of Noise”

With the lovely weather on Saturday I decided to join friends at a pub in Norwich. It’s quite a way to go, it took two and a half hours to get there I think although the traffic along the M11 was pretty slow all the way. Why Norwich? Well, it’s not for nostalgia’s sake. I’m pretty certain the last time I was there was in 1989 for an afternoon while I attended cadet camp at RAF Swanton Morley. I remember seeing the cathedral and then having a pizza in a restaurant on a hill with some other cadets. I think Swanton Morley wasn’t really set up for an influx of eighty cadets and we felt starved!

I travelled to Norwich to attend THRASHERSAURUS at the Brickmakers pub somewhere in the Anglian city. I just followed the Sat Nav, I didn’t really know where I was going, although I had checked out parking and the local area using Google Maps, that seems the sensible thing to do.

It seems quite obvious to me but Thrashersaurus is a thrash metal festival for local bands and a few more well known ones on the UK scene. I could only be there for the Saturday and Xentrix were headlining. They are a band I have known about for about 25 years and I even own some of their stuff!

So, I kept notes as the day progressed and now I present them to you. They aren’t comprehensive but they give a flavour of what I thought. The venue was better than I had expected. The two stages were a good size and the clientele were your pretty standard metal heads; all there for a good time and pretty friendly.

Uridium – pretty good, well structured metal songs, like a faster Saxon.

Uridium - Thrashersaurus
Uridium – Thrashersaurus

Crawlblind – on the main stage. Shouty metal/thrash. Whatever.

Crawlblind - Thrashersaurus
Crawlblind – Thrashersaurus

Clownsmasheverything – on the B2 stage. Not thrash. Seemed like fast late 80s rock to me. 10 seconds of really heavy riff that was great.

Vendetta – main stage. Shouty but not growly. A band of short fat men. Reasonably good. Singer running up and down in front of stage.

Cryptic Shift – B2 stage. The fuck!? Experimental wank. Walked out.

Soulborn – main stage. Shouty vocals. Ok. Some good riffs. Only on guitarist. Some off-beat cymbal action. Nice one. Singer forgot his guitar apparently.

Psython – B2. Wailing vocals. Speed metal. From Rotherham?

Killer Hurts – Main Stage. Less technical than Testament but that style. Very 80s style thrash. Ok for what it is. Song : Blunt Force Trauma: Hilarious.

Lifer – B2. From South Wales apparently. Down tuned guitars very heavy slow riffs. Song: Words Of The Wise. Best so far.

Shrapnel – main stage. After a brief sit down went and saw last 20 mins. Quality fast thrash. Early Metallica sounds, but not quite as good and possibly 30 years too late.

Shrapnel - Thrashersaurus
Shrapnel – Thrashersaurus

Dinner time.

Reprisal – B2. Fast. Heavy noise. Not that impressive.

Incinery – main stage. Bit shit. Snare drum sounded really bad. Too much constant drumming, not enough variation. Sat down.

Forgotten Remains – B2 from Chesterfield apparently. Shouty growly vocals, no idea what he’s saying. Fast and loud, no real subtlety to it! Played The Trooper last, speeded up.

Xentrix – main stage. What I’ve been waiting for. Tight, thrash metal. Very well executed.

Xentrix - Thrashersaurus
Xentrix – Thrashersaurus

All this finished at 23:15 and after some goodbyes I had to drive back to Kent to ensure I could take part in the second part of The Weekend Of Noise”.

VNV Nation – Scala

The Scala is a curious venue in Kings Cross. It might not actually be in Kings Cross geographically but it is close enough to the station and so that is where I proclaim it to be. I had been here before to see Therapy? and quite liked the venue. This time I was watching VNV Nation who I very briefly saw last year at M’Era Luna when they got a harsh review from me but Smith and I were rushing off to see Hocico so we only saw them briefly.

Doors were at 7pm and we got in there around 19:30 hrs after grabbing some food at a Cho Zen [where I had never eaten before]. The room is up three flights of art-deco stairs [I think they were art-deco] and around a few corners. It’s not an easy venue to fire exit I imagine.

This particular tour was a compendium tour. I hadn’t realised that, I think Smith and I got tickets because we thought the atmosphere and people would be quite similar to Slimelight and we figured the music would be bearable. There was no support. Just straight in to VNV Nation playing loud and proud.

I didn’t know a great deal about the band before this gig and I still don’t really but I can tell you the singer is Irish. He also has similar issues with people using camera phones as I do. After the first song he said that he is happy with people videoing or photographing the band but everyone needed to turn off their flash/lights and also keep the camera in front of their own face, not block those around. In terms of the flash he is spot on. Why use a low powered flash in that sort of scene, it won’t work, it’ll just ruin your final product.

VNV Nation
VNV Nation

One of my issues with people and cameras is they use the digital zoom to get a “better close up” but the problem is they would be better off taking a full zoomed-out picture and then cropping. Digital zoom and cropping achieve roughly the same thing but less jerky.

More VNV Nation
More VNV Nation

So, I need to speak about the songs. All of their songs are pretty good. They are well constructed and good to dance to. The lead singer was good at getting the crowd going and he was really the only one doing any movement as the others were stuck behind electronic stuff.

They played two slow songs. During a song, which may or may not have been a slow one, the singer got the lights turned down and the room was lit by people holding the lights on their phones up. This was very nice and atmospheric.

https://www.facebook.com/42907656257/photos/10154257794271258/

This was a good fun gig. Nearly three hours of a single band playing their greatest songs from over twenty years of work. I enjoyed it. I’d happily see them again.

The “scene” wasn’t as alternative as I was expecting. There weren’t that many people who were part of the dress up scene such as the ones at Slimelight or M’Era Luna.

Quality Gig
Quality Gig

M’era Luna 2015

Smith and I travelled to Germany to a music festival over the summer. We searched many festivals to find the right one for price, distance and bands, although that wasn’t the order of the criteria. We settled on M’era Luna, a gothic/industrial festival that takes place on an old British Army Air Corps airfield near the town of Hildesheim, just south of Hanover.

On the Friday we traversed the channel via a train that carries cars [just imagine! a train that can carry cars! UNDER the sea! We humans are ingenious!] and headed to Germany. We used just a Sat Nav device, neither of us had a proper map. France, Belgium and the Netherlands were all pretty boring and we longed for some hills or vague scenery. The world kept track of our journey via twitter.

The route took us on the ring roads of two large towns and the traffic slowed a lot around them, hindering our progress! Once in Germany we travelled fast on the autobahn although we did have a detour around the northern edges of Dortmund as the sat-nav didn’t quite warn about a lane change on a slip road in time and then the next junction was closed. Dortmund looked like the edges of any town.

The temperature was hitting 32 Celsius along the way and finally we arrived at the airport near Hildesheim. 500 miles, 1 tank of diesel and plenty of snacks and LOTs of music.

We only just managed to find somewhere to put up the tent. There wasn’t a great deal of space left in any of the campsite. Our spot was furthest as could be from the main festival area, but reasonable close to toilets and leaving on the Sunday.

That evening we wandered the festival area, drank some alcohol already purchased from a service station and went to the disco hangar. There was some pretty good music played and it was good fun.

After a good sleep we awoke to find that the air bed had stayed up and was really comfortable. We both went about our routines to get ready to leave our tent area. I needed to satisfy my caffeine addiction and stave off withdrawal symptoms by finding more caffeine to ingest. Just as we were getting dressed Andy managed to puncture the airbed. It slowly deflated. We found a repair kit and tried to stick on a patch. We would have to wait 6 hours before we knew whether it had worked.

I found coffee. I also found some food. The weather for the Saturday was meant to be slightly overcast with a chance of rain showers. It had rained quite heavily in the early morning but the ground was so dry from the scorching summer that it didn’t really create any puddles or mud. Shortly after the sun had arisen the whole place was dry. Once we were ready we headed to the festival area to check out the shops, food places and mediaeval village (with food places and shops). It was also a good chance to see how the arena and hanger were set up so we knew where toilets, drink entrances, exits etc.

There now follows a list of bands we saw with comments about them if I can remember them. It is a good few months since the festival while writing this, unlike my detailed descriptions about Download.

  • Nachtgeschrei
  • Versengeld (with person playing the hurdy gurdy and another on bag pipes)
  • Speilbann
  • Coppellius (who played some Maiden covers in the style of mediaeval rock)
  • The Other
  • Frozen Plasma (half of this band is Reaper which is good, but Frozen Plasma were a bit dull)
  • Lord of the Lost
  • L’ame Immortal
  • Aesthetic Perfection (3rd or 4th time seeing these and they were awesome)
  • In Strict Confidence (surprisingly ok even with a female singer)
  • Blut Engel (just no)
  • X-RX this band replaced Suicide Commando who had to pull out of the weekend. They were good and I liked it, but left to see . . . .
  • Rob Zombie who just blew the competition away and was professionally brilliant.

Sunday started with the search for caffeine and then food. The air bed did not stay inflated and so the night was reasonably uncomfortable. We had decided we would probably leave M’era Luna that evening and then drive as far as we could home before kipping in the car. The bands on Sunday were:

  • Private Pact (a bad goth, stand still, band)
  • Schwarzer Engel getting better, quite thrash, goth and heavy.
  • Unzucht were just a great band with heavy thrash riffs and a great guitarist.
  • Dope Stars Inc. were good but looked as though they had just come from the 80s!
  • Tying Tiffany was the surprise of the weekend. They started slow and boring but from the third song onwards it was full of energy and heavy. Just a great find for the summer.
  • Assemblage 23 dull. very dull.
  • Rotersand a great band, a great show and really put previous band to shame. I loved it.
  • Nachtmahr were slightly disappointing. It’s hard to pin point this. Their music is very good. But live, they just didn’t capture the mood. It was almost boring, even with two women acting out a fetish scene it was dull. Can’t quite figure it out.
  • Nightwish we said we would stay for two songs but managed just a half of one song. We then drove towards the UK.

A strange thing about the German crowds is that if you had your spot to watch from everyone stayed in that spot. No-one moved when a band appeared. There was no crush at the front. Andy and I were in the second row for a number of bands on the Sunday and there was room to dance, moved around and no crush. This was actually refreshing and pleasant. It made the weekend a much more enjoyable event that had there been the UK crush.

It was easy to leave the festival as the final band hadn’t finished. The roads were clear and we made fast progress across Germany and then the Netherlands. We agreed between us that we would stop at the first rest area we found after midnight. It was fascinating to see how the landscape changed from central Germany to the low lands. Flat and straight is pretty much every road after Germany. We stopped at some services about 1km before the Belgian border. I think we slept ok.

The Monday we woke, I found caffeine and then we drove towards Calais. We arrived at the tunnel way before we were due but we paid some extra money to be on an earlier train. This was worth it as it meant I got home before my family left for other things.

The excitement of the weekend continued to the Monday evening as Combichrist played the O2 Islington thing.