||CORROSION OF CONFORMITY/TWO TALES OF WOE
The Academy, Dublin
14th June 2015
Brian Boyle: Photos by Dani Kammler
Fresh from the mud tsunami that was Download Festival, North Carolina's Corrosion Of Conformity with Pepper Keenan back at the helm, rolled into a sun kissed Dublin city for their first show in the capital since 1996.
But before the main event hometown boys Two Tales Of Woe got the weather illuminated crowd suitably warmed up with their crunching brand of doom. Singer Carl King is a fearsome and burly looking character. When he took to the stage he looked like he was in the mood to kick someone's head in. That menacing intensity carried over for the whole of the 45 minute set; these guys made sure they made maximum use of their support slot.
Tearing through tracks like 'Serenade Of Silence', 'Hell Again' and 'I've Sold My Soul' from the 'A Conversation With Death' album, this Dublin crowd let their appreciation be known. And a clearly moved King was immensely genuine in his gratitude.
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It was also heartening to see such a large gathering for a support slot, a rarity these days. Long before closing track 'City Of Doom' had finished, I had already made up my mind that this was one of the finest opening acts I witnessed for a long while.
As I mentioned earlier this was COC's first Dublin gig in nearly two decades, and that being as support to Metallica, so strolling on to stage with Thin Lizzy's 'The Boys Are Back In Town' blaring over the PA was a fitting intro. With Pepper Keenan back in the band, the classic 'Deliverance' line up has been reunited, something their immensely loyal following have craved since 2001.
And when the audience were virtually shelled by opener 'These Shrouded Temples' followed by 'Broken Man', you could immediately tell why this band still maintain one of the biggest hardcore followings in rock music today. These guys always had a reputation for their extreme loudness, and that wasn't in any danger when more sludge rock bombardment came with 'King Of The Rotten' and 'Wiseblood'. I'm by no means exaggerating when I say the noise levels by this stage had reached a medically dangerous level.
But fear of deafness was the last thing on this crowd's mind, and when the first chords of 'Seven Days' rang out we had our first crowd surfer of the evening. One by one they floated over the barrier to be given a stern warning and then tossed back into the madness like baby trout. But one unfortunate punter didn't take too kindly to being manhandled by two members of stage security. After a lot of verbal and pushing and shoving the guy was kindly escorted up a dark corridor for a "little chat" and didn't return.
But that was just a minor sideshow and back up on stage the relentless energy showed no sign of waning. Although the Download appearance in front of tens of thousands may have been a temporary ego massage, it did throw them out of their natural habitat. But you could easily tell by the gusto in all four members that playing these intimate venues is where they are at their most happiest.
Bassist and COC founder Mike Dean, alongside drummer Reid Mullin, provided mind numbing rhythm all night, while co-guitarist, Woodroe Weatherman, looked like the happiest man on planet earth playing with a massive smile start to finish. But lets be honest, Pepper Keenan was always going to be the star of the show; with this guy leading the charge COC are a different animal. His commanding performance on 'Paranoid Opioid', '13 Angels' and the classic 'Albatross' more than backed that up.
This was also proving thirsty work for Keenan and upon this he requested a cider and questioned it's availability in the country. Now, although Dublin is the birthplace of the black stuff and Dubliners are known for consuming copious amounts of it, they're also fond of a snifter of the demon apple drink. Thankfully his request was swiftly noted and a large pint appeared on Mullin's drum riser. After a few greedy sips, a cider hydrated Keenan and co launched into 'Goodbye Windows' before exiting the stage for a much deserved break.
But a 700 strong audience demanded a swift return and were basically gift wrapped a mother of an encore. Probably the best titled song ever, 'Vote With A Bullet', was followed by a hair raising 'Who's Got The Fire' but when Keenan announced 'Clean By Wounds', most of the crowd reacted like they had won the lotto. High fives and big bear man hugs were happening all around, a lovely end to an explosive evening. And how ironic was it that hearing aid sales went through the roof the following week.
Corrosion Of Conformity Setlist:
These Shrouded Temples
King Of The Rotten
Heaven's Not Overflowing
Long Whip/Big America
Vote With A Bullet
Who's Got The Fire
Clean My Wounds
Two Tales Of Woe Setlist:
Serenade Of Silence
I Sold My Soul
Not Ready To Die
City Of Doom