KERRANG TOUR 2014: UEA NORWICH
Well what a lovely venue this looks, a capacity of about 1,700 and sold out (bar the 20 tickets just found at the book office whilst getting my photo pass). The venue itself is built into a hill, so it is with ease that they built the pit area sunk lower into the ground, surrounded all three sides by steps for raised viewing areas at stage level.
First up and with a mighty unwarned bang is Baby Godzilla. Who? I don't know and the name didn't interest me (I'm a snob with names and will judge a band based on the name, bad I know), but it should have been a good clue as to the noise this band are going to make. Here's a quick 20 second clip from their set;
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Baby Godzilla - Norwich
With the eraticness of The Dillinger Escape Plan and the energy of The Colour Line. By the time I got to the photo pit the vocalist had beat me to it, in fact his guitar beat me to it (almost taking me out) and he was already over the barrier. I say vocalist, all three men standing sang, he was just in the middle (or at least when he was onstage he was.
By the second song the drum kit was strewn about and the drummer on top a stack with a stand in his hand. Not only do these guys throw themselves about they do just the same with their instruments - how they survived I don't know. That said, I did notice the bassist (discretely pretending to) drop his bass at the end of the set with some respect.
Musically it's not always just noise. The three front men work well together as a trio of vocalists with not just screaming but also singing and harmonies and built up layers of vocals. The band are offering their EP for free via their Facebook page so go get it!
Seeing Nekrogoblikon this time knowing their songs was so much better and made it so much more fun than just watching a band jump around with a goblin. The guys played with such ease it looked effortless, it really felt like being at a mates party. Most of the tracks played were from the latest EP 'Power', and for those that don't know, they play Powercore! A blend of power metal and metalcore singing of tales and animals, whats not to love?! Oh and of course accompanied by the bands faithful mascot - John Goblin!
Dance metal doesn't really do it for me but I can appreciate it's form and most of the few bands that do it are actually pretty good at what they do. Japan's Crossfaith are no exception and tore the stage another arse hole. The keyboardist spent half the time stood on top of his small desk requiring a stage tech to hold it still, somehow the drummer lasted the whole set with a leather jacket on and the rest of the guys kept the rhythm pumping and the crowd jumping (I had no intention to make that rhyme!).
The Bizkits stage set consisted of a Tiki Bar and a giant bartender in grass skirt and voodoo makeup (actually the guitar tech). Wes started with a Hawaiian ditte, the full band joining to start things off with 'Welcome To The Jungle'. In fact, a third of the set consisted of covers; of course Faith, Ministry's 'Thieves', and a Nirvana medley of 'Heart-Shaped Box' and 'Smells...', all went down a storm and actually well played.
Often when an a band of the size plays a cover its usually novelty and they don't make much of an effort but not the Bizkit, playing more out of respect and love for the tracks and I've got to say, Otto impressed me on his take on Dave Grohls beats. Another third of the set consisted of tracks from 'Chocolate Starfish…', not even 'Counterfeit' made the cut!
I'd got myself a good spot, essentially side of stage but in front of the speakers and managed to be surrounded by about 15 short uni girls which 1. Meant I had an unrestricted view of the stage but 2. Drew Freds attention - so guess who he spent half the time singing to! It was quite funny and being so close to the band - unlike a festival or arena, the band were able to get closer to the fans.
Fred commented on the fact that the pit felt like it was part of the stage where as the back of the crowd would normally be the front of the crowd, he liked it. I did too and this is exactly why I would choose an intimate venue over an arena or festival any day.
I was expecting Wes to be in his typical black body paint and regalia but he was dressed in a kinda barbershop outfit but with no trousers, he truly is an alien character! But the dude drinks cocktails from a coconut and plays awesome guitar. Sam Rivers is just a beast on the bass, I'm glad I was on his side of the stage as I got to see his LED bass up close and unlike the other two, he showed no signs of getting old and chilled by jumping about from start to finish.
Talented is an understatement and I often think he is an underrated bassist with his diversity of styles and techniques. As for John Otto, the guy is as tight as twenty years ago and where some musicians like to change things a little over the years, he kept things true and solid, gotta love those ghost taps!
Last time I saw LB was at Download a few years ago and whilst musically they were spot on, Fred was weird and had very little/shit crowd interaction, and so I was wary/intrigued as to how he would be tonight. Thankfully he was chatty as hell, giving out water, beer, compliments and insults and even some "requests" - or rather waiting until someone guessed the next song, and of course flirting with the girls around me. He may have also been a little taken by the fat and shorter dopplegangers stood behind me.
No messing about with encore rubbish, the band played through their full 1h20 min set, leaving the stage dancing to some disco and leaving the crowd satisfied, hot and wet! Well done Kerrang! for pulling off this tour.