Archive for the 'Metal Mayhem' Category

Gig Review: 30 Seconds to Mars at Manchester Academy 1, 27th January 2008

In what is possibly not an auspicious start to the gig-going for 2008 I attended my first emo gig since about 1996 (back when emo bands played church basements full of straight-edged teenagers and didn’t wear eyeliner), using a spare ticket that Bricking Chick had for 30 Seconds To Mars, the band fronted by none other than Jordan Catalano out of the TV show My So-Called Life. Most of you probably know him as Jared Leto. Having only a vague idea that the band play some sort of predictable emo rock, I was, I must admit, tempted enough by the notion of being able to gaze up at the rather nice looking Mr. Leto that I completely forgot about the last time I saw a rock band fronted by a Hollywood leading man – Keanu Reeves and his band Dogstar who were the laughing stock of Glastonbury in 1999 because they were so abysmally awful.

This was nowhere near as bad as that Dogstar performance. Thank goodness.

For starters, Jared Leto can actually sing. In fact, his voice reminds me a lot of that of Ed Kowalczyck of +Live+ whose first two albums are pretty good. 30 Seconds to Mars are actually pretty competent musicians who do a very good job of entertaining a crowd. While the songs were pretty derivative and the set contained far too many ballads, their music was in no way offensive or off-putting. It just wasn’t particularly memorable. On the whole, though, I liked the louder songs well enough and was somewhat amazed by the fact that this was more of a “rock” show than the Marylin Manson gig I attended back in December (which really was just theatrical pop). The only real downsides were the fact that we couldn’t get close enough to the stage to really see the band and the between-song banter which was just pathetic. Apparently a song which Bricking Chick informs me they wrote two years ago is actually about their trip to China they took last month which was, it would seem, “life-changing.” Whatever.

The highlight of the night was not actually the band, though, it was the teeming masses of 15-year-olds who were in the crowd (whose parents were queuing to collect them at the end of the night). They were brilliant. They were enthusiastic, they were screaming like the girls in those old videos of The Beatles, and I swear that the four girls in front of us, kitted out not only in 30 Seconds to Mars T-shirts and hoodies but also bags and wristbands, were crying at one point. Maybe the choice of band is a bit poor, but hopefully with that enthusiasm for their music in a couple of years they will have developed a taste for something a bit more challenging and unusual. The fans of today’s manufactured rock may well be the people buying records by the next At the Drive-In, Trail of Dead or even Mogwai.

So, musically, not as good a beginning as 2007, but still a hopeful start to 2008.

Touts Spoil Everything: That Led Zeppelin Ticket Lottery

When the details were announced for the Ahmet Ertegun tribute with the remaining live members of Led Zeppelin reforming to perform, Bricking Chick phoned me up and asked if I would please register. Her better half is a massive fan, as is she, and she knew that The Ledge and I, to put it mildly, are not. I happily obliged. I mean what better thing to do than to acquire tickets to the most talked about gig in the whole world and present them to a friend?

Well, it seems, the touts have spoiled even that.

So, anyone without a credit or debit card in your own name, parents trying to buy for their kids, kids trying to buy for their dads, and, well, anyone else who may have also chosen to register to get some tickets for someone they knew would desperately want a pair – if you don’t use them yourself, you’d better not buy them.

The email I received today telling me I was eligible to purchase two tickets reads as follows:

This passcode is non-transferable. Only the winner of the ballot as named above is eligible to purchase a maximum of 2 tickets using this passcode and a credit [or debit] card in their name.

It then goes on to inform me that, “Tickets purchased by anyone other than the winner of the ballot as named above will be cancelled. ” Then there’s some stuff about not being allowed to resell them or they get cancelled, before the following piece of joy:

Each original purchaser must provide the actual credit [or debit] card used for the purchase along with valid PHOTO ID (passport or driving licence) in order to receive the tickets and non-transferable wristbands. All wristbands will be fitted immediately. The name on your photo ID must match the name against which your passcode is registered AND the name on the credit [or debit] card used for the ticket purchase, otherwise you will be refused entry to the event.


There will be no exceptions to the above, no name changes or letters of authorisation will be accepted under any circumstances.

And then the two pieces of info explaining the idiotic restrictions listed above:

We reserve the right to cancel any ticket purchase made by any person whom we reasonably believe to be associated with any ticket broker or tout.


We are doing our best to keep the tickets for this event out of the hands of secondary ticket sellers and in the hands of the fans so please help us by adhering to the above.

So, in summary, the touting problem has gotten so bad that I cannot buy a pair of tickets and give them to a friend who is a massive fan, because if they don’t put stricter controls on the gig tickets than they do on security at airports, then these tickets, tickets for a charity gig, will be changing hands at prices that even the band, the promoter and TICKETMASTER realise are ridiculously high.

Now, if touting were illegal and all of these vile ticket resellers were put out of business; if eBay were to restrict tickets sold via their website to “Buy It Now” at face value ; if people didn’t have so little sense of morality that they were more than happy to sell tickets to other people just like themselves at prices they know cannot be afforded by the average person; and if music fans could control themselves and realise that the world won’t end if they miss one gig and refuse to pay these prices, refuse to buy from touts and shout and scream about the idiocy of the situation, then I could maybe get a pair of tickets for my friend and her partner and they could go see this gig.

And yet again, other people’s lack of ethics and decency is spoiling it for the rest of us. Good luck getting Glastonbury tickets folks.

Gig Review: Jet, Manchester Academy 1, November 4, 2006

Jet at Manchester AcademyI can’t tell you how much I have been waiting for this gig. After falling in love with this band from Melbourne whilst travelling around Australia in 2004 and watching them steal the show at V2005, this gig really was a long time coming. Cementing my place front row central, however, had its downsides in the form of an emo wannabe band whose name, for the life of me I cannot remember. If you want a description, the lead singer looked like a cross between Jack Black and a young Meatloaf who decided to do an impromptu gig on his way home from a funeral. The rest of band had serious style issues too: with the guitarist dressed in a camp pink shirt they looked all over the place. Musically they were OK, but I felt they were lacking experience. I suspect they have the potential to be good.

Next up came the 747’s, who, keeping on the styling issue a little longer, had a bassist with the bravest pair of tight yellow jeans I have ever seen in my life. This is the first time I have come across this band, although I had heard of them before in a good capacity, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. They have an inoffensive mellow guitar sound, which I liked. They were very competent on stage, but when you need all your brain power to absorb every mouth-watering moment of Jet they failed to come close. I would, if you are about, recommend checking these guys out though.

Now when it comes to live gigs there are three main types: first we have the Killers who sound great on disc, and although Brandon Flowers puts on a great show, they don’t quite carry off the sound; next are the Guns and Roses of this world whose records match the brilliance of their concerts in every way possible; then we have the Jets who really surpass almost every band in the way they perform. They have that unique ability to really make their music come alive and they sound so superb that the original record sounds empty without. This is some feat considering the albums they have.

Jet at Manchester AcademyThe gig was a mixture of old and new with a huge bucket of sweat thrown in as Nic Cester with cig in mouth rocked up on stage with sirens blazing. Opening up with ‘Come On Come On’ from their new album Shine On, the front rows were alive with energy. The hits kept coming with ‘Rollover DJ’ and ‘Get What You Need’ before they retreated back to the new album with ‘Stand Up’ and ‘Kings Horses.’ Each and every song was perfect and sung with heart — and that was just the crowd. Jet’s performance was undoubtedly one of the best I have ever seen, even when they brought it down a little to play a song close to the band’s hearts — their current single ‘Bring It On Back.’ Next up was ‘Cold Hard Bitch’ when the brewing crowd behind could not contain themselves and an avalanche of crowd surfers came overhead faster than scallies on the first day of a Nike sale. On a 1 minute video clip of this song there are a total of 11. This trend continued throughout the rest of the gig.

The encore was short-lived but the crowd did them proud as the place erupted for a second time for ‘Put your Money Where Your Mouth Is’ and finally ‘Are You Going To Be My Girl’ where the night took that strange twist to where all my nights seem to go. During the last verse, another crowd surfer, perhaps the 200th of the evening, fell on top of my friend, knocking her out. Luckily we were at the front and after waiting an hour the third ambulance turned up with the equipment they needed to carry her out. It was only at the hospital that we realised that the guy who fell on top of her was in the next room with a suspected broken leg, and by my book that made for the perfect ending to a perfect night — even the concussion I suffered the following day from his big size nines in the back of my head all seemed worth it.

Posted by Bricking Chick on 15th November 2006 at 10:48 pm | comments (5)
File under Gig Reviews,Metal Mayhem,Reviews.

Gig Review: Fratellis, Manchester Academy 1, October 28, 2006

I’ll apologise now for the rant that lays before you, but why, oh why, do venues/production teams/bands choose to play that incessant dossh dossh dossh that some describe as dance music before a gig with which it has no musical connection. It wasn’t that I was at the gig overly early, the music just seemed to go on forever. That is, however, until the support band Louie rocked up on stage with their two lead front men and their attitude.

With a distinct heavy London sound – and I mean that in a classic 70’s punk-era way – but so much harder, front men Jordon Smith and Gaz Tomlinson ROCKED the Academy back to its heyday and reminded us what venues were made for – screaming songs oozing with Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll, they presented a new twist to the world of punk. This six piece band, primarily from Yorkshire, had the crowd moving and kept the atmosphere warm for The Fratellis.

I must explain before I go any further, this gig ticket was purchased solely on the rebound due to lack of Killers tickets. I had bought the album in the lull before the release of both Jet’s Shine On and Killers’ Sam’s Town on the back of ‘Dolly Dagger’ which I still hold is a great track. These Glaswegians have almost created a new style in music with their interesting mix of old and new. Whilst some tracks sound very funky, others do have a serious splash of rock, yet there is a polished roughness that sets them aside. Despite my synopsis on their style, it is undisputed that the majority of their tracks inspire you to move. Tonight was no different when they mainly showcased the album Costello Music. Standing at the back it was clear to see they have a large following which became apparent as for the track ‘Henrietta’ the crowd did most of the vocal work. Astonishingly, the sound on the evening was superb for Louie yet the vocals for the Fratellis were slightly muffled whilst the music remained sharp and loud. Other tracks which followed included ‘Cuntry Boys and City Girls,’ but the poor sound quality which wasn’t damping the atmosphere at the front was sadly draining at the back. With the gig coming to an end, it was time for the make or break single of the evening as ‘Chelsea Dagger’ got the crowd alive again and the Academy jumped with a sea of 2000 heads bobbing up and down singing so hard that only the great guitar riff of this song could be heard over the crowd. After that song, at least a good few hundred decided enough was enough as they decided to leave.

All in all it wasn’t a bad gig, but it just didn’t live up to my expectations, although saying that I was expecting Killers tickets.

Posted by Bricking Chick on 9th November 2006 at 9:42 pm | comments (2)
File under Gig Reviews,Metal Mayhem.

Gig Review: Guns N Roses, MEN Arena, Sunday, 23rd July, 2006

It all started on a hot Sunday afternoon the hangover from the night before had melted away with each fresh slip of Bud. As I approached the city the air was electric with blackness in clothing and dodgy 80’s fashion. It was then the buzz of what was to come hit me. On entering the arena we were immediately reminded of the stroppy unpredictability of what is also known as Axl Rose.

The first band, Towers of London, were very bland, heavy AOR who at one point I believe got so carried away with themselves you would have thought they were the headliner. Second up, Bullet for my Valentine whose performance was the best I had seen in previous weeks, showing practice makes perfect. All that said, I am still not into their heaviness although after three shows I am warming to them and their guitar rifts. Next came the 1 hour and 45 minute wait in which we were treated to several topless girls and sadly even more topless men (If you have ever been to a Guns N Roses gig before, you would sympathise too). Then, out of nowhere, the lights dimmed and out rocked “Welcome to the Jungle” as the crowd erupted into a deafening cheer as our hero arrived on stage. The hits followed with “Its So Easy” and “Mr Brownstone” before a costume change and over-the-top guitar solos – like any of the three new guitarists could ever make one Slash. This was proven by the full rendition of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” I mean have you ever? This is a GNR gig ,not the Queen’s garden party. It wasn’t long before Axl and his side-to- side shoulder action was back on stage for “Sweet Child of Mine” and my personal favourite, “Live and Let Die,” where even over the audience participation his voice was superb and unarguably better than his thick ginger deadlocks he has been sporting the last few months.

Next we were treated to other hits, including “You Could be Mine” and “Knocking on Heavens Door” before being subjected to another solo, this time a more credible instrumental of “Layla.” Now this is where the 12 pints kicked in and the night took a strange turn. After swapping my crushed stance at the front of the crowd for an unrock-worthy back position Axl appeared again on stage this time with “November Rain” and low and behold I found myself using my skills of moving through the crowd once again to the front and when deciding this still wasn’t close enough I kicked off my shoes, handed them to my mate and in true rock ‘n’ roll style flung myself over the barriers and ran through the yellow coats heading directly to the stage. As I made my final leap onto the stage, I was rudely apprehended by Axl’s personal security with a headlock. Needless to say, once my feet finally hit the ground I was ejected, and I could not think of a more suitable ending.

Posted by Bricking Chick on 2nd August 2006 at 8:20 am | comments (27)
File under Metal Mayhem.