Sunday, 25 April 2010

Review Post: Trivium, Airbourne, Jeff Dunham

I spent probably the best part of 6 months trying to decide whether or not I intended to go to the Trivium gig. I made the decision some time ago that I don’t plan to go to many gigs outside of the Portsmouth/Soton area, unless public transport works out for me (IE, cheap). Obvious exceptions include Rammstein in Manchester, and if Maiden/Metallica/NIN tour, bands of that importance to me. Trivium are good, but they aren’t a favourite band of mine, so I didn’t know whether I wanted to go see them. They were damn good the last time they played Portsmouth, but fairly mediocre on the Black Crusade tour. I also don’t particularly like the latest offering from Trivium. Shogun was billed as their biggest album yet and it flopped a little for me truth be told. So, there were a few reasons, including being able to afford it, why I shouldn’t go. But they were on the doorstep (so to speak) so after pretty much deciding I wasn’t going, I bought a ticket. Went to the gig with Paul and met Jon at the gig. Me and Paul had decided before going that neither of us were really bothered with seeing Rise to Remain or Whitechapel so we decided to head down for Chimaira (one of the main reasons I decided to go). Chimaira (10) were fantastic. They played almost a best of set and it was just great. Would definitely go see them if they did a headline show locally. Trivium (9) were very good. They also appeared to play a set list that kept the fans happy. 1, maybe 2 from Shogun made me happy. They debuted a new song and covered Sepultura. Generally a good live experience. The decision to go was rewarded. The set list was:

1. The End Of Everything
2. Rain
3. Drowned And Torn Asunder
4. Like Light To The Flies
5. Throes Of Perdition
6. Down From The Sky
7. Ascendancy
8. Insurrection
9. Pillar of Serpents
10. Anthem (We Are The Fire)
11. Shattering The Skies Above
12. Slave New World (Sepultura Cover)
13. Dying In Your Arms
14. A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation
15. Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr

So, technical difficulties aside, Trivium were well worth seeing. I’m interested in the new album as Shattering is a great song. A lot to look forward to with Trivium.

Quite the reverse of Trivium, when Airbourne announced they were coming to town, that gig was booked up nice and early. The gig was originally scheduled for February but due to conflicting schedules, it got pushed back to the end of March. Sad, but not tragic. Before the gig, a band called Black Spiders were announced as support which was awesome. They were awesome as well. Black Spiders (7) are one to watch. It is a well known secret that support bands sometimes don’t get access to the sound levels that the headline band have. Indeed, according to Gojira, they had to play at 50% the volume that Metallica did. This must have been the case here. They set up and tested and damn. The sound test made my ears ring. Airbourne (10) were fantastic. The set list was superb, the band were great live (as per) and there was even the obligatory moment of craziness. The lead singer went through the crowd to play on the sound desk. Damn. The set list was:

1. Raise The Flag
2. Hellfire
3. Chewin’ The Fat
4. Diamond In The Rough
5. Blonde, Bad and Beautiful,
6. Girls In Black
7. What’s Eatin’ You
8. Born To Kill
9. Cheap Wine and Cheaper Women
10. Back On The Bottle
11. Heartbreaker
12. No Way But The Hard Way
13. Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast
-----------------------------------------
14. Running Wild
15. Stand Up For Rock N’ Roll.

Definitely going to see them live again if they come close.

When I first saw that Jeff Dunham was coming to the UK again, it was a must. His specials on US TV have all been genius and his show in 2009 at Hammersmith was awesome. So I went up with Mum & Dad. We decided to go up early which worked out quite nicely for a number of reasons. If you go up to London on a Saturday and you are driving, I recommend parking at Hotspur Park. It’s about 20mins from Waterloo, and doesn’t appear on the tube map, but a day travel card can still be purchased. Cost me £5 to get the day travel card (18-25 cards FTW). Anyway, got into London and walked to Leicester Square for a drink. From there went down to Buckingham Palace and back on ourselves with the intent to head to Covent Garden’s. Never been there before so that would be cool. In one of the craziest “small world” situations, we bumped into some family. We live in Portsmouth, they live in Liverpool. We bump into each other in London. Even now I’m still quite surprised.

After parting ways with them, we walked down Whitehall and back to Waterloo. From there, the Jubilee Line to the o2 arena. We went to a restaurant there called Rodizio Rico. The way it works is it’s an all you can eat place. There’s a side dish buffet in the middle of the room, which in all honesty I could have happily just eaten from there. Waiters walk around with meat on skewers and serve up different cuts of meat. Usual stuff but some stuff I’d never heard of before. I really enjoyed some of it; some was very different (chicken hearts for example). Drink prices were insane but overall, a damn nice restaurant.

The show itself was pretty damn good. Guitar Guy opened the show and he pretty much did what he did at Hammersmith. Updated the act a little bit but no real change. That was alright however considering how phenomenal he is of a guitar player. Jeff Dunham was very funny. Bits were repeated from Hammersmith but it was a new tour so there was a lot of new material. This made me a happy man and also a very entertained one. Memorable moments from the Jeff Dunham show:

1. Walter’s British Accent
2. Achmed’s ribs getting stuck on his spine
3. The reaction when Achmed first said “Silence!”
4. Peanut – generally!
5. Taste of China
6. The crowd completing jokes before Jeff/Bubba J got to the punchline

Not sure if I’ll go again next time he plays the UK cause it is expensive, but at the same time, that’s logic kicking in. Let’s see what happens when he actually announces it! Good day out in London that was.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Rammstein - Manchester Midweeker II

Manchester Midweeker started with meeting Dave for some breakfast before getting the train. The journey up was fairly smooth really (though motherfuck! £4 for a single across Zone 1 on the tube?! FFFUUU London!). After turning down the wrong road and wandering the backstreets of Manchester Piccadilly for some time, we eventually found the hotel. Got settled and pretty much just watched TV until needing to leave for the gig. Rock paper scissors for who got the bed/who got the couch. I got the bed and honestly, I felt like I lost. That was a soft bed, way too soft for a man of my carriage.

The walk from the Manchester Ancoats Travelodge is a decent one. It is not a long one but the hotel can be cheap, so I like that. Got to the entrance which is on a main road (and therefore loud). A tout came up to me and was saying something. My usual policy with a tout is to nothing them, and just say no to whatever. Transpires the guy didn’t want to sell me a ticket but he wanted a smoke. I obliged, figuring he’d go away if I gave him a smoke – which he did. Got into the venue aiming to miss Combichrist because what I had heard, I didn’t like. My word, was I ever wrong?! Combichrist (8) were pretty awesome. And the first band I’ve seen who play this genre of music without a guitar! Great stuff. Then there was the wait for Rammstein, which seemed agonisingly long. This is a band I’ve wanted to see ever since I first turned on Kerrang TV and their theme tune was Sonne. The lights went out, and they drilled their way through the back drop. Time to start!

Starting with Rammlied, Rammstein (10) were just phenomenal. I could attach a lot more superlatives to their performance, but wow. The set was:

Rammlied
B********
Waidmanns Heil
Keine Lust
Weisses Flesch
Feuer Frei
Weiner Blut
Fruhling In Paris
Ich Tu Dir Weh
Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da
Benzin
Links 2 3 4
Du Hast
Pussy
-----------------------------
Sonne
Haifisch
Ich Will
----------------------------
Engel - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDNwLTvcnhk

Fireworks, Confetti, Foam semen, a Penis Canon, exploding babies, rising platforms, fights, treadmills, flaming wings, a rubber dingy over the crowd and more – the stage show was unforgettable. When the original backdrop fell to reveal the full extent of the stage, I (and i’m sure 1000s of others) thought “fucking hell, thats awesome!” I won’t forget this gig for some time and any other gig has a long way to go to top it. Skindred came close, but Rammstein so far rule all for 2010.

So that was cool. Got back to the hotel and watched poker and slept. The morning contained more TV and a mediocre breakfast. Travelodge do a lot of things right, but the breakfast can be hit and miss, which is a shame. I booked a later train than usual so we’d have some exploring time. Yeah, we explored the inside of a Ladbrokes. You know they are very similar to the Portsmouth ones in Manchester! Got into the train station to see the train that was due before our one was being constantly delayed. That throws up warning signs all over. The thing about advance single train tickets (or so I believed) is that if you miss your train, well then you suck at life. The train was cancelled and I think it’s safe to say you’ve never seen a fat man move so fast heading to the Virgin Trains travel centre! We were assured we’d be alright, or we should be ok to board the next one. I don’t like that. I was 100% you’ll be fine. Anyways, boarded the next train and sat in unreserved seats. And there we sat. Dave seemed so calm about the whole ordeal, whereas I looked like I was about to shit myself. I didn’t want to get thrown out at some random stop because I likely couldn’t afford the train to continue to London (unless it was Milton Keynes or the other early stop). We passed all the stops and were en route to London Euston when the guard arrived. I showed him both the ticket, and the seat reservation which said we should be on the earlier train that was cancelled. Transpires that didn’t matter and he just wanted to see we’d paid for the ticket. PHEW! No being thrown out, no fines, no needing to take deep breaths anymore. Got to London Waterloo on a packed train. It sucked balls. Got home and chilled. Manchester was awesome, Virgin trains took years off my life, Rammstein were awesome and I can’t wait to see them again

I was in a similar part of the world recently, Liverpool. Check back soon for a review of that journey!

Monday, 12 April 2010

Thoughts!

Haven’t blogged for a while, so figured I would. The last post made reference to future posts and further updates, so I’ll do that now. When tomorrow is concluded, I will not have had a cigarette in 6 weeks. I am quite impressed with myself for that. Like last time, the only cravings I have had over this time are at work. Apparently the boredom smoking has passed as when I am at home, I rarely want one. I do think that I’ll become a social smoker at some point, despite not wanting to. The temptation to have a cheeky smoke when drinking is becoming a very hard one to fight. Smoking only while drinking is something I’ve long said is stupid. But now I am a former smoker, I can slightly see their point. I should point out that I still think if you are someone that calls themselves a non-smoker, but smokes when drinking/drunk, you fail. Either smoke or don’t! As for the blogs about gigs this year, I still intend to do them. Ones to come are about Rammstein, Trivium and Airbourne. Was going to do ones about Whole Lotta Led and Lostprophets but I’ve since decided against those. Maybe I’ll do one blog with them both in. Who knows? Anyways, here are some thoughts.

According to the Telegraph’s “How should I vote in the General Election 2010?” survey, I should vote UKIP, then BNP, then Lib Dem, then Conservative. Awkward! UKIP I get but BNP?! I would like to state for the record that no, I’m not going to vote BNP. Another one I’ve done (here) gives a more accurate result for me I’d say. Just did a third one while preparing this post (here) which gave me a similar result to the 2nd one.

This election is certainly interesting though. I know who I am going to vote for and I hope the rest of the country follows suit. I can’t believe there is a possibility of Labour being given ANOTHER 5 years to completely ruin this country. One thing I am trying (and failing to do) is avoid opinion polls. I often find myself wondering how accurate they are. I used to answer one every fortnight for Yougov (laziness prevents me from doing it now). Do they pick 1000 of those randomly? One thing which was fascinating was the head of Yougov on the Jeremy Vine show, who talked about the impact of tactical voting on opinion polls. Hopefully people will tactically vote Labour out of office this time. They do not deserve to be re-elected.

Can I also ask (and maybe I'm seriously missing something here) but why do people refuse to debate politics sensibly with people who vote Conservative? I do, and whenever I've tried to spread that message, the response is "Don't care" (most common) or "how can you, considering the days of Thatcher?" - People, she left office 20 years ago. The party has changed; the country has changed and the world has changed. If you use "Thatcher" as an argument to me as to why you won't ever consider voting Conservative, forgive me but you'll be considered an idiot by me.

Frankie Boyle in “Comic tells Offensive Joke” Shocker – REALLY?! The woman in this case might have a claim if she had gone to see a comedian whose “thing” wasn’t being shocking. But when people think of Frankie Boyle, they think of an offensive, edgy, non-pc and funny comedian (well, I do anyway). A comedian who makes a living telling jokes that shock people telling a joke that might shock people isn’t a surprise in the slightest. The woman herself said:

“I expected dry, nasty, crude humour, yes, but unimaginative humour poking fun at the stereotype of people with Down's syndrome was not something that I expected”


So basically, you expected jokes that had the potential to offend other people, but now there is a joke that offends you, he’s a terrible person? Go fuck yourself. How hypocritical of her to have that view. “If it offends others it is ok, but when it offends me, it is wrong!” That is not how comedy should be. I believe in a case where everything is funny, or nothing is funny. What should be remembered about the whole deal is that Frankie Boyle is a comedian, who tells jokes. If he was standing up delivering hate speech to a crowd of people who thought he was telling the truth then it might be different. I think this woman has a right to be offended, but in this example, she should have just stayed quiet. Or the “incident” should have stayed in the room and not made the press. How, in 2010, is it news that Frankie Boyle tells jokes that might offend people?!

Richard Dawkins to arrest the Pope? Well, this is something. I’m an atheist but I am not anti-religion. What I mean by that is I choose not to believe, but if you choose to believe then I have nothing against you for making that life choice. The reason I feel the need to say that is because I believe the Pope (if it is indeed true about him covering up sex abuse in the Catholic Church) should be removed as the head of the church, and perhaps face legal proceedings (civil and criminal). Being a priest does not give you the right to bugger children! But this is clearly a device to keep Richard Dawkins name in the press. Could be interesting.

On that note I will end this post. One last final thought though (as this occurred again this morning, and I just tweeted about it – follow me @MikeyTRRP). Jobsite – extend your covering letter maximum character count! 3000 is not enough! Some jobs advertise on there with 4/5 requirements for a person. I answer them fully with examples and it is too long. Jobs sometimes then ask for 10 requirements and suddenly I can see why I don’t get interviews when I apply through Jobsite. I can’t sell myself properly. Sort it out!