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Audio, Glasgow Sunday 18th October 2015
Out now

Johnny Main
johnny main


Audio is absolutely packed to the rafters as I make my way into the venue, for this end of tour gig. I barely manage to squeeze my way to the bar and get a drink before the last notes of the music on the PA die down and Norwich five piece Shrapnel make their way through a fog of dry ice from the dressing room to the stage. As drummer Jonathan Grimley tests the drum kit that thumps in the pit of your stomach, it’s obvious this is going to be a long and a loud night.

As the band start their set, the vocals from front man Jae Hadley are dwarfed by the sound of drums and the guitars, but unaware of these issues, he gives it everything he’s got. Guitarist Nathan Sadd plays a great looking solo, but like the vocals, this is difficult to make out.

With no messing about, the band make an early highlight to their set with the old favourite, ‘Warhead’, which has Grimley thrashing out a ferocious beat while bass player Cai Beschorner head bangs away in centre stage.

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Grimley does a good job getting up close and personal with the front row of the audience and it’s not long before they’re rhythmically punching the air before a short solo from Sadd.


“How the fuck are you tonight?” asks Hadley with a huge smile on his face before the band treat us to a brand new (as yet untitled) song. Grimley pounds out a slower beat but it’s still immensely heavy before the bands other guitarist Chris Martin steps up to centre stage for the guitar solo.

Hadley has a well earned break as Sadd plays a second solo, but really, this song is all about Grimley’s drums as the song reaches its thunderous conclusion.

The rest of the band’s set is made up of well known tracks including ‘Hollow Earth’ and ‘Titan’, both of which Hadley explains are about “killing many people”. During the former, Beschorner is on full attack, occasionally managing to let slip a smile amid the concentration while the latter song seems to be a pivotal song in the bands set judging by the reaction from the audience.

Sadd head bangs away as though his life depended on it and is joined by a small group of fans at the front before the huge ovation at its conclusion.

‘The Virus Conspires’ may be one of the band’s slower paced numbers but it’s still ludicrously heavy with it. Grimley unfortunately doesn’t have a drum riser, so his passion and commitment when he hits those drums is lost on anyone outside of the first couple of rows.

The band wrap up their set with an old favourite, ‘Pseudocommando’, which is slightly delayed as Martin has some issues with his guitar, so it’s left to Hadley to entertain the crowd while the problem is sorted.

Once everything’s back on track, the band kick into the song making up for lost time and bring their set to a solid conclusion.


As the band leave the stage, Hadley alludes to the fact that they always seem to have strong support in Glasgow, and judging by tonight’s performance, I don’t see that changing anytime soon. It seems that I and many like myself are waiting for the band to headline their own gig in the city – something that surely isn’t that far away?

Shrapnel Set List:
(Untitled New Song)
Hollow Earth
Red Terror
The Virus Conspires

Shrapnel are: Jae Hadley – Vocals
Nathan Sadd – Guitar
Chris Martin – Guitar
Cai Beschorner – Bass Guitar
Jonathan Grimley – Drums

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It was like a bolt out of the blue on 5th May 2015 when it was officially announced that Acid Reign had reunited. Fast forward five months and I’m sitting in the van outside the venue chatting with the ever amiable front man Howard "H" Smith – unbelievable!

It wasn’t just the fact I was chatting to Smith that got me, it was the fact they were about to play their first ever gig in Scotland for over twenty five years, and I pretty much had a front row view for it. This was much bigger for me, though, as I never got see the band live in their heyday.

Like Xentrix, I’d got into Acid Reign just as they split up so only had their records to listen to. So, I hear you ask, was the wait worth it to finally see them live? Of course it ruddy well was!

I’ve been to many gigs in Audio, but none have been quite as tightly packed as it was for Acid Reign’s set. Young Metal heads and those more mature ones who saw the band first time around mingled as the queue at the merchandise table never seemed to die down until the band literally came on stage.

Okay, so technically Smith is the only surviving member from the original line up, but I really don’t think anyone cared less. It was Acid Reign – live on stage!

From the get go, you could tell this was going to be most fun at a gig for a long time. The energy on the stage was reflected in the energy of the audience. Early on in their set, Smith did a straw poll of who’d seen the band before, who hadn’t and who didn’t really give a shit – with all three pretty much level pegged.

All three guitarists monopolised the front of the stage during ‘Humanoia’ to the delight of those jammed down the front. Smith gave a commanding performance and the audience were in full voice as the first of many sing-alongs began.

“It’s fucking awesome to be back in Glasgow!” said Smith with obvious delight before adding that the audience looked a lot younger and a lot better looking last time!

Drummer, Marc Jackson, set out a solid beat for ‘Creative Restraint’ which saw the first of the crowd surfers doing their thing. Warned by Smith earlier that they weren’t allowed on the stage itself, he attempted to catch them and deposit them back into the audience while still singing.

You have to admire his enthusiasm but it was never going to work so thankfully the crowd surfers stopped after a couple of attempts. In an unexpected move, however, Smith himself disappeared from sight and reappeared atop the bar for the final verse and chorus much to the delight of the audience.

acid reign
Acid Reign

At the song’s conclusion it falls to Smith to launch himself into the audience only for them to carry him back to the stage to huge cheers and applause.

This wasn’t just a celebration of the past, however, as a brand new song, ‘Plan of the Damned’ (which is available on Spotify now) was aired. It’s a slower paced number but still retains a heavy element to it.

Some of the audience had already done their homework it seems as they happily sang along after some encouragement from Smith. Guitarist Paul Chanter threw out the central guitar riff while Jackson kept the solid beat at the back.

‘Blind Aggression’ saw the audience in their first real mosh pit of the night as Jackson sets an incredible pace. Second guitarist Cookey has some fun posing in between guitar riffs before bass player Pete Dee got the audience clapping along before the short but technical solo from Chanter.

A run through of the Jack Lee track, ‘Hanging On The Telephone’ followed and had everyone singing along, as camera phones were hoisted stage-wards.

The mosh pit returned for ‘Goddess’ which seemed to be a firm favourite amongst the audience as they give a loud ovation at its conclusion. ‘Big White Teeth’ was touted as the last song, as the biggest mosh pit of the night broke out, but the song was played with such fury that they still had time to squeeze an extra song in – namely ‘Motherly Love’.

As the band finally left the stage it’s obvious there’s still an audience out there for the band, and electrifying performances like this can only enhance the band’s reputation. Was it worth the twenty five year wait to see them? Yes. Do I want to see them live again? Absolutely!

Acid Reign Set List:
Creative Restraint
Plan of the Damned
Blind Aggression
Hanging On The Telephone
Big White Teeth
Motherly Love

Acid Reign are:
Howard ‘H’ Smith – Vocals
Paul Chanter – Guitar
Cookey – Guitar
Pete Dee – Bass Guitar
Marc Jackson – Drums

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Given the madness of the Acid Reign set, it was obvious that some people needed a breath of fresh air between them and headliners, Xentrix, but after a quick change over, most of them were still outside as the lights went down and the intro music that heralded the start of Xentrix’s set started.

Those still outside soon began to pile through the narrow door and those last in were faced with a band who were hitting their stride early on.

Kicking off with ‘Dark Enemy’, the band had a solid sound from the start with the twin sound of the guitars of front man Chris Astley and Kristian Havard perfectly in tune before the drums of Dennis Gasser blasted out.

Astley could hardly contain his delight as he paced the stage in between singing while bass player Chris Shires was a mass of hair as he head banged throughout the number.


“It’s great to be back in Glasgow” Astley told the audience to huge applause before ‘Balance of Power’ which didn’t slow the pace any. Havard encouraged the audience to sing along as he stood so close to the crowd at one point that it looked like he might fall into the audience at any moment.

Havard’s guitar solo was precise and well played before Astley’s guitar joined in for the main riff creating a gloriously fat sound.

‘Questions’ had the audience at the front of the stage jumping around like a bunch of loonies while those set further back were quite happy to head bang away to the chunky guitar riff. It didn’t take Shires long to join in with the head banging either while Gasser, as with the other bands is almost hidden from sight due to a lack of drum riser, kept the beat clean and tight.

Astley explained to everyone that they’re not “supposed to stand and listen” to the next number, ‘World of Mouth’, but were instead “supposed to run around and acts like dicks – cos that’s what I’ll be doing!”

Having exerted themselves during the previous numbers, however, it seems the audiences energy levels were waning so most of them are more than happy to watch the band jostle for position on the stage.


‘Reasons of Destruction’ did reinvigorate the crowd, though, as a small band of head bangers in front of Shires, keep the energy going. Havard has a small guitar interlude before he unleashed the main guitar solo, which is a tour de force for him and was very much appreciated judging by the audience’s reaction at its finale.

‘There Will be Consequences’, saw another mosh pit break out and catch some of the audience unawares as they quickly moved to the relative safety of the fringes. Like ‘Reasons of Destruction’ before it, this may be a relatively new song but there was still a good section of the audience who are singing along to it.

It wouldn’t be a Xentrix show without ‘For Whose Advantage?’ getting an airing, of course, and the song has the audience clapping along to the delight of Shires.

As the main guitar riff blasted out, there was a solitary stage diver who launches himself into the crowd to the amusement of Astley especially. It was another chance for the audience to sing along though, and they grabbed the opportunity with all they can muster.

Before ‘Crimes’, Astley introduced Daniel Goldsworthy on stage as a special guest who strapped on a guitar. It transpires that Goldsworthy has created artwork for the likes of Sylosis, Accept, Hell and the upcoming Xentrix release and is a talented guitarist too.

With Goldsworthy picking up the guitar parts of Astley, this leaves Astley free to stalk the stage menacingly while gesticulating his way through the number. This new found freedom allows Astley to try and get the audience even more enthused , and his hard work pays off handsomely as the audience are the loudest they’ve been all night.

As the band launch into ‘Black Embrace’, the audience are happy to wave their hands from side to side as instructed by Astley before the stage is unexpectedly invaded by Acid Reign.


In the best tradition of end of tour shows, the Acid Reign boys cavort shirtless, wearing towels on their heads, around the stage trying to put off the Xentrix boys, but the song continues unabated despite the copious amounts of laughter from both bands.

As ‘No Compromise’ brings the Xentrix set, the evening - and the tour - to a close, it’s time to party. All the bands have played their hearts out and the fans have had a real value for money show.

As Astley alluded to earlier in the Xentrix set, British Thrash Metal is very much “alive and well”. With Shrapnel one of the brightest young UK Thrash bands along with strong new material from the likes of Xentrix and the hope of more new material from Acid Reign, there’s plenty to look forward to during the rest of 2015 and beyond.

Xentrix Set List:
Dark Enemy
Balance of Power
Back In The Real World
World of Mouth
Reasons of Destruction
There Will be Consequences
For Whose Advantage?
Black Embrace
Red Mist
No Compromise

Xentrix are:
Chris Astley – Guitar/Vocals
Kristian Havard – Guitars
Chris Shires – Bass Guitar
Dennis Gasser – Drums

Shrapnel photos © Robin Howe Photography
Acid Reign photo © Shaun M Neary (Pure Rawk) Xentrix photos © Carlan Braid, Main Stage Photography

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